The Old Print Gallery has been exhibiting early and mid-20th century prints for seven years now- a (very exciting) result of joining forces with The Old Print Shop in 2006. In the past month, we have added prints by several new (to us) 20th century printmakers- which we are happy to share with the OPG blog readers today. Below is a sampling of works by three new artists ( the other three artists will come in a later post). We hope you enjoy the new additions to our ever-growing collection of fine prints.
John J.A. Murphy ( 1888-1967)
Murphy was an American painter, wood engraver and book maker, who studied at Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Art Student League, and the London Central School of Art. He participated in the early 20th century revival of the woodblock print, often exploring religious and metaphysical subject matter. Murphy completed his major wood engraving print series “The Way of the Cross” in 1921, which featured 14 black and white prints on Japanese Paper. He also wrote poems to accompany many of his wood engravings.
Norma Bassett Hall (1889- 1957)
Norma Bassett Hall was a printmaker and painter, best known for her color woodcuts in the style of the Arts and Crafts movement- representational scenes of the West printed in strong color with dynamic contrast. Born in Oregon, Hall attended school at the Chicago Art Institute, before returning to Portland to set up her own studio. From Portland, she and her etcher husband traveled to a long list of destinations, including Kansas, France, Britain, Scotland, Virginia, and New Mexico. Hall’s early prints are all woodblocks printed with opaque oil-based inks. She later shifted to using water-based inks after meeting and studying with Japanese printmaking expert Mabel Royds in Scotland. Hall was one of the 10 artists that formed the Wichita-based print collective Prairie Print Makers, and the only female member. Always drawn to color, Hall’s landscapes sometimes employed as many as seven different blocks, all cut into her favorite hard cherry wood.
Roi Partridge (1888-1984)
Born in Centralia, a territory in Washington, Partridge spent his early artistic years in the Pacific Northwest- exploring nature and all Western scenery had to offer with a small group of fellow artists called the Triad (which consisted of Partridge, John Davidson Butler and Clare Shepard). In 1909, he moved to NY and studied a year at the National Academy of Design- his brief and only stint with art school. Traveling to Munich, and not able to afford formal art classes, he worked informally with the printmaker Brockhoff. It is during his time in Germany that he was first introduced to etching. Partridge then moved to Paris, where, again, in lieu of art school, he compulsively read art books and kept a diligent schedule of sketching Parisian architecture, scenes, and portraits. He also worked as a printmaker, under the guidance of friend and mentor Bertha Jaques, founder of the Chicago Society of Etchers.
In 1914, he returned to Seattle, where he worked until 1917, when he and his family moved to San Francisco. He taught at Mills College in California, and served as the first Director of the College’s art gallery. Upon returning from Europe, he almost exclusively printed scenes of nature. His circle of friends in California consisted of great artists Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, and Edward Weston- all were mesmerized by the beauty of their natural surroundings, trying hard to capture its essence in art.