Printmaking In Oregon - A Historical Survey

Show Dates: September 2 - October 3, 2015

Gordon Gilkey (1912-2000)

August Hood, 1970, aquatint etching, 10/20

6 3/4" x 11 1/2"

Michael Parsons Fine Art

716 S.W. Madison

Portland, OR 97205

Phone 503-206-8601

Gallery Hours:  Wednesday - Saturday, 12pm-5pm


Manuel Izquierdo (1925-2009)

Tetuans de las victoria, linocut, 9/50

15 5/8" x 24 3/8"

Show Opening Reception And Gallery Talk: Saturday, September 19th, 2015, 1:30pm - 3:00pm
At 2:00 p.m., on Saturday, September 19, painter, printmaker, and PNCA faculty member Morgan Walker will speak about historic printmaking in Oregon.  In 2005, Mr. Walker and artist Christy Wyckoff curated a very fine show of work by early day Oregon printmakers titled "Northwest Masters - Forgotten Prints (1910 - 1945)" for the Portland Art Museum, and he has done much original research on this topic. 

Charles Heaney (1897-1981)

Hillside, etching, edition of 50

3 1/2" x 4 3/4"

C.E.S. Wood (1852-1944)

Homestead, No 1, etching

3" x 5"

The history of printmaking as fine art is a long and rich one.  The woodcut is the oldest of printmaking techniques, and was first developed in the Far East, where it was used for printing text and images on paper as early as the 5th Century.  By the early 1400's, woodcut prints were being produced in Europe, and the engraving process was developed in Germany in the 1430's.  The etching process also originated in Germany in the late 1400's, and lithography was invented in 1798.  Other  commonly used printmaking techniques include aquatint, mezzotint, and drypoint (all etching techniques), seriagraph, linocut, and the monotype, amongst others.  Well-known artists who were master printmakers include Rembrandt, Durer, Goya, Whistler, Picasso, Daumier, and Matisse, amongst many others.

The history of printmaking in Oregon begins in earnest in the 20th century.  The earliest work in our show is an etching by C.E.S. Wood, circa 1900, which is a true rarity, as Wood was primarily a painter who worked in watercolor, oil, and pastel.   The next group of Oregon printmakers, both time wise and stylistically, includes Melville Wire (engraving), Alfred Schroff (etching), and Rockwell Carey (lithography); followed by a more modernist oriented, mid-century group of artists which includes Charles Heaney (a master of aquatint and linocut), Jack McLarty (proficient in many methods of printmaking), William Givler, Amanda Snyder, and William McIlwraith.  The second half of the 20th century saw the number of artists making prints in Oregon increase substantially.  Artists represented from this time period include George Johanson, John Rock, Michele Russo, Paul Gunn, Manuel Izquierdo, Gordon Gilkey, Nelson Sandgren, Byron Gardner, Constance Fowler, Eunice Jensen Parsons, LaVerne Krause, Frank Boyden, Laura Ross Paul, and Albert Patecky.

The gallery also owns fine prints by Thomas Hart Benton, Mark Tobey, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Ralph Stackpole, Luigi Lucioni, Roi Partridge, Dorothy Dolph Jensen, and Leonard Baskin, which are currently on view.

I should add that one of the great things about collecting original fine art prints, is that they are generally affordable for any budget.

The subtle nuances of tonality and texture, expressive line, and intimacy of scale found in printmaking is completely beguiling.