Back to News

Artist as Craftsman. Survey of Prints by William Majors

Brandywine Workshop and Archives presents a first-time solo exhibition –a comprehensive survey of etchings and lithographs by artist William Majors (1930-82). Selected from the artist’s extensive estate collection, the exhibited prints span nearly two decades of creative work. They highlight his masterful, disciplined craftsmanship, exploring a variety of traditional and experimental techniques.

Following art school training in painting Majors left his mid-West home base and set out in 1959, supported by a John Hay Whitney foundation fellowship, to live in Florence, Italy. There, he studied first-hand the work of Renaissance artists who became one of the enduring inspirations in his work. Returning to the U.S. he settled in New York in 1962 and enjoyed new friendships with musicians, performers and artists including fellow members of the historic African American artists’ collective, Spiral.

During the 1960s Majors gained valuable recognition from curators, particularly at The Museum of Modern Art, which published a limited edition portfolio of his etchings in 1965. The following year, the print portfolio received the Grand Prize in Graphic Arts at the First World Festival of Negro Arts, Dakar, Senegal and in 1970 it was exhibited in the U.S. Pavilion, 35th Venice Biennale.

Dedicated to the classroom as well as the studio, Majors re-located several times during the 1960s and ‘70s teaching and lecturing from coast to coast: State University of New York; The New School; Art Institute of The Museum of Modern Art; Cornell University; University of Iowa; California State College, Hayward; Oakland College of Art; University of New Hampshire; Dartmouth College; Rhode Island School of Design; University of Connecticut. A John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 1973-74 enabled him to equip his New Hampshire painting and printmaking studio where most of the prints in this exhibition were finally published.

Majors’ prints as well as paintings, collages and drawings have been collected and exhibited widely in numerous major museums throughout the U.S. and internationally. The Museum of Modern Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Boston Museum of Fine Arts; Indianapolis Museum of Art; Roy Neuberger Museum, Purchase; The Newark Museum; The Library of Congress; Zimmerli Art Museum; Mott-Warsh Collection; Studio Museum in Harlem.

A free opening reception will be held Wednesday, February 28, 5:30-8:00 PM

In a free public program, Wednesday, March 14, 6:30 – 8:00 PM, Majors’ close friends, sculptor Melvin Edwards, and Susan Stedman, the late artist’s collaborator and executor of his estate, will discuss the creative practice and life of William Majors.

Several photographs of the artists and print images are available upon request.

A catalogue will also be available at the opening reception.

Relevant research areas: North America, 20th Century, Etching, Lithography

Leave a Reply