A Socially Acceptable Form of Addiction

Tom Huck, Dollar Dance (2001), woodcut, 52 x 38 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Print collecting is a socially acceptable form of addiction. It can come to dominate one’s life, demanding time, travel and money. So it has been with us, since shortly after we married in 1959. As newlyweds we lived in northern New Jersey while John was in the Army, and we spent time in New York City exploring the art scene. We were initially drawn to prints because of their availability and affordability. The American print renaissance of the 1960s was beginning and increasingly artists became interested in working in traditional print media. The Juster, Graphis, FAR and Weyhe Galleries were among those that focused on prints. We were fascinated by the technical interplay between the artist and the intermediary used to create the print—the woodblock, copper plate or lithographic stone—building, strengthening or enhancing the image. We soon learned how to identify and appreciate the different types of printmaking techniques.

Our library expanded to include books on prints and their history. We developed a print research library focusing on technique, printmakers, print workshops, catalogues raisonnés and exhibition catalogues. John took an evening course at our local art museum to get hands-on experience making prints (despite his lack of any artistic talent). Roz went to graduate school to study 20th-century German art, and then ran an art gallery—Artworks at Sibley’s in Rochester, an affiliate of Abrams Art Books that offered a selection of reasonably priced prints. When the gallery closed in 1985, she became a full-time appraiser of fine art, specializing in prints of all centuries.

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