Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Moving On

crate interior
One of the fun aspects of my job is the installation of an exhibition. I confess there is a level of stress associated with installing and deinstalling an exhibition, but it is gratifying and we have a solid product at the end.

We are currently in deinstallation mode  and we are surrounded by crates, preparators, shippers, and lots of paperwork to make sure the "children" get to their respective destination safely. Deinstallation is always quicker than installation, in part, because we are familiar with the way the objects were packed, how they fit in the crates, orientation, and other particulars important to their safety.

If you have never seen a fine art shipping crate, it is a level of carpentry and artistry of its own and we have our own laundry list about what constitutes a good one. We appreciate having feet on the base--short leg blocks on each corner that are a little higher than the bottom of the crate, and it also nice to have a wood bar across each end of the crate to serve as a handle. These features make moving things much easier. Even the hardware makes a difference--large bolts with washers and metal plates or locks make the crates seal properly. Crates are custom made to protect the art from abrasions or breakage, but also ward off damp conditions, vibration, and shifts while they are being moved. Foamcore, styrofoam, Tyvek (a DuPont product that is a non woven product consisting of spun bond olefin fiber) are all part of the interior architecture. It is not part of my job to  know the chemical breakdown of these products, but it is helpful to know why or how to use them. 

We follow a protocol for deinstalling exhibitions. Each work is analyzed to assure they are in the same condition in which they arrived and those observations are noted in the "Condition Report Book." (The next venue that receives the exhibition also goes through this same process when the art arrives and before it departs). 

If the crates have not been kept in climate controlled storage, they are usually brought into the gallery at least 24 hours before they are packed in order to "acclimate"--that is, come to the gallery temperature. This allows the works of art to go into their containers without any kind of temperature shock, which can damage the art. The works are then wrapped to protect the frame, paint surface, glazing, etc. and then placed in their allocated slot in the crate. Each work is checked off of the master list as it is placed in the crate and once the crate is completely loaded, the crate is sealed and marked. 

When the fine art shippers arrive--special shippers dedicated to moving works of decorative or fine art-- their trucks are climate controlled, but also have compensations for vibration and shock, and the necessary dollies, lifts, straps and other hardware to move the crates and keep them in place during transport. The crates have an orientation for their direction, be it upright or horizontal, and that orientation is maintained throughout the process of loading and shipping. Fine art shippers are an amazing professional team who do more than move crates and drive trucks. Their knowledge about crate construction, handling works of art, getting in and out of loading docks, and coming up with creative solutions for difficult doorways, surfaces, etc. is impressive.

Today we have put our Venetian prints on the road and we are  preparing the walls and retrieving hardware for our next exhibition which opens January 10, 2014. I hope you will take the time to see the new exhibition titled, Chasing the Moment: Works from Annapolis Senior High. This selective exhibition is comprised of works from students in Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate Program, Honors, and other art programs. Our mission is to provide the students with the experience of having their works hung in a museum space, complete with climate control, framing, metered lights and everything else we do for our standard exhibitions. We are so pleased to have the support from the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County for this event. 

Best wishes for the holiday season and hope to see you January 10-19 for the students work.

Lucinda Dukes Edinberg
Art Educator

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

An Artist's Love of Venice

As we are in the last days of the exhibition, Reflections and Undercurrents: Ernest Roth and Printmaking in Venice, 1900-1945, I am beginning my parting thoughts about the exhibition moving on to another venue. How one is attracted to a piece of art is very personal. And since the works from this exhibition came from a private collection (as a promised gift to Dickinson College), the works acquired are very personal and are chosen for a variety of reasons:  adding a piece for fun, a rare find, or serves as a complementary piece to another work or artist in the collection. But there is a cohesiveness about this collection--the sort of "chain of command" from Whistler to Menpes and Bacher, to Roth and Arms, Mauroner and Brugnoli--the legacy.

Fabio Mauroner, Trattoria "La Vida" (Campo San Giacomo dell'Orio), 1924.
Etching. The Trout Gallery, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA, 2011.42
One of the things that has struck me most is the artists' intimacy of the subject and the etched line. The delicate line is more than scratching out a depiction of a doorway, canal, or gondola. These works are labors of love. Favorite walkways and trattorias, like that of Fabio Maruoner's Trattoria "La Vida," are places the artists knew well. In spite of their need, commercial or otherwise, to create a unique view of a city well represented by a litany of artists over the centuries, their dedication to their love of Venice and their medium is foremost.

The influence of the artists looking at each others' work is revealed as one walks about the exhibition. It is interesting to note that Fabio Mauroner had a collection of thirteen prints created by Roth, many of which have individual greetings. John Taylor Arms owned some of Ernest Roth's prints. And certainly these are not isolated incidents of artists collecting other colleague's works.
 Fabio Maruoner,  Il Traghetto, 1907. Etching and drypoint. The Trout 
 Gallery, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA. 2011.3.1

Mauroner, a native of Udine, is one of the most intriguing artists in the exhibition. He arrived in Venice in 1905, around the same time as his close friend Ernest David Roth and they produced similar views of churches, plazas, cloisters, and other sites. Mauroner's early works are close to Whistler's and Roth's approach of aspects of Venetian life, scenes more familiar to residents than visitors.  Il Traghetto, shown in mirror image, depicts one of the gondola ferries used at strategic points along the Grand Canal to take people to the opposite bank and is a good example of the portrayal of everyday life. Mauroner  achieved some recognition in the United States through the exhibition of the Chicago Society of Etchers in 1925, the Ehrich Gallery in New York City, and the Seattle Fine Arts Society in 1926.

Although many artists in this exhibition did not receive the "red carpet star" fame as other artists of their period, their contributions for the artistry of etching and our appreciation of their work is no less diminished.  I hope you will have the opportunity to see these works before the exhibition closes on December 13.

Denker, Eric.  Reflections and Undercurrents: Ernest Roth and Printmaking in Venice, 1900-1940, edited by Phillip Earenfight. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2012.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Where Did Cole Porter Party?

John Taylor Arms, Venetian Mirror, 1935. Etching. Private collection.

John Taylor Arms, an American printmaker and architect, co-authored and illustrated several travel books with his wife Dorothy Noyes Arms. Applying his architectural knowledge and drafting skills, Arms created images with painstaking details using various needles, dental and etching tools, and a magnifying glass. The sketch, Venetian Mirror, was created in 1930, but the etching was not produced until 1935 and was included in the volume Hill Towns and Cities of Northern Italy. 1  (This book is on display with the exhibition). For those who have been to Venice, there are several recognizable buildings, including Palazzo Stern, Ca’ Rezzonico, Ca’ Balbi, and the bell tower of the Church of Santa Maria Gloriosa di Frari in the background. But this image is in reverse, a mirror image—following the traditions of James McNeill Whistler’s ideas about creating the image as one sees it. Due to the intaglio process, if the image is right-reading then the print will be in the reverse, or a mirror image.

All of the buildings included in Arms’ print have significant architectural, historical, or ownership history.  Among one of the interesting residents in the Ca’ Rezzonico was Cole Porter. In 1923, Porter came into an inheritance from his grandfather, and the Porters began living in rented palaces in Venice. He once hired the entire Ballet Monte Carlo to entertain his house guests, and for a party at Ca’ Rezzonico (seen above) which he rented for $4,000 a month ($55,000 in current value), he hired 50 gondoliers to act as footmen and had a troupe of tight-rope walkers perform in a blaze of lights. 1

Compare this photograph with the Arms image for a “right reading” study.

1. Denker, Eric. Reflections and Undercurrents: Ernest Roth and Printmaking in Venice, 1900-1940.     
     University of Washington Press, Seattle. 2012

2. Obituary: Cole Porter is Dead; Songwriter was 72. New York Times, October 16, 1964.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Six Degrees of Separation

Mortimer Luddington Menpes, Piazzetta and Ducal Palace, c. 1910. 
Etching and drypoint. Private collection. 
The close ties with each of the artists in the Ernest Roth printmaking is an interesting web of associations of friends, colleagues, students, and teachers. I think one of the curiosities about the exhibition is the long-standing and passionate interest in Venice as a focused subject. Certainly it is an interesting city full of architectural interests on varied scales, processions and parades, trattorias, alleys and bridges, beautiful light and elaborate festivals. It's no wonder artists are attracted to its pleasures and tourists are interested in souvenirs of their visit.

The vedute paintings and prints of the 17th century made a point of capturing many monuments and points of interest within one image, sometimes sacrificing accuracy light, precise locations and other details. The artists in this exhibition, Reflections and Undercurrents: Ernest Roth and Printmaking in Venice, 1900-1940, direct their attentions to favorite cafes, back alleys, hidden paths and courtyards--places visitors would have either no interest or access to in their pilgrimage--ideas of displaying Venice in the eyes of the Venetians. The influences of each artist on one another other are evident and, as mentioned in a previous blog, Whistler as the keystone, launches the inspiration for several generations.

The web between them is well-connected, as sort of a "who begat whom."

James McNeill Whistler:                 Joseph Pennell
                                                          Clifford Addams (American)
                                                          Mortimer Menpes
                                                          Frank Duveneck
Frank Duveneck                             (American) and established  the Duveneck "boys"
                                                        Otto Bacher

Roth, familiar with Whistler's work, travels to Venice, and he becomes associated with other artists.

Ernest Roth's friends:                     Jules Andre Smith (British, architect)
                                                          John Taylor Arms (American, architect)
                                                          Louis Rosenberg (American, architect)
                                                          Jan Charles Vondrous (a student with Roth at the National
                                                           Academy of Design
                                                          Fabio Mauroner (Italian by birth, longtime resident of Venice)

Fabio Mauroner                             Emanuel Brugnoli (friend)
                                                         Edward Millington Synge (Mauroner's printmaking instructor)

There are other artists in the exhibition who are not included in Roth's personal associations, and they too are inspired by Whistler's vision and technique.

There are many sources for these artists, but for starters, check out  Menpes "Facebook" page and compare source ideas and images.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ernest Roth and Printmaking in Venice

John Taylor Arms, (American 1887-1953), Venetian Mirror, 1935, etching. Private collection


The exhibition, Reflections and Undercurrents: Ernest Roth and Printmaking in Venice, 1900-1940, has been on view almost a full week and the Mitchell Gallery has had many visitors excited about these views of Venice. Exhibition curator Eric Denker gave a fascinating overview of the artists and their works in his lecture this past Sunday. The connections between many of the artists and the influence and inspiration of James McNeill Whistler on their work is carefully explored.

It is interesting to note the similarities between many of the artists, particularly those artists who had architectural or draftsman training such as John Taylor Arms, Jules Andre Smith, and Louis Rosenberg. These three artists "happened upon" etching--Arms through a small etching kit as a Christmas gift from his wife. Smith taught himself after receiving his degree in architecture from Cornell University, and Rosenberg received a fellowship to study printmaking at the American Academy in Rome following his studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Arms's style is very clean and precise, as seen in his etching, Venetian Mirror. Although most of the artists in this exhibition created their drawings directly on the copper plate, this image has the feeling of T-squares, triangles and precision pens. No variances in lines--and in some ways, not as poetic--no wavering liberties are taken, (which does not mean that Arms did not take liberties in composition, as noted in the reflection in the water, which is a mirror image).

                                     Mortimer Luddington Menpes,(Australian, 1855-1938) Piazzetta and 
                                     Ducal Palacec. 1910, etching. Private collection.

Comparison of the same group of buildings (but a detail view rather than vedute, or cityscape) by Mortimer Luddington Menpes (Australian, 1855-1938) depicts a wider contrast in tonality, texture and play of shadows and other atmospheric effects, qualities that are less prominent in Arms' work.

Both of these artists's works possess  strong design and printmaking craftsmanship, as well as understanding of architectural structure, but they have different philosophies about format and composition and these comparisons are part of what makes this exhibition so interesting. And again, going back to Whistler's stylistic innovations and the influence of his visions provides the viewer a unique journey to Venice.

There are 100 prints in this exhibition, part of which are on view the Kohl Gallery at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland through December 10, 2013. And come explore printmaking in our Opening Reception and Family Event on Sunday, November 3 from 3:30-5 p.m. This event is free and open to the public--just remember to turn your clock back one hour!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Reflections & Undercurrents:

Ernest Roth and Printmaking in Venice, 1900-1940

Ernest Roth (1879-1964), Ca d'Oro, 1913. Etching. Private collection.
The Mitchell Gallery is opening its newest exhibition on Friday and so we have been very busy with installation.

The city of Venice has long been a source of inspiration for artists and this exhibition focuses on the works of American artist Ernest Roth (1879-1964) and his contemporaries. Roth was one of the most significant American etchers of the first half of the twentieth century. Although Roth created many views of important world cities, it is his prints of Italy there are considered his most important achievement.

The exhibition explores the precursors of Roth's works which include James McNeill Whistler and his circle of artists: Joseph Pennell, Otto Bacher, Mortimer Menpes and continues on through the examination of the better known artists around him. Even though the etching process itself is fairly uniform, the variances of each artists' treatment of "the line" creates a fascinating tour of Venice. 

Exhibition curator Eric Denker has thoughtfully put together a shared exhibition of over 100 etchings  with the Mitchell Gallery at St. John's College and the Kohl Gallery at Washington College in Chestertown.  Mr. Denker has two lectures scheduled, one at the Kohl Gallery at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, October 23 and at The Mitchell Gallery at 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 27. There is a Mitchell Gallery members wine and cheese reception following the Sunday lecture and this will be a great opportunity to chat with Mr. Denker.
Ca d'Oro, Venice

It is worth mentioning that the Mitchell Gallery is offering a trip to the Dalmation Coast beginning and ending in Venice, June 18-26, 2014. For more information about this fabulous trip, e-mail pmckee7@verizon.net . This is a great opportunity to see some of the views of La Serenissima, Croatia and other sights.

If you aren't a Mitchell Gallery member, consider joining this dedicated group of art enthusiasts! Membership can be on-line through the Mitchell Gallery website http://www.sjca.edu/mitchellgallery/main.shtml or contact the Members Coordinator at (410) 295-5551.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Karl Schrag: Memories and Premonitions

Last Days of Karl Schrag Exhibition at The Mitchell Gallery

Karl Schrag,  Memories and Premonitions--The Young
Artist, 1981. Etching on Wove Paper. Gift of the artist. 
SUAC 1990.064. Syracuse University Art Galleries.
We are into the last couple of days of the exhibition and it has been such a pleasure to learn about this highly esteemed printmaker and teacher and to enjoy his work in the gallery for these eight weeks.

The Sunday afternoon lecture was held this past weekend and we had knowledgeable and enthusiastic participants. One of the many things I love about my job is what our visitors bring to the gallery--little "factoids" of information found in other places and sources. So, I'm sharing one of the "factoids" given to me this weekend by one of our visitors.

In the small gallery is a print titled Memories and Premonitions--The Young Artist, 1981. This print reflects memories of Schrag's childhood in Karlsruhe, Germany. Notice his mother and father sitting in opposing angles from each other and the young Schrag sketching in the lower right hand corner. One of the most interesting"factoids" on this print is the domed building in the top left corner.

Why is that dome so important? Well, that dome has an important place in Annapolis history. Maryland's State House is the oldest state capitol still in continuous legislative use and the only State House to have ever served as the nation's capitol. Architecturally what's important is that the dome in Karlsruhe was the inspiration for the Maryland State House! See the photos of the Karlsruhe Palace http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karlsruhe_Palace . The dome sits in the center of the symmetrically attached wings. Compare the image of the palace with photos of the Maryland State House on the State House website found http://msa.maryland.gov/msa/mdstatehouse/html/home.html .

Who knew we would have a connection with this German-American artist?
Maryland State House, courtesy of MSA website

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Remains at Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Mitchell Gallery Education Trip to Greece and Turkey

I have just returned from the Greece and Turkey trip hosted by The Mitchell Gallery September 24-October 2. It was fabulous to be in such good company to see so many important historical and archeological sites. I shared hosting duties with St. John's College tutor Thomas May and between us, we were a force in action! There are still many things I am sorting out for recall, as we visited at least one site a day. Gohagen & Company, the travel agency located in Chicago, made all the arrangements for us to be on a small French ship, the M.S. L'Austral. The size of this beautiful 5-star ship enabled us to get into ports inaccessible to the larger cruise ships, and also allowed us to dock early in order to be at the sites right at opening times. 

The site trips provided us an opportunity to get a concise history of ancient Greek and Roman civilization, but also to sort out the many gods and their spouses and offspring. The gods are not an easy crowd to keep happy--lots of passion and revenge among them, so I can see why there were temples built to placate their dispositions. Of course, it's difficult to narrow down the experience to a few words, but one of most impressive sites was that of Ephesus, a city originally built by the Greeks and then taken over by the Romans.  This UNESCO World Heritage site located in Ismar Province in Turkey has remnants from 

Mosaics in the "Terrace Houses" in Ephesus
settlements from the Bronze Age, but the Temple of Artemis built in the 6th century was initially it's "claim to fame." The sheer scale of this former municipality of about 50,000 people is over-whelming, and only about 10% of the site has been excavated, beginning in the mid-1800s. The level of sophistication of their society and the thoughtful ness of their "urban planning" is remarkable. It was an important site for Christians as well, as it is thought that the Gospel of John was written there. The remains of the Library of Celsus is beautiful, as are the surviving mosaics found throughout the site.

It is through the good offices of Pamela McKee that this second education trip was arranged. Other college and university groups were included in this trip of which The Mitchell Gallery had the largest representation. The program was full, and besides the site visits led by well-informed local guides, there were lectures, performances, dinners and receptions--all made easy by the incredibly comfortable suites aboard ship and a most gracious staff. 

Of course it is wonderful to be back home and have the Karl Schrag exhibition Memories and Premonitions still on the walls to keep me company while I reminisce. It was a memorable trip in all the best ways and it is with great enthusiasm that I share the news of another trip planned June 18-26, 2014, "Coastal Life in the Dalmatian Coast," which begins and ends in Venice. For more information about the upcoming trip,  contact Pamela McKee at pmckee7@verizon.net . 

Lucinda Dukes Edinberg
Art Educator

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Importance of Ateliers

Karl Schrag, Evening Fragrance of Gardens, 1963.
Two color etching and aquatint,  Gift of the artist. 
Syracuse University Art Collection, 1970.711
We are almost half-way through the exhibition of Karl Schrag: Memories and Premonitions, and we have had many questions about the printmaking process and who creates the prints. It's a great question because who actually makes the print varies with each artist. Ateliers are often the "think tanks" where things happen for artists whose first medium is not printmaking.

Hand-pulled prints may be created in several ways--among the earliest methods is the wood block print, which is a wood block that has the background carved away in order to have the design stand out. Simply put, the block looks something like a rubber stamp. To create the print, a brayer with ink is rolled over the top of the block. Dampened paper is then placed on the block and the design is impressed on the paper through the press. If there is more than one color, then there will be additional blocks.

Albrecht DΓΌrer fostered the engraving and etching process and the technique remains pretty much the same as it was in the 16th century. This process is much more complex-- a design is scratched into a copper plate and parts of the plate are soaked in an acid bath in order to make the line deeper. This deepened line holds more ink. The more lines there are and the longer the plate sits in the acid, the darker the lines. This process allows a tone variance in the print. 

As science and technology evolved, so did other printmaking processes such as lithography and silkscreen. While there is not room to discuss the details of these processes, the point to be made is that it often "takes a village," to borrow a phrase. The artist who comes up with the concept, the artist who translates the painting or other into a working drawing, an engraver, a printer, and other members of the atelier who are involved in keeping the shop going. The engraver and printer are responsible for the final product's quality. Their expertise and experience enables the artist to translate his/her works into the printmaking medium.

There is so much more to discuss about this topic, but printmaking workshops are not a modern idea, as many artists from centuries past collaborated (or hired) artists to create the engraved plate based upon other artwork. Schrag was the director of the world-known Atelier 17 for a period of time; therefore,  it was his job to see that the artists' intentions were realized. Importantly,  Schrag created his own prints. No small effort. He was the artist, etcher, printer--all roles that require vision, technical expertise, and artistry.

The exhibition, Karl Schrag: Memories and Premonitions," remains on view through October 16 at The Mitchell Gallery at St. John's College.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Karl Schrag: Memories and Premonitions
August 28 - October 16, 2013

Schrag's Self-Portraits

The Mitchell Gallery staff is busy preparing for the Members Reception on Friday in honor of the exhibition, Karl Schrag: Memories and Premonitions. Since nametags are created for these events, an inquiry for an appropriate image
Karl Schrag (1912-1995), Self Portrait, 
Black and White, n.d. Oil on board. 
Loan, courtesy of Katherine and 
Lawrence Wangh.
to accompany it came across my desk. Choosing an image for various print/media use is always a challenge because of the variety of considerations, including the  orientation, resolution, color match, theme, tone, plus,  everybody has to like it. In my ponderings, I came across the large undated self-portrait created by Schrag titled, "Self-Portrait, Black and White." This three-quarter length oil on canvas is one of four self-portraits in the exhibition and I was thinking how different they are from each other, differences not necessarily due to the age of the artist.

I have several questions I thought I would share about his portrait. Portraits are created for a variety of reasons--a formal portrait usually  commemorates a person or event and often depicts the sitter's professional or social status. Portraits can be created for personal viewing and may provide psychological insights of the artist or the sitter. Sometimes the artist will be included sort of incognito and mixed in a group of people, while others are alone and straightforward. So, what is the purpose of this particular self-portrait? Somehow it seems so personal. It is certainly different from Schrag's self-portrait created to advertise an exhibition of his work at the Smithsonian Institution for the National Collection of Fine Arts. That mission is direct and to the point: publicity. 

Another of Schrag's self-portraits hangs just above the opening text panel in the exhibition. It is a bust and painted with greens/blues/yellows in the face--very Matisse-like, perhaps even Fauvist? Matisse's influence wouldn't be so far fetched since Schrag was in the first half of his career at Matisse's death in 1952.

It's fun to think about the actual production of the work too. In "Self Portrait, Black and White," Schrag is wearing a cap. Is his cap part of his fashion sense or does it cover a new bald head at that time in his life? Is the sweater one he wore every day, or just in the studio? Did it give him a sense of comfort and routine, a sort of centering like a favorite blanket? Does he show the same features consistently? Usually an artist uses a mirror to create his/her own portrait, so everything is backward. Schrag is shown with the paintbrush in his right hand. Did he correct the image or the pose to reflect right-handedness?  It leads me to wonder how Schrag saw himself at different times in his life. I know if I were creating a self-portrait, there are probably a few features I'd like to soften, but it wouldn't be my left-handedness!

Lucinda Dukes Edinberg
Art Educator

Learn More:

Attend the lecture by exhibition curator Domenic Iacono, Wednesday, September 18 at 7:30 p.m.

Bring friends and family to the Public Reception and Family Event, from 3:30 - 5 p.m., Sunday, September 22.
No registration is necessary.

Thanks to the generosity of the Mitchell Gallery members, these events are free and open to the public.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Mitchell Gallery's exhibition of Karl Schrag

The Mitchell Gallery at St. John's College

Lucinda Dukes Edinberg
Art Educator

Welcome to the new blog for The Mitchell Art Gallery at St. John's College! Our newest exhibition, Karl Schrag: Memories and Premonitions, is an interesting collection of over 40 modernist drawings, paintings and prints. Curated by Syracuse University Art Galleries director, Domenic Iacono,  this exhibition was first on view at the Lowe Gallery at Syracuse University last fall. The Mitchell Gallery is honored to be the first "road" venue.

Karl Schrag, Coast in Autumn, 1960. Gouache on illustration board. SUAC 1962-057. Courtesy
of Syracuse University Art Collection.

Sadly, Karl Schrag (1912-1995) may be an unfamiliar name to many, and I confess that my knowledge of him was sparse until Syracuse's exhibition of his works from their collection. That said, Schrag's career was impressive and distinctive in a number of ways. Schrag had a number of sides to his career as a father of two children and a teacher, probably his most well-known role was that of serving as the director of Atelier 17, the world-renown experimental printmaking workshop originally founded in Paris by Stanley William Hayter in 1927. While much is to be said about Hayter (and amusingly, Schrag's writings refers to Hayter as "Bill," certainly a name I've never heard for the revered printmaker!) Schrag's work, like Hayter, supported printmaking as an independent art form.

Stanley William Hayter, Courtesy of Limited 
Edition Graphics www.wolman-prints.com
Due to the war in Europe, Hayter moved Atelier 17  to New York City, initially at the New School for Social Research, and then relocated again in 1945 to Greenwich Village.  Schrag was one of the artists associated with the Atelier and later became the director. This workshop, whether in Paris or New York City,  was a place of collaboration by artists from all over the world, including Calder, Chagall, Miro, Picasso, Pollock, Rothko and others. Their timing for resurrecting lithography, etching, woodblock and other techniques came at a period where printmaking had been relegated to mass production technology for books, newspapers, and advertising media in the 19th century and early 20th century. Through the efforts of several artists, including Hayter and Schrag printmaking was once again recognized as an artistic and creative medium and the atelier served as a "think tank" for collaboration. Schrag wrote:

The Atelier was in a sense a meeting place where problems for beyond printmaking were discussed. It was not at all like a crafts school or anything like that. The whole complex of what graphics could be and also the elements that make up graphics, like line, and values, and to a degree, color--the whole problem became visible and you could make your own choice as to what you would accept and what you can accept.

Much can be written about Atelier 17, as it has its own story, but this workshop provided a space for experimentation, exploration, and creativity and Schrag is part of its history.

Learn More:
  • Visit The Mitchell Gallery at St. John's College to see the exhibition, Karl Schrag: Memories and Premonitions, on view through October 16, 2013.
  • Bring your brown bag lunch and get some quick insights on the exhibition with "Art Express," a noon-time lecture on Wednesday, September 11, from 12:15-12:45. Water, soda and juices provided.
  • Attend the lecture by exhibition curator Domenic Iacono, Wednesday, September 18 at 7:30 p.m.
  • For the history of Atelier 17, http://www.ateliercontrepoint.com/a173.html
  • Exhibition catalogue, "Karl Schrag: Memories and Premonitions" by Domenic Iacono with contributions by John Gordon, Una Johnson, Carl Little and Karl Schrag.