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The Gallery of Contemporary Art at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs is pleased to present Graphics by 20th Century Masters from the Cochran Collection. The traveling show consists of 61 works collected by Wes and Missy Cochran of LaGrange, Georgia. Over the past three decades the Cochrans have amassed some of the finest examples of 20th century European and American printmaking. This collection is a comprehesive cross section of contemporary artsits and printmaking techniques. Here among works by Picasso, Chagall, Dali, and others is an etching by sculptor Hery Moore, a mixed media work by sculptor Louise Nevelson and a lithograph by mobile artist Alexander Calder. These are some of the artists who may not be widely known for their prints or associated with the art of printmaking. Among the women artists in this collection are Isabel Bishop, G.H. Rothe, and Joan Mitchell. A silk-screen by Jacob Lawrence is a curious and unusual representation among works by other African American artists.
Printmaking techniques, in the first half of the century, had been long established by European artists, now referred to as old masters. Many American printmakers were influenced by the, then popular, Ashcan School and remained devoted to the old traditions and continued their conventional, realistic depictions of the American Scene. Other artists, after having been inspired by the Armory Show of 1913, broke away from European methods and began to research, experiment and invent new printmaking processes to create new forms of multi-origionals. By the mid-40’s the art of printmaking had been totally redefined.
Silkscreen printmaking (serigraphy) was rediscovered and accepted as a significant medium in American Art. After 1960 serigraphs were seen the world over as an American innovation. Pop artist Andy Warhol mastered the technique and made the silk-screen print a highly regarded commodity, internationally exhibited and collected. Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Indiana, Claes Oldenburg and others also made use of the silk-screen process.
From modern industrial research, new materials were invented which changed the art of lithography and etching forever. The heavy, bulky stones traditionally used for lithography have been overshadowed by chemically treated zinc plates allowing much larger images than previously possible. Copper plates, still the preferred medium for etching, were often replaced by cheaper and more readily available zinc plates, which because of their hardness, allow larger editions to be printed. Lithographs by Man Ray, Larry Rivers and Joan Miro, among others are presented here along with etchings or techniques derived from etching (aka: intaglio), by David Hockney (etching), Jim Dine (drypoint), and a mezzotint by G.H. Rothe. New printing inks and inking methods were developed making much of the previous drudgery involved in printmaking a thing of the past.
this traveling exhibition from the cochran’s extensive art collections is both outstanding and informative. it makes a positive statement about collecting art while highlighting some of the best known artists who witnessed and recorded the 20th century experience.
The exhibition in Colorado Springs is part of a 13 city tour over a two and a half year period, featuring fifty renowned artists. the tour was developed and managed by Smith-Kramer Fine Arts Services, of Kansas City, Missouri. The Gallery of Contemporary Art has booked shows with Smith-Kramer on an almost annual basis over the past 23 years, since its founding at UCCS in 1981.
Support for the exhibition was provided by the Bee Vrandenburg Foundation; the Colorado Council on the Arts with assistance from the Colorado General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts; the CU Student Government Association on behalf of the student body’s cultural awareness: and the museum’s loyal patrons and members.