Multiple Impressions: Select Prints from the St Clair Collection
With works from Dürer, Rembrandt, Picasso, Goya, Lasansky, and more.
Exhibit opened January 7, 2022.
About the Artists
Albrecht Dürer was the third child (of 18) of Albrecht Dürer the Elder, a successful goldsmith. After a few years of school, Dürer learned the basics of goldsmithing and drawing from his father. He showed such a precocious talent in drawing that he became an apprentice to Michael Wolgemut at the age of 15. By his twenties he had established his reputation and influence across Europe due to his high-quality woodcut prints. He was in contact with the major Italian artists of his time, including Raphael, Giovanni Bellini and Leonardo da Vinci. The Emperor Maximilian I became Dürer’s most important patron in 1512. His woodcut series are recognised as being more Gothic than the rest of his portfolio. Dürer’s introduction of classical motifs into Northern art, through his knowledge of Italian artists and German umanists, has secured his reputation as one of the most important figures of the Northern Renaissance. This is reinforced by his theoretical treatises, which involve principles of mathematics, perspective and ideal proportions.
Rembrandt Van Rijn
Rembrandt Van Rijn was a Golden Age painter, printmaker and draughtsman – innovative and prolific in all three media. He is considered one of the greatest visual artists in the history of art. Unlike most Dutch masters of the 17th century, his works depict a wide range of style and subject matter. Although he never went abroad, he was highly influenced by the work of Italian masters and Netherlandish artists who had studied in Italy. After he achieved youthful success as a portrait painter, his later years were marked by personal tragedy and financial hardships. His etchings and paintings were popular throughout his lifetime and his reputation as an artist remained high. For 20 years he taught many important Dutch painters. Along with Jacques Callot, his foremost contribution to the history of printmaking was his transformation of the etching process from a relatively new reproductive technique into a true art form. In his works he exhibited knowledge of classical iconography, which he molded to fit the requirements of his own experience; thus, the depiction of a biblical scene was informed by his knowledge of the specific text, his assimilation of classical composition and his observations of Amsterdam’s Jewish population.
Goya was a romantic painter and printmaker. Considered the most important Spanish artist of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, he is often referred to as the last of the Old Masters and the first of the Moderns. Los Caprichos is a set of 80 prints in aquatint and etching created by Goya in 1797 and 1798, and published as an album in 1799. The prints were an artistic experiment: a medium for Goya’s condemnation of the universal follies and foolishness in the Spanish society in which he lived. The criticisms are far-ranging and acidic; he speaks against the predominance of superstition, the ignorance and inabilities of the various members of the ruling class, pedagogical short-comings, marital mistakes and the decline of rationality. Some of the prints have anticlerical themes. Goya described the series as depicting “the innumerable foibles and follies to be found in any civilized society, and from the common prejudices and deceitful practices which custom, ignorance or self-interest have made usual.” The work was an enlightened, tour-de-force critique of 18th-century Spain, and humanity in general. The informal style, as well as the depiction of contemporary society found in Caprichos, makes it (and Goya himself) a precursor to the Modernist movement almost a century later. Goya added brief explanations of each image to a manuscript, now in the Museo del Prado.
Henri Matisse was best known for both his use of color and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. Along with Picasso, he defined revolutionary developments in the visual arts throughout the opening decades of the 20th century. The intense colorism of his paintings between 1900 and 1905 brought him notoriety as one of the “Fauves” (Wild Beasts). Many of his finest works however were created later when he developed a rigorous style that emphasized flattened forms and decorative patterns. In 1917 he moved to Nice and employed a more relaxed style in his work. When ill health in his final years prevented him from painting, he created an important body of work in cut paper collage.
Joan Miró was born into a family of goldsmiths and watch makers. By 1930 Miró had developed his own unique style of imagery derived from elements of Catalan folk art and the art of children. This suited well his etching medium as fluid line work and fanciful figures enabled him to create crisp details. Carborundum is a silicon carbide abrasive gel that is painted onto the plate’s surface, a printmaking method that gained popularity in the 1960s thanks to French surrealist painter, Henri Goetz. Carborundum prints look similar to mezzotints; however, the process is quite different as it is an additive engraving process while mezzotints are subtractive. After learning about carborundum, Miró wrote a letter to Goetz stating, “As far as I am concerned, I can express myself without a single hinderance, at a single burst of spirit, without being paralyzed nor slowed down by an outmoded technique that might risk distorting the free expression, purity and freshness of the final result.”
David Hockney was an important contributor to the pop art movement of the 1960s. He is also considered one of the most influential British artists of the 20 th century. In 1986 he produced a series of “Home Made Prints” using a friend’s office copy machine, quickly discovering that it could just as well function as a printing machine. Of the medium he stated: “In fact, this is the closest I’ve ever come in printing to what it’s like to paint: I can put something down, evaluate it, alter it, revise it, all in a matter of seconds.” In November of 2018, his 1972 work Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) sold at Christie’s auction house in New York City for $90 million. This became the most expensive work of a living artist to be sold at auction. In the Spring of 2019 Hockney settled into a new residence, a farmhouse studio in Normandy, France, called La Grande Cour.
Alberto Giacometti, the eldest of four children, was descended from Protestant refugees that escaped The Inquisition. His father, Giovanni Giacometti, was a recognized Post-Impressionist painter. From 1919 to 1920, Alberto studied painting at the École des Beaux-Arts in Geneva, Switzerland. He further studied sculpture and drawing at the École des Arts et Métiers in Geneva as well. In 1920 he traveled to Italy, where he was impressed with the works of Alexander Archipenko and Paul Cezanne at the Venice Biennale. He was deeply affected by African and Egyptian art, as well as the masterpieces of Giotto and Tintoretto. In 1922 he moved to Paris to study under the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, a student of Rodin. It was there that he experimented with Cubism and Surrealism. Among his associates were Joan Miro, Max Ernst, Pablo Picasso, Bror Hjorth and Balthus.
Stanley William Hayter
Associated in the 1930s with Surrealism and from 1940 on with Abstract Expressionism, Stanley William Hayter is regarded as one of the most significant printmakers of the 20 th century. In 1927 he founded the legendary Atelier 17 studio in Paris, and later, New York. His studio was frequented by Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Joan Miró, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Wassily Kandinsky, and Mauricio Lasansky. He is noted for his innovative work in the development of viscosity printing, a process that exploits varying viscosities of oil-based inks to lay three or more colors on a single intaglio plate.
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Andy Warhol initially pursued a successful career as a commercial illustrator. After exhibiting his work in several galleries in the 1950s, he began to receive recognition as an influential and controversial artist. His New York studio, The Factory, became a well known gathering place that brought together a variety of people. In 1984, he departed from his usual portraits of celebrities and initiated the Details of Renaissance Painting series. For this series, Warhol cropped images of old Master paintings and gave these portraits the vibrant colors and kitschy style for which he was known. He strips each work of its original intent and instead focuses on their value as symbols of popular culture. Furthermore, the process of silk-screening deliberately appropriates the painstaking process of painting the original masterpieces. What results is a poignant statement on mass consumption of artistic masterworks.
After graduating from California College of Art and Crafts in 1955, Virginia Myers headed to Iowa City, unannounced, to study with master printmaker, Mauricio Lasansky. In 1961, Myers received a fulbright scholarship at Stanley William Hayter’s Atelier 17 in Paris. From California College of Arts and Crafts, Virginia headed to Iowa City in 1955, unannounced, to study printmaking with master printmaker Mauricio Lasansky. Before being taken on as his assistant, she supported herself independently. She received a Fulbright Fellowship to Paris in 1961, where she studied at Stanley William Hayter’s famed Atelier 17. She had the opportunity to stay on there, but Lasansky called her back to Iowa City to join the faculty as one of the pioneering women on the teaching staff.
Diego Lasansky learned about the artistic process from his grandfather, Mauricio, and uncle, Tomás. Diego’s subjects are often family members as well as prominent historical figures such as Martin Luther, Francisco Goya, and Rembrandt. This print was created using 5 plates; one master black plate and four color plates.
Adam Rake has been working at the Lasansky Gallery and Studio since 2002. The influence of the Lasansky family of artists can be seen in Adam’s line quality and techniques.
This exhibit was held at 2612 West Main St, Ste. B., Bozeman, Montana 59718. Admission free to all and open to the public.