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Sensitive Vision: The Prints of Beth Van Hoesen to Open at the Portland Art Museum
Beth Van Hoesen, Bay Boats, 1988, Color aquatint, etching, and drypoint, handcolored with watercolor, artist’s proof II/V, Gift of the E. Mark Adams and Beth Van Hoesen Adams Trust, © Beth Van Hoesen.

PORTLAND, OR.- A retrospective of prints by San Francisco artist Beth Van Hoesen will be on view at the Portland Art Museum May 2–August 16, 2009. Over the course of five decades, Van Hoesen has created intimate prints that bring out the beauty and eccentricities of her subjects—people, animals, still lifes, and landscapes. Approximately 70 prints by Van Hoesen, drawn largely from the permanent collection of the Portland Art Museum , will be on display.

From the charming and widely known portrait of Sally, a lop-eared rabbit, to scenes of sailboats bobbing in San Francisco Bay , the images reflect Van Hoesen’s keen observation of detail, her precise handling of line, and her sure sense of color. Other images include figure studies from her series of male nudes, vivid still lifes of poppies and roses, and highly detailed color portraits of a rooster and a bobcat. The print Sally will be displayed with stage proofs documenting the artist’s changes to the printing plate and collaboration with a master printer.

Born in Boise , Idaho in 1926, Beth Van Hoesen studied art at Stanford University and the California School of Fine Arts in the 1940s and 50s. After spending time in Paris , she returned to San Francisco where she has spent a career that spans five decades. Van Hoesen chose intaglio printmaking as her primary medium. She was part of the resurging interest in figuration that began in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1950s. She has had numerous solo exhibitions at institutions including the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts. The Portland Art Museum holds the most complete archive of her prints.

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