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Op and Pop Art: Experiments by American artists starting in the 1960s on view at Staatsgalerie Stuttgart
Robert Indiana, Der Traum heißt Verlangen, 1971, Siebdruck auf Papier, 43,5 x 42 cm, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, , © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2013.

STUTTGART.- A group of vibrant screen print works by American artists - part of a private collection purchased in 2009 - is now being presented to a broad public for the first time at the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart.

It is striking how an entire generation of artists in the U.S. succumbed to the fetish of mass goods and their presence in the media. And the sure instinct with which these young artists resorted to the European continent and placed their confidence in solid Swabian craftsmanship for the realization of their works is amazing. The Domberger printing company in Filderstadt is a shining example. Compositions by American artists were printed there over a period of several decades. Within that context, the various production phases, handwritten memos, corrections by the artists and a wide range of proofs and originals were collected and preserved.

Thanks to the acquisition of screen print entrepreneur Michael Domberger's unique private collection by the State of Baden-Württemberg in 2009, the Staatsgalerie now has the means of presenting highlights of this collection to a broad public for the first time. Altogether 140 examples by notable American Op and Pop artists, enhanced by Andy Warhol works from the museum's own holdings, retrace the success story of the screen print in the second half of the twentieth century.

From Advertising to Art
In the 1960s, many young American artists turned to screen print. They were amazed by the sensational chromatic force that bears comparison with painting in oil or acrylic. Previously employed above all in advertising, this new printing technique soon advanced to become the most important medium of Op and Pop Art. Famous artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein or Keith Haring took advantage of further technical possibilities and printed on canvas, foil, metal and plastic. For the painters of Op Art, for example Josef and Anni Albers, and Photorealism, for instance Richard Estes, the precision and sharpness of the screen print provided the best possible means of realizing their ideas.

The actual printing of a screen print was preceded by experimental phases, since the transposition of the studio drafts into the technique's new universe of colour had its limits and moreover required utmost sensitivity on the part of the printer. Particularly the American artists perceived this circumstance as a stimulus and an opportunity. Once they had a proof in front of them, they could make corrections and changes - or comments expressing their enthusiasm. The exhibition strikingly retraces the suspenseful production process.

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