Paths to the Press: Printmaking and American Women Artists, 1910–1960

January 23–March 8, 2008

Paths to the Press: Printmaking and American Women Artists, 1910–1960 is the first major exhibition to survey the contributions of women artists to American printmaking during the first half of the 20th century. It will be on view at Columbia University's Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery from January 23 through March 8, 2008. In the exhibition are 100 works in a variety of print media by 80 artists, including Mary Cassatt, Louise Nevelson, and Elizabeth Catlett. The exhibition opens with the etching revival that was driven by the Chicago Society of Etchers, founded by Bertha Jacques in 1910.

Among the women who made major contributions to color printmaking during the first decades of the century are Blanch Lazzell, Helen Hyde, and Bertha Lum. The establishment of print societies, the WPA, and printmaking programs in teaching institutions during the 1920s and 1930s helped artists such as Peggy Bacon, Constance Forsyth, and Elizabeth Olds flourish as printmakers. The survey also examines women's involvement in post-WWII printmaking programs at universities and independent presses. It ends in 1960, when print publishers began to flourish and offered new production and marketing opportunities for artists of both sexes.

The prints on view are drawn from the collection of Belverd and Marian Needles, Winnetka, Illinois, as well as from Beach Museum of Art at Kansas State University, the May and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University's; the Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas; and the University of Kansas Spencer Museum of Art.

Elizabeth Seaton, the associate curator at the Beach Museum of Art, is the curator of the exhibition and the editor and a contributing author of the accompanying publication. The 261-page catalogue is the first major reference on women printmakers active in the U.S. during the first half of the twentieth century. It includes five essays as well as illustrated entries on all works in the exhibition.

Preceding the opening reception on Tuesday, January 22, Elizabeth Seaton will give a gallery talk at 4:30 p.m. On Monday, February 4, Helen Langa, Associate Professor, Art History and Gender Studies at American University, will present a lecture entitled "Observing and Subverting: Women Printmakers and Social Justice in the 1930s," to be held in 934 Schermerhorn Hall at 6:15 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.

This exhibition has been organized by the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, with support from Belverd and Marian Needles. The showing at the Wallach Art Gallery has been made possible by an endowment established by Miriam and Ira D. Wallach.