17 November 2008

IFPDA Print Fair 2008

A couple of weeks ago I went to the IFPDA Print Fair for the second year in a row on a bus trip sponsored by the Smith College Museum of Art. It was a little less fun this time simply because I had been there before and I knew what to expect, but I learned some new things nevertheless. I knew a few folks on the bus trip this year too (last year I traveled alone), so it was nice to have traveling companions.

One print that caught my eye was Helen Frankenthaler's Essence Mulberry, shown by Leslie Sacks Fine Art of Los Angeles, CA. This 25" x 19" (63.5 x 48 cm) print was published by Tyler Graphics Ltd. (Bedford, NY) in 1977. Here's a description of the print from the MOMA web site where you can zoom in closely on the print:
With Essence Mulberry, duly inspired by the faded colors of hand-painted fifteenth-century prints seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and a lushly ripe mulberry tree on Tyler's property, Frankenthaler set out to re-create the look of painting with mulberry juice. She carved four blocks, one each of oak, birch, walnut and lauan, all having different printed effects.
Works by the British modernists were popping up everywhere, probably because of a recent exhibit of British prints organized by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art.

As usual there were lots of Japanese woodblock prints to see, mostly ukiyo-e prints which I totally admire but don't especially like. I'm partial to the sosaku hanga of the early to mid 20th century, but not a lot of the IFPDA dealers stock sosaku hanga. A notable exception is The Verne Collection, who this year introduced me to an interesting Japanese artist named Hidehiko Gotou. The Verne web site says that Gotou is also a master baren maker! Now there's a dying art...

I love the web site of Davidson Galleries of Seattle and had looked for them at last year's print show, but they didn't attend. I was happy to see them there this year. It was especially fun to see them because I had met them in October when I visited my show at Cullom Gallery.


William P. Carl Fine Art Prints of Northampton MA showed the lovely white-line print by Ada Gilmore Chaffee posted above.

And I saw a couple of Gustav Baumann prints at The Annex Galleries booth for tens of thousands of dollars that made me want to sell my condominium so I could buy them. I first became acquainted with Baumann's work when I lived in Taos, New Mexico in the early 1990s (Baumann lived in Santa Fe, NM in the early 20th century). His print A Lilac Year was always especially meaningful to me because during my first spring in Taos I was shocked and delighted as a New Englander to discover that the town was full of lilac bushes. Seeing A Lilac Year in person was a huge thrill.

7 comments:

Pistoles Press said...

Wow such a diverse variety of prints! That sounds like quite an experience to me! Thanks for sharing! Maybe I'll be able to go see one day.

d. moll, l.ac. said...

Lilac year looks gorgeous, must have been stunning in person.

Ellen Shipley said...

I love the lilacs too! It would be a thrill to see them for sure!

blujett8 said...

thank you for posting the work of Hidehiko Gotou. very interesting and beautiful. How does one get such rich texture?...is it a special kind of paper or way of mixing the medium when printing....?...

Annie B said...

Blujett8, you're right, there's a wide range of textures in Gotou's work. I went back and took another look. Some of those textures seem to be wood grain. Others look like specific moku hanga printing techniques, such as adding a lot of water to get a grainy pattern. There might even be some coloagraph work -- adding something with texture to the plate, like sandpaper for example, and inking that.

blujett8 said...

oh....very interesting. I'll have to try adding something like that....have you ever experimented with carborundum & woodblock printing?

Annie B said...

Only experimented with carborundum a little, and I rented time on a press to make it work. Let me know if you try it!