Welcome to the Home Page of "The Print Revolution in America"
History is an account of past events, and as such, it requires time, distance and perspective to determine what has lasting importance. Whether as individuals or as part of a group, we are usually not conscious of the long term significance of our accomplishments or efforts. Change is often incremental, building and gathering momentum until it grows into something that is eventually identified and recognized as being historic.
The purpose of this website is to provide a glance at one such historic change in the Art World. The subject addressed here is fine art printmaking, and the revolution and rebirth that occurred in graphic arts beginning in the 1940's. The Print Revolution in America was an explosion of sorts, which spread rapidly and reverberated across the nation, ultimately influencing the entire world.
*Click right bottom corner of print for a larger/clear image
George Nama-"Monument For De Chirico" mixed media 15 x 12
The following pages define this Renaissance through the eyes of Ronald L. Ruble and his Collection of fine art prints created by a few of the artists involved.
As with any personal collection, it does not include all of the excellent works by printmakers who were part of the Revolution. These ommissions are the result of this collectors personal exposure, the availability of the art work, and limited financial resources. Though limited in this sense, the collection is representative of the Print Revolution and many of its most significant artists. The goal of this collector, and of this website, is to act as a catalyst for other individuals and entities to become involved in telling the story of this historical Renaissance. Hopefully others will further define the Revolution, and pay tribute to the many artists who were involved on a regional basis.
The Collection provides a snapshot of the work of a few creative and dedicated printmakers who were able to establish themselves and their work in the realm of this chapter in Art History.
The pioneers presented here, and others like them, deserve our recognition and respect for their contributions to the art of printmaking. Their input is immeasurable, and they have played a large part in establishing printmaking as a widely accepted medium throughout the world. Just a few short years ago, that wasn't so.
Enjoy your visit to the following pages and feel free to offer suggestions for proper tribute to our very own 'National Treasures".
The "Printmaking Revolution in America"was more of a happening than a planned event. Though some artists had tinkered with the graphic image as art over the course of five hundred years since Gutenberg's invention of the printing press, the medium itself was largely ignored, and looked upon as a lesser craft. Today we have a heightened receptivity to the graphic work of art. But it wasn't always so.
The years immediately following World War II were a time of change and innovation. Kline, De Kooning, Pollack, and the giants of Abstract Expressionism had made America the center of the art world with painting and paint...and lots of it. Drawing was all but dead, or at least lay in a coma. But it was only a matter of time before the discipline and unique qualities of printmaking captured the curiosity of artists. Some of them discovered Stanley William Hayter's Atelier 17, a Paris workshop experimenting in the graphic arts. The Atalier moved to New York in 1940, and their group show at the Museum of Modern Art in 1944 set off an explosion of sorts. Drawing awakened. The Revolution had begun.
Dean Meeker-"Tower of Babel" intaglio 19 1/2 x 34
Culture in America became a hot commodity in the 1950's and 60's. The art market boomed like a frontier town. Demand for paintings far exceeded supply, and prices escalated. The climate was right for the fine arts multiple. June Wayne of the Tamarind Lithography Workshop trained a work force of printers who in turn set up lithography shops across America. Tatyana Grossman of Universal Limited Art Editions convinced "name" artists to involve themselves in the new mediums. At first artists resisted, but Grossman prevailed. One artist followed another to become the country's preeminent painter/printmakers. Print editions offered affordable works of art in new mediums, by noted artists, to a wider range of collectors. This stamp of approval, a booming economy, and the bountiful spirit in the 60's created a charged atmosphere for the art of printmaking.
Universities and art schools set up printmaking courses in response to student demand. For the first time it became possible for students of fine arts to major in printmaking. Many of their teachers, including Gabor Peterdi, Leonard Baskin, and Mauricio Lasansky, had studied with Hayter at Atalier 17. They and their peers, Will Barnet, Karl Schrag and Antonio Frasconi, changed the blueprint of art curriculum in American universities.
Alfred Sessler- "Sarah" 4 1/2 x 7
The University of Wisconsin-Madison is a fine example of what was occuring across the nation. Alfred Sessler, the Dean of Wisconsin printmakers, and his proteges Warrington Colescott and Dean Meeker, later joined by Robert Marx, Ray Gloeckler, and Jack Damer, led the University to the forefront of innovation. Harold Altman and Robert Burkert created the same spirit at UW-Milwaukee. Arthur Thrall led the charge at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wi. The multi-generational lists of artists trained in their studios includes some of the finest printmakers in the nation.
Warrington Colescott-"Dillinger: Attack and Defense at Little Bohemia" intaglio 22 x 20
The Printmaking Revolution in America no longer needs an explosion to be noticed. Printmaking today exists in the naturalness of wide acceptance, a common practice experienced by most artists, a specialty for many. Thousands of individuals participated in this revolution: galleries and dealers, teachers, collectors, publishers, and of course the artists themselves.
This Collection is a tribute to them, a modest portfolio of the works of a few notables who participated in this exciting and undervalued chapter of art history.
Ray Gloeckler-"Big Biker" wood engraving 9 x 14
Stanley William Hayter- "Mere" Viscosity Etching 18 1/2 x 21 1/4
Stanley William Hayter is aptly referred to as the founding father of modern printmaking. His work at Atelier 17 made a significant contribution to the medium, and was the main impetus behind the renaissance in the graphic arts that we enjoy today. He is also given credit for the innovation of viscosity printing, a multi-color process produced in a single plate printing. He referred to it as "simultaneous colour printing". Hayter has received recognition as one of the outstanding graphic artists of his time.
Mauricio Lasansky-"El Maestro" intaglio 15 x 14
Gabor Peterdi-"Thicket" 15 x 18
Leonard Baskin-"Oracular Sybil" etching 14 1/2 x 19
Karl Schrag-"Dark Tree at Noon" etching 18 3/4 x 25
Antonio Frasconi-"Untitled" woodcut 13 x 9 1/2
Will Barnett-"Persephone" Serigraph 16 1/2 x 34
Arthur Thrall- "Contrapuntal" Etching 15 1/2 x 20
Robert Marx-"Goat" intaglio 8 1/2 x 12 1/2