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Contemporary Woodcut and Its Variations

DATES August 31, 1964 through September 30, 1964
COLLECTIONS Contemporary Art
  • August 28, 1964 An exhibition of fifty contemporary American woodcuts, spanning the period 1948 to 1962, will be on view at The Brooklyn Museum from August 31 through September 30. The exhibition was organized at the request of the United States Information Service by the Museum’s Curator of Prints and Drawings, Una E. Johnson, for display throughout West Germany during 1962-1963.

    Artists represented in the exhibition, each with five works, are Will Barnet, Leonard Baskin, Worden Day, Arthur Deshaies, Misch Kohn, Vincent Longo, Seong Moy, Bernard Reder, Louis Schanker and Carol Summers. A variety of woodcut techniques are illustrated including engravings on wood and lucite, and plaster prints.

    In the catalogue published to accompany the exhibition in Germany, Miss Johnson notes[,] “The 20th century artist in the United States generally is unhampered by a long tradition in the art of fine printmaking. Perhaps this freedom has led him to pioneer in new and fresh adventures in the very old medium of woodcut and other allied relief printing techniques.” While American artists have long been aware of the visual legacy of printmaking from E[ur]ope and the Orient, it was not until the mid-1930s that younger artists began to think of the woodcut as a truly modern idiom of graphic expression.

    Color in its delicate harmonies or sharp dissonances is very much a part of 20th century graphic art. While a number of the artists in this exhibition have held to the tradition of the black and white woodcut, there are also works in color by Schanker, Reder, Barnet, Day, Moy and Summers.

    By selecting from among the most distinguished names in contemporary printmaking, Miss Johnson gave the German public a selective view of the range and vitality of the relief print in the United States.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1953 - 1970. 1964, 014.
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