Essay Printmaking

Essay Printmaking-18
For example, the Society of American Etchers conceded in 1947 to open membership to artists of all aesthetic persuasions who practiced printmaking techniques besides etching.

For example, the Society of American Etchers conceded in 1947 to open membership to artists of all aesthetic persuasions who practiced printmaking techniques besides etching.

Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art Art © Estate of Alice Trumbull Mason/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

Although Mason painted throughout her career and was an early member of the American Abstract Artists, founded in 1936, she never achieved the same level of critical praise or commercial success for her non-objective paintings as she did for her prints.

This analysis will suggest that two factors primarily contribute to why making prints at Atelier 17 served as a breakthrough for women artists' careers.

First, prints are highly mobile—nothing more than lightweight, thin sheets of paper.

Atelier 17 became known as the foremostplace worldwide to learn experimental printmaking, and the number of artists training there increased substantially.

Una Johnson (1905–1997), curator of prints at the BKM from 1940 to 1969 and a key figure within the network of female printmakers (fig.

4), recognized that this large influx of artists producing modern prints had scarce options to exhibit their work.

So in 1947, she launched the BKM's National Print Annual Exhibition, which ran continuously for ten years.

Multiple impressions of the same edition could be sent to venues across America and the world, allowing women's prints to be shown in several places simultaneously.

Second, women were highly motivated to develop a dynamic artistic network through their activities as printmakers.

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