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Jean Brown’s Avant-Garde Archive

Left: George Brecht, Deck (1966), plastic box with offset label, containing deck of offset playing cards, 7.4 x 9.4 x 2.2 cm. Published by Fluxus, New York. Right: Brecht’s letter to George Maciunas. Jean Brown papers, Getty Research Institute, 890164. ©2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Germany.

A remarkably prescient collection of documents on 20th-century art, the Jean Brown archive was the first major acquisition by the Getty Research Institute to include avant-garde movements and postwar artistic practices. When the GRI was established in 1983 Read More

James Smillie Engraves a Voyage of Life

James Smillie after Thomas Cole, The Voyage of Life – Childhood from the series The Voyage of Life (ca. 1854–56), steel engraving, image 39.1 x 58.1 cm, sheet 69.2 x 101.7 cm. The Baltimore Museum of Art: Garrett Collection, BMA 1984.81.2422. Photo: Mitro Hood.

In Thomas Cole’s moralizing painting cycle The Voyage of Life (1840), a small everyman and his guardian angel pass through vast landscapes embodying human experience, from innocent delight (Childhood) through aspiration (Youth) Read More

Giving a Good Impression: B.J.O. Nordfeldt’s Inscribed Etchings

B.J.O. Nordfeldt, Barge in the North Branch, Chicago (1912), etching on chain-laid paper, 10 3/4 x 15 1/2 inches. Permanent Collection of the Roswell Museum and Art Center, 1979.049.0005. Gift of James Swann, 1979.

Gift exchanges are among the most intimate ways that artists participate in print collecting. Personalized with the recipient’s name and other inscriptions, gifted pieces document friendships and professional camaraderie while providing insight into the social complexities of viewership Read More

Like Johnny Appleseed, but with Prints: Jennifer Farrell speaks with Jordan Schnitzer

Installation view: “Andy Warhol: Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His FamilyFoundation,” Portland Art Museum, 2016. Image courtesy Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation.

One of the nation’s foremost collectors of contemporary prints and multiples, Jordan Schnitzer has made his collection—now encompassing more than 10,000 works of art—the center of a broad program of travelling exhibitions, publications, lectures, classes and symposia throughout the country Read More

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. Each worked, in its own way, to advance the art of printmaking Read More

Spring 2017 New York Auction Roundup

Joan Miró, Strip-Tease (1959), two impressions: etching and aquatints in colors, image 7 3/4 x 11 5/8 inches each, sheet 11 x 15 inches and 12 7/8 x 19 3/4 inches. One with extensive printing annotations in pencil by Miró, and one signed and annotated ‘H.C.’ in pencil (a working proof and one of several hors commerce impressions, the edition was 75). Printed by Crommelynck et Dutrou, Paris. Published by Maeght, Paris. Image courtesy of Phillips /

Phillips kicked off the spring sales on 18 April with a selection of works from the collection of master printer Piero Crommelynck, including a number of unique working proofs and B.A.T. impressions. A set of three progressive state etchings of Picasso’s Meninas (1973) Read More

Small Apartments and Big Dreams: Print Collecting in the Fin de Siècle

Théophile Alexandre Steinlen, The Street, poster for the printer Charles Verneau (1896), color lithograph on wove paper, image 234.5 x 296 cm, sheet 242 x 299 cm. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, purchased with support from the BankGiro Loterij.

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which opened in 1973, has been collecting French fin-de-siècle prints since 2000, when it purchased around 800 prints and artists’ books from Richard Feldhaus, a German private collector. The print department now holds some 1,800 works from this period Read More

Postermania: Advertising, Domesticated

Alphonse Mucha, Gismonda (1894-1895), lithograph in five colors on two sheets, 213 x 75 cm. Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

On 1 January 1895, when Alphonse Mucha’s poster depicting Sarah Bernhardt in the title role of Gismonda appeared for the first time on the hoardings of Paris, it caused a sensation. The strange name of this mysterious artist was suddenly on everyone’s lips, and eager collectors snatched Gismonda off the walls. Read More

An Artist Collects

Scheuchzer, Physica Sacra, Genesis, Tab. II, after designs by Johann Melchior Fussli (ca. 1731), engraving, 13 3/4 x 9 inches. Collection of the author.

I attended college in Main Line Philadelphia, not far from the former location of the Barnes Foundation, which I visited frequently. I recognized in the Barnes collection not only the magnificence of its holdings Read More