The Butler Institute of American Art takes the greatest pride in exhibiting segments of its well-known collection of American art. Through the decades the museum’s print collection has grown in size and quality with virtually every well-known printmaker included. Of particular interest is the fact that so many of the prints in the collection are primarily black, with many set against a white field. It is a major collection. Another observation is that many of the most celebrated prints have been accomplished by painters who utilize the expertise of master printmakers such as Gary Lichtenstein (whose major showing is currently in the MacIntosh and Finnegan/Hynes Galleries of the Butler), ULAE, Gemini GEL, Petersburgh Press, and other well-known master printers and print shops.
This exhibition presents an interesting summary of twentieth century art since so many of the prints included are by historically important artists presenting iconic imagery. Take for example Alex Katz’s Blue Umbrella. It represents Katz’s typical flattening of the human form and also gradations of tones. Paul Jenkin’s Post Meridian Suite easily recalls his spontaneous poured approach to paint application. The Jim Dine tool theme lithograph, Piranesi’s 24 Colored Marks is a tour de force and the Jasper Johns, Souvenir I is classic Johns with the inclusion of his self-image on a circular plate. Donald Judd’s hard edged industrial-like single object inspired etching, Woodcut Etchings, is a powerful example of his Minimalistic themes. The Willem De Kooning’s dominate the exhibition with their wide ranging, dramatically brushed imagery that brings to mind his later painting. But these are exciting examples of Abstract Expressionism translating into print.
November 5 - December 31, 2023