Contemporary, Early 20th Century, Gallery Event, Linocut, Lithograph, Prints, Watercolor, Woodcut

Online Summer Shows at the Old Print Shop- Pt. 1

Our summer show, Water, is currently on view on the Old Print Gallery walls. But for those out-of-town readers and vacation travellers, our NYC sister shop, the Old Print Shop, has three fantastic summer shows going on right now. Better yet, you can view them all online, through their online exhibition tab on their website.  Below is a preview of one of their shows, The Art of Sporting.

Fast Start. By Emily Trueblood. Linocut, 2001.

The Art of Sporting:

Ready. Set. Go! Sports have been an important part of society for countless centuries. Some were created simply for fun while others evolved out of necessity, such was the nature of archery, for example. And with the Olympics now upon us, we are reminded of the many sports our world enjoys. From swimming to skiing and horse racing to boxing, there is a bit of everything for everyone. So get yourself ready, gear up for the gold and race out to meet your destiny… or at least our web show.

Tennis. By George Bellows. Lithograph, 1920.

Baseball. By John Ross. Two color woodcut, 1960.

Polo Players. By Louis Schanker. Woodcut, 1940.









Dribbling. By Joseph Golinkin. Watercolor, c.1960.


To view the exhibit online, click here. We will reveal their other two summer shows later in the week, so check back soon!


Early 20th Century, Lithograph, Prints, Two-color Lithograph, Woodcut

Benton Murdoch Spruance

Subway Shift; The Second Front. By Benton Murdoch Spruance. Lithograph, 1943. Edition 30/35.

Benton Murdoch Spruance was one of the most influential and prolific color lithographers in the history of twentieth-century modernism. Innovative in the field of color lithography, Spruance, through his diligence and experimentation,  was able to push the medium to new levels. He developed techniques that are still in use today, including subtractive lithography, a practice which allows the artist to use a single stone for several colors.

Born in 1904, Spruance grew up in an affluent suburb of Philadelphia. He began working as an architectural draftsman after he graduated from high school. While studying in the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Architecture, he attended courses in drawing and etching at the Graphic Sketch Club, a free art school. A life-long interest in the subject of labor began when he worked in a West Virginia logging camp for several months in 1924-25. Following that, he enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts to fulfill his ambition of becoming an artist.

In 1928,  a Cresson scholarship from the Academy enabled Spruance to spend several months in Paris. Spruance studied at the Académie Montparnasse under French painter André Lhote (1885-1962), a practitioner of cubism.  He was introduced to lithography at the distinguished Paris print workshop of Edmond Desjobert, which whom he would later work producing many of his lithographs.  Returning to the states, he taught and served as chair of the Fine Arts department at Beaver College in Pennsylvania, and was later named Director of Graphic Arts at the Philadelphia College of Art. Spruance was the recipient of many prestigious awards, including two grants from the Guggenheim Foundation and two Cresson Scholarships, the second of which helped him continue his studies with Lhote in France.

Reclining Nude or Reclining Figure. By Benton Murdoch Spruance. Two-color woodcut. (Black & Green),1951. Edition 30.

Spruance is primarily recognized as a lithographer of social, mythological and religious subject matter. In the twenties and thirties, Spruance was known for prints that one critic described as his “velvety urban scenes and ‘social conscious’ series,” which chronicled the life of ordinary men and women at work and play. However, Spruance was also a painter and draftsman who during this period took advantage of two Guggenheim fellowships to travel throughout the United States and Europe and sketch landscapes. His later work shifts to include more abstract and evocative imagery. In the forties, Spruance began producing moody, psychologically charged lithographic portraits of women, followed by mystically tinted work, based on biblical passages, that became increasingly subtle and sculptural in effect.

In 1967, the year that Spruance died, a major retrospective of his work was held at the Philadelphia College of Arts. There have also been other exhibitions of his art at the Art Institute of Chicago; The Guggenheim Museum; and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Many institutions, including the National Gallery of Art; the New York Public Library; and the Carnegie Institute, hold permanent collections of his work.

Arrangement for Drums. Benton Murdoch Spruance. Two-color lithograph, 1941. Inscribed “Ed. 30.”

To view more prints by Benton Murdoch Spruance, we invite you to visit the Old Print Shop (our NYC partners) or view the prints on their website.