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Form and Figure: Fourteen Philadelphia Printmakers, 1910-1950

March 23–May 19, 1991

Form and Figure: Fourteen Philadelphia Printmakers, 1910-1950 will be on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art from March 23 through May 19, 1991. Drawn from the Museum's permanent collections, the exhibition reveals the influences on Philadelphia artists and printmakers of a variety of modern art movements, including Post-Impressionism, Expressionism and abstract art, Surrealism, and Social Realism. The rich holdings of the Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs allows the selection of a range of works by each the 14 featured artists to demonstrate the distinctive character of their visions. The exhibition was organized by John Ittmann, Mellon Foundation Visiting Curator of Prints, and James A. Ganz, special assistant for prints. During the period between the two world wars, Philadelphia printmaking was stimulated by the example of older artists like Joseph Pennell and John Sloan and nurtured by the local art institutions. It was not unusual for an aspiring artist to train both at the Museum School of Industrial Art (founded in 1876 as the teaching branch of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and now part of the University of the Arts) and at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Such was the case with Salvatore Pinto, who went on to become one of the first young artists to receive a fellowship with the Barnes Foundation in 1930. Many artists returned to teach at their alma maters and so encouraged the next generation, as when Benton Spruance became the first head printmaker at the Fleisher Art Memorial. Dox Thrash, who had also studied at Fleisher, became one of the leading figures in the WPA printmaking project in Philadelphia and encouraged many young African-American artists. Form and Figure: Fourteen Philadelphia Printmakers, 1910-1950 presents 90 prints revealing the full range of the medium--lithography, etching, engraving, silkscreen, wood cut, aquatint, and drypoint. The featured artists are Alfred Bendiner, George Biddle, Morris Blackburn, Julius Bloch, Wharton Esherick, Earl Horter, Earle Miller, Joseph Pennell, Salvatore Pinto, Robert Riggs, John Sloan, Benton Spruance, Raymond Steth, and Dox Thrash.

Main Building


John W. Ittmann
James Ganz

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