Inter-Collected: The Shared History of the Print Club and Museum Collection

Gerald K. Geerlings, Electrical Building at Night, Chicago Fair (ca. 1933), drypoint, 11 7/8 x 8 7/8 inches. Smithsonian American Art Museum; Gift of the Chicago Society of Etchers.1935.13.417.

In the early 20th century, a great number of print clubs were formed across the United States—in New York and California, Ohio, Illinois and Kansas.1 Each worked, in its own way, to advance the art of printmaking: they supported local printmakers, offering presses, demonstrations and a community of shared interests. Many also emphasized public education and encouraged print collecting in the belief that familiarity with art and with working artists would lead Americans to see printmaking as a valuable art form. This mission often led to collaboration with local art museums that offered exhibition and meeting spaces, as well as access to a broader public. Clubs in Chicago, Philadelphia and Cleveland had a particularly profound influence on the development of museum collections.

Become a subscriber to Art in Print to continue reading.

Subscriptions start at just $38 and include instant access to our digital archive.

Share:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on LinkedInEmail this to someonePrint this page


  1. Similar organizations had arisen in the 19th century as part of the Etching Revival, but faltered as a result of large edition sizes and occasionally shady marketing practices. See: Joby Patterson, Bertha Jaques and the Chicago Society of Etchers (Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses, 2002), 18–19. []