ExhibitionsPaper & Ink: New Print Acquisitions from the High Museum of Art
Past Exhibition

Paper & Ink: New Print Acquisitions from the High Museum of Art

January 18 – June 15, 2014

This exhibition highlights recent print acquisitions for the High Museum of Art’s permanent collection.

Day, 2005

Sarah Sze
American, born 1969
Day, 2005
Offset lithography and silkscreen
Purchase with funds from Baxter Jones in honor of Dr. Jiong Yan, 2013.128
© Sarah Sze

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Saint Jerome in his Study, 1514

Albrecht Dürer
German, 1471–1528
Saint Jerome in his Study, 1514
Purchase with funds from the Estate of Barbara Dunbar Stewart, 2012.52Albrecht Dürer executed many important engravings over the course of his career, but he deemed only three worthy of the title “Master Engravings,” one of which is this image of Saint Jerome in his study. Identifiable by his attribute, the contented lion in the foreground, Saint Jerome appears in the back of a small, sunlit study, immersed in his work. Saint Jerome is credited with being the first to translate the Bible into Latin. During his lifetime, this was one of Dürer’s most popular engravings, which he gave and sold to friends and admirers.

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The River (State), 2003

Ellsworth KellyAmerican, born 1923
The River (State), 2003
12 color lithograph
Gift of Stephen Dull, 2012.271
© Ellsworth KellyFor more than fifty years Ellsworth Kelly has pursued a consistent language in his compositions; it is dependent upon intuitive yet highly precise balances of shape, space, and pure color. This monumental lithograph is part of a series of works based on important rivers of the world, and it is an extension of Kelly’s interest in the natural world as a point of departure in his work. Kelly used twelve varying shades of black to create an almost photographic image of reflection on the water’s surface.

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The Piano, 1906

B. J. O. Nordfeldt
American, born Sweden, 1878–1955
The Piano, 1906
Color woodcut on laid paper
Purchase with American Art Acquisition Fund and funds from the Estate of Barbara Dunbar Stewart, 2011.104Influenced by Impressionists such as Paul Cézanne, B. J. O. Nordfeldt experimented with both new and traditional printmaking techniques while studying in Europe. He also looked to Japanese prints, ultimately developing his own method to print more than one color in a single impression. For The Piano Nordfeldt drew heavily on the stylized aesthetic of Japanese prints, as evidenced by the oriental decorations in this otherwise Western setting. A poignant image, this print was later purchased by Chicago architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who gave it to his daughter.

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Georgia Cotton Crop, 1944–1945

Dox Thrash
American, 1893–1965
Georgia Cotton Crop, 1944–1945
Carborundum mezzotint and etching
Purchase with David C. Driskell African American Art Acquisition Fund, 2011.107One of the most renowned African American printmakers of the twentieth century, Dox Thrash was instrumental in the development of the carborundum printmaking process. Thrash and his colleagues at the Federal Art Project created this efficient technique, which resulted in more durable plate surfaces but required less time and effort to produce than traditional methods. Thrash’s use of the carborundum technique in Georgia Cotton Crop enhances the work’s chiaroscuro complexities. He intentionally obscured the faces of his figures and other details, as if channeling a foggy memory of his youth in rural Georgia.

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This exhibition of recent print acquisitions from the High Museum of Art celebrates the breadth and depth of the High’s collection of works on paper. With more than 450 prints acquired in the past five years, the thirty-one prints selected for this exhibition feature some of the most well known artists of the past four centuries, including Albrecht Dürer, Ellsworth Kelly, Sarah Sze, Salvador Dalí, and Dox Thrash, to name a few.

The practice of printmaking is a discipline with a long and rich tradition involving the transfer of ink from one surface to another through a variety of techniques. These newest additions to the collection represent a range of different approaches to printmaking.

  • RELIEF (woodcuts, linocuts, and letterpress): Artists create relief prints by incising and inking a printing surface, such as a woodblock or linoleum piece. The resulting image reveals the area around the incisions that the artist left intact.
  • INTAGLIO (etching, drypoint, and engraving): Like relief, artists create intaglio prints by cutting or etching into the surface of a plate. Only the incised areas – the marks made by the artist – transfer to the printing surface.
  • PLANOGRAPHIC (monotype and lithograph): Planographic prints are produced from a completely flat surface rather than a surface with raised areas, and use a chemical process to transfer the ink.