Friday, April 24, 2015

California Printmakers 1950-2000 at the Laguna Art Museum

posted by Nancy Young
California Printmakers 1950-2000 is now showing (February 22 - May 31, 2015) at the Laguna Art Museum and proclaims to include “most of the leading California artists of the second half of the twentieth century”, and it does include artists such as Wayne Thiebaud , David Hockney, Richard Diebenkorn, John Baldessari, Bruce Nauman and Ed Rusha, who though all painters are not all printmakers. The title card states that “printmaking flourished thanks to the establishment of workshops where artists could benefit from the technical know-how and inventiveness of expert printers. The most notable were Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles, founded in 1960; Crown Point Press in San Francisco, founded in 1962; Gemini G.E.L. in Los Angeles founded in 1966; and Cirrus Editions, also in Los Angeles, founded in 1970.”

I am not sure how the works were selected but it seems they are from the Laguna Art Museum’s permanent collection augmented by some local private collections. The show claims to be a history of “outstanding” works by California printmakers of the period. The artists represented included well known painters Wayne Thiebud, Richard Diebenkorn, Ed Ruscha, Bruce Nauman, John Baldessari, but with a title as broad as “California Printmakers 1950-2000” the list of printmakers included was somewhat limited. The title touted 50 years of California Printmakers, but the show included many who were famous painters, omitting many outstanding printmakers from 1950-2000. Though it was nice to find items from the artists in the show for sale when when exiting through the gift shop.

The show is well presented and the inclusion of a glossary of printmaking terms enhances the experience for those unfamiliar with the different printmaking processes: what is an edition, what are stages and what are print shops. The show also attempts to educate viewers on the various types of printmaking and terminology by providing a glossary for use in the gallery. An observation was that those shown to be published by a press, Tamarind, Crown Point, Gemini G.E.L., the entire edition was not printed by the artist, but by the master printers of that print shop.

My two favorite pieces were actually by those that were made by actual printmakers: Egon Schiele, a formidable, life size wood cut by Dirk Hagner and Dazzle a delicate hand colored drypoint by Beth Van Hosen.

I had the opportunity to see a show at the Norton Simon in 2012, Proof: The Rise of Printmaking in Southern California at the Norton Simon which was a much more comprehensive show so think a more apt subtitle for this show might be “proof-lite”.


Egon Schiele, 2004
Dirk Hagner (b. 1953)
Woodcut, from the edition of 15

Rabbit, 1986
Ed Ruscha (b. 1937)
Lithograph, from the edition of 30, printed and published by the Tamarind Institute, Albuqurque
Museum purchase

Untitled #5 (Stones), 1988
William Brice (1921-2008)
Etching and aquatint, from the edition of 25
Museum (gift of Peter Norton)

Untitled, 1972
Bruce Nauman (b. 1941)
Drypoint, from the edition of 25, printed and published by Cirrus Editions, Los Angeles
Museum (gift of Ed Moses and Family)

Cone, 1995
Wayne Thiebaud (b. 1920)
Etching, from the edition of 40, printed and pubslished by Crown Point Press, San Francisco, 2011)
Museum (gift of Rich and Ariane MacDonald)
Dazzle, 1985 (detail)
Beth Van Hoesen (1926-2010)
Drypoint with roulette, hand-colored in watercolor, from the edition of 35)
Museum (gift of the E. Mark Adams and Beth Van Hoesen Adams Trust)

Palm Road, 1965
Wayne Thiebaud (b. 1920)
Soft –ground etching, second state, artist’s proof
Museum (promised gift of the artis

The Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Dr, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 494-8971 Open: Monday-Tuesday, Friday-Sunday: 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Thursday: 11:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.
Closed Wednesday

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