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Highlights from permanent collection display the range of printmaking techniques through the centuries
Betsy Bauer (American, born 1959), Lydia’s Leaves: 1835, 1997–2001. Monotype on chine collé. Acquired through the David M. Solinger, Class of 1926, Fund, 2002.002.004. Collection of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University.

ITHACA, NY.- The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University presents The Language of Prints, on view from June 28 to July 28, 2014.

Curated by Nancy E. Green, the Gale and Ira Drukier Curator of European and American Art, Prints & Drawings, 1800–1945, at the Johnson Museum, this exhibition considers the intriguing diversity of printmaking techniques. More than seventy works are on view from the Johnson’s extraordinary collection of over 22,000 prints, offering a wide range of examples in most printmaking techniques—intaglio, relief, planographic, screenprint, and monoprint.

“A key aspect of making prints is the excitement of working with flexible media that encourage experimentation at every step of the process,” said Green. “While a print can be defined as any image offset onto paper from a permanent matrix, they are not merely reproductions. The choices of ink and paper, the determined pressure used to make the print, and the masterful combination of several techniques within one image have led artists throughout centuries to experiment widely and produce startlingly innovative results.”

At Cornell University, there was a print collection on campus before there was even an art museum to house it. The first extensive gift of art to the University came from William P. Chapman, Jr., Class of 1895, in the 1940s. This initial gift numbered over three thousand works on paper, with prints by Dürer, Rembrandt, Whistler, and Goya, as well as ukiyo-e woodcuts by Hiroshige and Hokusai. The gift was instrumental to the establishment of Cornell’s first arts museum, in the A. D. White House (now home to Cornell’s Society for the Humanities). Since then the collection has grown exponentially, thanks to the interest and support of Cornell’s many graduates.

This exhibition was curated with assistance from Johnson Museum interns Soowon Jo ’15, the 2013–14 Nancy and Stephen Einhorn Intern; Clara-Ann Joyce ’15, the 2014 Nancy Horton Bartels ’48 Scholar for Collections; and Christian Waibel ’17. The exhibition is also the focus of a Cornell’s Adult University course this summer, “The Art of the Print.”

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Highlights from permanent collection display the range of printmaking techniques through the centuries

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