Courtney Wilder. "The Fingerprint of the Machine, Mercurial Textility, and Printed Dress Fabrics, 1815-1851," The Association of Art Historians (AAH) 2018 Annual Conference: “Looking Outward" (2018).
Early nineteenth-century European textile printers were confronted by
increasingly copious amounts of raw fabric intended for women’s garments. To
maximize profits when decorating apparently infinite lengths of blank “canvas,” printers
embraced mechanized copper rollers alongside traditional block-printing techniques.
Some designers aimed to disguise the new economizing technology. Others highlighted
the rollers’ mechanical qualities by applying to them engine-turned, lathe-generated
designs. These designs, known as “eccentrics,” record a process resulting in abstract and
endlessly variable motifs. Previously utilized for generating decorative metalwork and
counterfeit-proof documents such as banknotes, lathe engraving’s precise permutations of
optically-playful line work signified visually the durable nature of precious materials and
the value inscribed on paper currency. These qualities map awkwardly, however, onto
mass-produced fashionable dress fabrics. The moiréd appearance resulting from eccentric
engraving further cast the fabrics as mere counterfeits imitating expensive silks.
This paper suggests that eccentric textile designs exhibit a mercurial textility
indicative of contentious commercial and social issues that came to the fore as the
industrial revolution progressed. Moreover, the lathe-engraved designs embody visually
the opposition of individual choice and group identification at the heart of fashion. The
patterns of curving parallel lines recall the most quintessential marker of singularity in
humans – the fingerprint. Yet the intricacy and accuracy of the designs betray limitless
multiplicity. Ultimately, the paper asks, did the mercurial fingerprint of the machine
impart a textility capable of opening new fields of visual, as well as social, possibilities?
"Shifting Focus: Women Printmakers of Atelier 17."
Woman's Art Journal
39, no. 1 (June 2018): 12-22.
This essay examines the history of women artists' participation at Atelier 17, the avant-garde printmaking studio. Although women have not factored strongly into histories of the workshop, they inspired its founding and had a strong presence there throughout its early years in Paris and New York City.
Calling itself the “Grand Central Depot for Cheap and Popular Prints,” Currier & Ives was a firm of printmakers and publishers founded in New York in 1834 by Nathaniel Currier (1813–1888) and, after 1857, headed by Currier and his partner, James Merritt Ives (1824–1895). It was one of the most successful commercial publishers of hand-colored lithographs in nineteenth-century America, producing more than 7,500 titles and selling hundreds of thousands of prints during their seventy-three years of operation.
Among the firm’s images, a limited collection of large and medium folio prints presented the work of important New York artists in lithographic form. The drawings, paintings, and prints in this online exhibition are the work of two of these artists: Frances Flora Bond Palmer (1812–1876) and Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait (1819–1905). They reveal the artists’ drawing and lithographic techniques, their accomplishments with the crayon, and highlight the lithographic and coloring processes developed in collaboration with publishers to translate artistic visions into reality.
Considered fine prints rather than commercial lithographs, Tait and Palmer's lithographs invite us to rethink the artistic value of Currier & Ives' large folios, which are among today’s most sought-after Currier & Ives prints.
Martha H. Kennedy.
Drawn to Purpose: American Women Illustrators and Cartoonists.
University Press of Mississippi, in association with the Library of Congress,
Published in partnership with the Library of Congress, Drawn to Purpose: American Women Illustrators and Cartoonists presents an overarching survey of women in American illustration, from the late nineteenth into the twenty-first century. Martha H. Kennedy brings special attention to forms that have heretofore received scant notice--cover designs, editorial illustrations, and political cartoons--and reveals the contributions of acclaimed cartoonists and illustrators, along with many whose work has been overlooked.
Featuring over 250 color illustrations, including eye-catching original art from the collections of the Library of Congress, Drawn to Purpose provides insight into the personal and professional experiences of eighty women who created these works. Included are artists Roz Chast, Lynda Barry, Lynn Johnston, and Jillian Tamaki. The artists' stories, shaped by their access to artistic training, the impact of marriage and children on careers, and experiences of gender bias in the marketplace, serve as vivid reminders of social change during a period in which the roles and interests of women broadened from the private to the public sphere.
The vast, often neglected, body of artistic achievement by women remains an important part of our visual culture. The lives and work of the women responsible for it merit much further attention than they have received thus far. For readers who care about cartooning and illustration, Drawn to Purpose provides valuable insight into this rich heritage.
Martha H. Kennedy, Fairfax, Virginia, is curator of popular and applied graphic art in the Prints and Photographs Division at the Library of Congress. She has curated or cocurated nine exhibitions of cartoon and illustration art, assists researchers, and works with colleagues to develop the Library's collections of original graphic art. She has published in American Art, the International Journal of Comic Art, the Washington Print Club Quarterly, and the Library of Congress Magazine, as well as in Cartoon America: Comic Art in the Library of Congress and Humor's Edge: Cartoons by Ann Telnaes.
255 pages, 8 1/2 x 11 inches, 250 color illustrations
*View related exhibition website > https://www.loc.gov/exhibitions/drawn-to-purpose/about-this-exhibition/
On view at the Library of Congress thru October 20, 2018
Pablo Pivetta, Nicolas Rodriguez Fuchs.
Universidad de Buenos Aires (FADU-UBA), FUXIE, INCAA, IndieGogo, LaPacho, La Casa Post,
As Mark Twain once said, so might have Gutenberg: ‘The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated’. Hardly a day goes by but a new letterpress workshop opens somewhere in the world. And, surprise, surprise, they are usually run by young people, from all sorts of backgrounds and for all sorts of reasons: poetry lovers and aspiring fine press publishers, technological dropouts, art students who have discovered that there is life after the Mac, hot-metal and type geeks, typographers suffering from digital fatigue, and people who just love the smell of ink and the sound of machinery.
Less common are full-length feature films about young people in thrall for the first time to the sirens of letterpress and old technology. But thanks to a crowdfunding project, Endless letterpress, now tells just such a story. Set in the suburbs of Buenes Aires (Argentina), the film (in Spanish, subtitleld in English) tells the tale of a group of young peoples’ encounter with a dying trade and a technique with endless potential.
After four years of preparation and shooting, the two first-time film-makers are now organising their own distribution in the hope that it will be shown in printing museums, collective workshops and anywhere else that people are thinking at the same time of the past and the future.
The film was made by Los Ultimos, aka Pablo Pivetta, graphic designer, photographer, short documentary maker and type collector, and Nicolas Rodriguez Fuchs, who studied graphic design and film at the Universidad de Buenos Aires (FADU-UBA) before working on post-production and animation for TV series and commercials.
You can see the trailer by clicking on the 'External Link' below.
The film has been submitted to various festivals who require the exclusivity until the decision of the jury, so it won’t actually be available for screening before 2018. But if you want to keep in touch you can follow the Los Ultimos project on Facebook.
"La librairie-galerie La Hune (1944-1975) : un espace de monstration privilégié pour l’art de l’estampe."
This essay tells the story of La Hune. La Hune is a library opened by Bernard Gheerbrant (1918-2010) in June 1944 in Paris. Five years later, it moved to Saint-Germain-des-Prés in order to meet Gheerbrant's ambitions: not only did he sell books, but he also started to organize exhibition. La Hune became a gallery for contemporary printmaking.
"Paper warfare: contested political memories in a seventeenth-century Dutch Sammelband."
Word & Image
34, no. 2 (June 2018): 167-175.
This article investigates the flexible boundaries of Early Modern Dutch print media and the practice of Early Modern publishers and collectors who combined printed images and texts to create historical narratives in accordance with their own beliefs. It takes as a case study one seventeenth-century Dutch Sammelband, or composite volume, that conveys an Orangist reading of the past and aspirations for the future through the purposeful arrangement of twenty-one printed images and texts about two statesmen: Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (1547–1619) and Johan de Witt (1625–72). The printed images, pamphlets, and broadsides contained in the Sammelband were published during two periods of intense political upheaval in the Dutch Republic, in 1618–19 and 1663–64. This article argues that the core of this Sammelband was a ready-made set of prints and pamphlets that Amsterdam printmaker and publisher Claes Jansz. Visscher bundled together in 1619 to capitalize on contemporary political conflicts and to shape viewers’ interpretations about the causes, remedies, and future implications of them. The Sammelband, like Visscher’s readymade bundles of prints and pamphlets, reveals how collections of Early Modern printed images and texts worked to control historical accounts, reinforce partisan points of view, and articulate political aspirations.