02 February 2006

Print Viewing at Smith College

Frankenthaler: Cedar Hill

The Smith College Museum of Art, a short walk from my house, has an office called the Cunningham Center for the Study of Prints, Drawings and Photographs which houses over 18,000 original works of art on paper incuding, of course, some woodblock prints. I just recently found out that the general public is welcome to make an appointment there to see up to 15 works at one sitting, so today I had my first of hopefully many appointments and I was able closely study 10 prints the staff had pulled for me by artists Richard Diebenkorn, Neil Welliver, Antonio Frasconi and Helen Frankenthaler, including the Frankenthaler piece above, called Cedar Hill. This is a piece that Frankenthaler created in collaboration with master printer Tadashi Toda of Kyoto. She first created the piece as an acrylic painting, but as the collaboration with Tadashi Toda progressed, the work emerged as an entirely different piece than the original painting. The print is made with multiple blocks of mahogany, a wood which has a strongly striated grain. As you can see in the larger view, the delicate layers of multicolored striations give the print a glowing quality and a depth that I found quite captivating. This was my favorite of the 10 prints I saw. Interestingly, the only artist I saw today who did not collaborate with a master printer to make their work was Antonio Frasconi. I'll do a post on him in the future.

I'll definitely be going back to the Cunningham Center many more times for a look at more prints.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the peek into this collection, especially for those of us too far away to enjoy!!!

Sharri L. said...

A few years ago we were fortunate to have a show of Helen Frankenthaler's work at the Portland (Or) Art Museum. I absolutely swooned all the way through it and came home so enthused that I immediately did a suite of prints of which the first was called "Hell and Frank Enthralled Her". We in Portland are so lucky to have the Gilkey Print Center in the PAM. Here's to many more fruitful visits for you to the Cunningham! What a joy :-) thanks for sharing.

m.Lee said...

That print is really gorgeous and mysterious.

agreenan said...

Hello, I just discovered your wonderful blog last night from David Bull's site. :) I am a (very) beginning maku hanga practitioner after attending the Pennsylvania Print Symposium this past week, and now I am fairly obsessed with the technique.

Just wanted to tell you that I really enjoy reading your blog, and you should definitely look into Antonio Frasconi some more if you already haven't -- he is an amazing artist with whom I had the pleasure of studying while an undergrad student at Purchase College years ago.