Artists and Prints
Masterworks from the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art
Essay by Deborah Wye.
The creativity of the most celebrated artists of the modern period has been enriched and expanded by their work in the print medium. Exploiting the potential of such techniques as woodcut, lithography, etching and screenprint, as well as other processes, these artists have added immeasurably to their expressive vocabularies. Many have availed themselves of the expertise offered by master printers in professional workshops and have benefited from the fruits of such collaboration. They have found inspiration in traditional printed formats, such as portfolios and illustrated books, and have used them to explore thematic interests. As a result of these experiences, printmaking has exerted influence on their work in other mediums and has become integral to their creative thinking as a whole. Finally, the fact that prints are made in editions rather than as single impressions has enabled these artists to reach a much broader audience than would otherwise be possible. This volume includes the work of artists from the late nineteenth century to the present and demonstrates the imaginative ways in which they used print techniques. The potential of the woodcut was explored by Paul Gauguin and Edvard Munch, and the woodcut later became a major preoccupation of the German Expressionists Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde and Max Beckmann; lithographed posters were a specialty of Toulouse Lautrec; Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró experimented with drypoint, etching and lithography, among other techniques, in new and original ways; Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns exploited the painterly aspects of lithography and the commercial look of screenprint. The current generation of artists, among them Terry Winters and Kiki Smith, has gravitated to printed art as an essential aspect of their creative practice, with major bodies of work already produced.
Including more than 200 illustrations, this publication is organized as an unfolding historical narrative with a focus on individual artists, each with a succinct text describing his or her relationship to printmaking. Bibliographic references cite the latest scholarship in the field. An index of artists, printers and publishers reflects the involvement of various partners in the printmaking enterprise. All works reproduced are from The Museum of Modern Art's extraordinary collection of over 50,000 prints, the finest of its kind in the world.