Saturday, October 7, 2017

Earl Newman exhibits at the Los Angeles Printers Fair

Greetings everyone,

I thought I would give a salute to a longtime printmaker from Oregon whose work will be featured at the Los Angeles Printers Fair next weekend in Los Angeles, of course.
The Fair will be held SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2017, from 10 am to 5 pm, and it supports the non-profit International Printing Museum and its educational mission.The Fair is suitable for all ages. General admission is $10 for adults and $5 for kids under 12 years of age. Students, educators, enthusiasts, collectors, typophiles, bibliophiles, graphic designers, artists, and professionals will enjoy the varied demonstrations and array of vendors.


Printmaker-Artist EARL NEWMAN, a member of the 1960’s Avant-garde Los Angeles art poster scene. Newman has designed and printed the posters for the Monterey Jazz Festival for 50 years (a collection that has recently been acquired by the Smithsonian), posters for the Abbott Kinney Street Fair here in Los Angeles, and many of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Theater Posters. The exhibition will feature work from his extensive and impressive portfolio.

Newman will be in attendance at the fair selling signed limited edition prints and sharing stories of his six decades working with the music, theater, and art worlds. He will also be selling a special limited edition poster print of the 2017 Los Angeles Printers Fair show guide cover, designed by the artist himself. Visit to see his work.

I wanted to give you a sampling of some of his greatest pieces....

Massachusetts College of Art-BFA 1956
Harvard University Graduate School-AMT 1957

This is a chance to meet and greet with one of the best in the biz, folks. Take advantage of it if you are visiting LA next weekend.

Another special exhibit...
"Printing on the Silver Screen", will feature printing presses and artifacts that the Printing Museum has rented to Hollywood over the last 75 years. These presses have been featured in many movies and Westerns, including The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), Have Gun Will Travel (1957), even John Boy’s Press on The Waltons (1971). More modern rentals include TV’s Gilmore Girls (2004), NCIS (2010), Seven Pounds (2008), and the critically acclaimed film Inception (2010). Guests will have a chance to print a special “Newsies Banner” keepsake on the actual press rented for the cult hit Newsies (1992).

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Art Werger's Glittering Cityscapes

The work of Art Werger is stunningly perfect and makes the rest of us go, "Man, he is just too good!" Yes, he is good, more than good. He is a master at this work, and loves it, obviously.

Art Werger's prints are based in his New Jersey childhood. His city scenes glitter with the twinkling lights of thousands of office buildings and street signs. They entice us to come see what's happening in the urban big town and become a part of the party. But there is a dark feel about some of them as well. We are transported back in time to the black and white film noir era in some of his cityscapes.

His suburban scenes though, they reflect a quieter place and time; more evocative of childhood memories of summer evenings walking through the neighborhood streets with a friend, or the family dog. The lighting Werger imbues with these images also has a special quality, as light filters through the tree-lined streets dancing over us as in a dream-like place.

Werger is an artist who revels in the complexities of printmaking process, and who carefully refines his images with intense precision. These are tremendous works of a master completely working in his element.

Public Collections:
The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
the Boston Public Library
the Brooklyn Museum
the Philadelphia Museum of Art
the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Trenton Museum, New Jersey

Festival Szuki, Rybnik 2000
Intergraphia Katowic
World Award Winners Gallery
Triennale Graphiki, Kracow, Poland 2000

Monday, August 21, 2017

Printmaking's Jazz Infusion

An exhibition of Herman Leonard's "Legends of Jazz" inspired me to look for our inked up brethren who have been inspired by the subject of jazz music for their printmaking and I found some excellent pieces which I will now share with you. The beat, the rhythms, the instruments, the sweat of a musician's brow, the spotlight, the cool, clean elegance and snappy thin ties with trim suits. the female seductress singing on stage surrounded by male musicians who all give their soul to this genre. They uplift us, and make us feel oh so cool to be listening to their music. We feel hip and smart and feel the music infuse our bodies with something that is edgy and wild. It is a broad genre with a lot of cultural evolutions, but it is Never dull or boring to hear. Even the Sebs nightclub in this year's runaway hit movie La La Land featured some excellent jazz players and brought about an appreciation for this ever popular music. Enjoy the brief historical essay that follows....

Jazz is a music genre that originated in African American communities of New Orleans, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Since the 1920s, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression.

The 1950s saw the emergence of free jazz, and in the mid-1950s, hard bop emerged, which introduced influences from rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues. Modal jazz developed in the late 1950s, using the musical scale as the basis of musical structure and improvisation.

Jazz-rock fusion appeared in the late 1960s and early 1970s, combining jazz improvisation with rock music's rhythms, electric instruments, and highly amplified stage sound. In the early 1980s, a commercial form of jazz fusion called smooth jazz became successful. Other styles and genres grew in the 2000s, such as Latin and Afro-Cuban jazz.

The question of the origin of the word jazz is well documented. It is believed to be related to jasm, a slang term dating back to 1860 meaning "pep, energy." The earliest written record of the word is in a 1912 article in the Los Angeles Times in which a minor league baseball pitcher described a pitch which he called a jazz ball "because it wobbles and you simply can't do anything with it."

Jazz has proved to be very difficult to define, since it encompasses such a wide range of music spanning a period of over 100 years, from ragtime to the 2010-era rock-infused fusion. Attempts have been made to define jazz from the perspective of other musical traditions, such as European music history or African music.

Jazz is a "form of art music which originated in the United States through the confrontation of the Negro with European music and arguing that it differs from European music in that jazz has a special relationship to time defined as 'swing, involves a spontaneity and vitality of musical production in which improvisation plays a role.
Although jazz is considered highly difficult to define, at least in part because it contains so many varied subgenres, improvisation is consistently regarded as being one of its key elements.

To some African Americans, jazz has highlighted their contribution to American society and helped bring attention to black history and culture, but for others, the music and term "jazz" are reminders of "an oppressive and racist society and restrictions on their artistic visions.
When men were drafted for WWII, many all-women big band jazz bands took over. The International Sweethearts of Rhythm (founded 1937) was a well-known jazz group of this era, becoming the first all-women integrated band in the U.S., touring Europe in 1945 and becoming the first black women to travel with the USO.

Jazz originated in the late 19th to early 20th century as interpretations of American and European classical music entwined with African and slave folk songs and the influences of West African culture. Its composition and style have changed many times throughout the years with each performer's personal interpretation and improvisation, which is also one of the greatest appeals of the genre. The music of New Orleans had a profound effect on the creation of early jazz.

From 1920 to 1933, Prohibition in the United States banned the sale of alcoholic drinks, resulting in illicit speakeasies which became lively venues of the "Jazz Age", hosting popular music including current dance songs, novelty songs, and show tunes. Jazz began to get a reputation as being immoral, and many members of the older generations saw it as threatening the old cultural values and promoting the new decadent values of the Roaring 20s.
Also in the 1920s Skiffle, jazz played with homemade instruments such as washboard, jugs, musical saw, kazoos, etc. began to be recorded in Chicago, IL. later merging with country music.

By the 1940s, Duke Ellington's music had transcended the bounds of swing, bridging jazz and art music in a natural synthesis
Dizzy Gillespie wrote:
... People talk about the Hines band being 'the incubator of bop' and the leading exponents of that music ended up in the Hines band. But people also have the erroneous impression that the music was new. It was not. The music evolved from what went before. It was the same basic music. The difference was in how you got from here to here to here ... naturally each age has got its own shit.
In the late 1940s, there was a revival of "Dixieland" music, harking back to the original contrapuntal New Orleans style.

Cool jazz later became strongly identified with the West Coast jazz scene.
Latin jazz is the term used to describe jazz which employs Latin American rhythms and is generally understood to have a more specific meaning than simply jazz from Latin America. A more precise term might be Afro-Latin jazz, as the jazz subgenre typically employs rhythms that either have a direct analog in Africa or exhibit an African rhythmic influence beyond what is ordinarily heard in other jazz. The two main categories of Latin jazz are Afro-Cuban jazz and Brazilian jazz.

Afro-Cuban jazz often uses Afro-Cuban instruments such as congas, timbales, güiro, and claves, combined with piano, double bass, etc. Afro-Cuban jazz began with Machito's Afro-Cubans in the early 1940s. For most of its history, Afro-Cuban jazz had been a matter of superimposing jazz phrasing over Cuban rhythms.
But by the end of the 1970s, a new generation of New York City musicians had emerged who were fluent in both salsa dance music and jazz, leading to a new level of integration of jazz and Cuban rhythms. Brazilian jazz such as bossa nova is derived from samba, with influences from jazz and other 20th-century classical and popular music styles.

Soul jazz was a development of hard bop which incorporated strong influences from blues, gospel and rhythm and blues to create music for small groups.
By the mid-1970s, the sound known as jazz-funk had developed, characterized by a strong back beat (groove), electrified sounds and, often, the presence of electronic analog synthesizers. Jazz-funk also draws influences from traditional African music, Afro-Cuban rhythms and Jamaican reggae.

In 1987, the United States House of Representatives and Senate passed a bill proposed by Democratic Representative John Conyers, Jr. to define jazz as a unique form of American music, stating:
... that jazz is hereby designated as a rare and valuable national American treasure to which we should devote our attention, support and resources to make certain it is preserved, understood and promulgated.
It passed in the House of Representatives on September 23, 1987, and in the Senate on November 4, 1987.

The 1980s saw something of a reaction against the fusion and free jazz , so a commercial form of jazz fusion called "pop fusion" or "smooth jazz" became popular.
In 2001, Ken Burns' documentary Jazz was premiered on PBS, featuring Wynton Marsalis and other experts reviewing the entire history of jazz to that time.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

'Tis the Season for Baseball and Printmaking!

When the summer months roll around, and you are driving around the neighborhood, it is a common sight to see a group of kids playing baseball in a park, or batting some balls on the street. Who hasn't had a baseball come careening through and break their one of home windows? A Such is the plight of many a home owner when there is a baseball lying around.

I have selected some choice printmaking gems on the national past time, because I live in Chicago and the annual Cross-town Classic is being played between the beloved northside's Cubs and the southside's White Sox. This is a brutal rivalry to be sure, but also good-natured and requiring tolerance of each other's obsessive need to wear black and white, or red and blue in the face of the perceived rival/enemy. Our house is a split home so the jabs are frequent about the other person's "poor team will have to lose Again", etc.

Whatever your personal favored team, I have rounded up a few prints by our inked up brethren, so enjoy the game, and...Go Cubs!

For anyone unfamiliar to the game of Baseball, it is played between two teams of nine players each, who take turns batting and fielding. The batting team attempts to score runs by hitting a ball that is thrown by the opposing team's pitcher with a bat swung by the batter, then running counter-clockwise around a series of four bases. A run is scored when a player advances around all four bases. A game is composed of nine innings, and the team with the greater number of runs at the end of the game wins. If scores are tied at the end of nine innings, extra innings are usually played. In the United States and Canada, professional Major League Baseball (MLB) teams are divided into the National League (NL) and American League (AL), each with three divisions: East, West, and Central. The major league champion is determined by playoffs that culminate in the World Series.

Baseball evolved from older bat-and-ball games played in England from the mid-18th century. This game was originally brought (by immigrants) to North America. By the late 19th century, baseball was widely recognized as the national sport of the United States. Baseball is currently popular in North America, Central and South America, the Caribbean and East Asia.

A French manuscript from 1344 contains an illustration of clerics playing a game with similarities to baseball. Consensus once held that today's baseball is a North American development from the older game rounders, popular in Great Britain and Ireland. Rounders and early baseball were actually variants of each other, and that the game's most direct antecedents are the English games of stoolball and "tut-ball".

The earliest known reference to baseball is in a 1744 British publication, A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, by John Newbery. It contains a rhymed description of "base-ball" and a woodcut that shows a field set-up somewhat similar to the modern game—though in a triangular configuration, and with posts instead of ground-level bases. The first recorded game of "Bass-Ball" took place in 1749 in Surrey, and featured the Prince of Wales as a player. Rounders was also brought to the United States by Canadians of both British and Irish ancestry. The first known American reference to baseball appears in 1791, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

The first officially recorded baseball game in U.S. history took place on June 19, 1846 in Hoboken, New Jersey: the "New York Nine" defeated the Knickerbockers, 23–1, in four innings. In the mid-1850s, a baseball craze hit the New York metropolitan area. By 1856, local journals were referring to baseball as the "national pastime" or "national game." A year later, sixteen area clubs formed the sport's first governing body, the National Association of Base Ball Players. The game's commercial potential was developing: in 1869 the first fully professional baseball club, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, was formed and went undefeated against semipro and amateur teams. The first professional league, the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players, lasted from 1871 to 1875.

The more formally structured National League was founded in 1876. In 1884, African American Moses Walker (and his brother Welday) played in the American Association. By the early 1890s, a gentlemen's agreement in the form of the baseball color line effectively barred black players from the white-owned professional leagues, major and minor. Professional Negro leagues formed, but quickly folded. Also in 1884, overhand pitching was legalized. In 1887, softball, under the name of indoor baseball or indoor-outdoor, was invented as a winter version of the game. The National League's first successful counterpart, the American League, which evolved from the minor Western League, was established that year.

The World Series, pitting the two major league champions against each other, was inaugurated in the fall of 1903. Motivated by dislike for owner Charles Comiskey and gamblers' payoffs, members of the Chicago White Sox conspired to throw the 1919 World Series. The Black Sox Scandal led to the formation of a new National Commission of baseball. The first major league baseball commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, was elected in 1920. That year also saw the founding of the Negro National League; the first significant Negro league, it would operate until 1931. For part of the 1920s, it was joined by the Eastern Colored League.

The rise of the legendary player Babe Ruth, the first great power hitter of the new era, helped permanently alter the nature of the game. A new Negro National League was organized in 1933; four years later, it was joined by the Negro American League. The first elections to the National Baseball Hall of Fame took place in 1936. In 1939 Little League Baseball was founded in Pennsylvania. By the late 1940s, it was the organizing body for children's baseball leagues across the United States.

With America's entry into World War II, many professional players went to serve in the armed forces. Chicago Cubs owner Philip K. Wrigley led the formation of a new professional league with women players to help keep the game in the public eye – the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League existed from 1943 to 1954. The inaugural College World Series was held in 1947, and the Babe Ruth League youth program was founded. In 1947, Robinson broke the major leagues' color barrier when he debuted with the Dodgers; Larry Doby debuted with the American League's Cleveland Indians later the same year. Latin American players started entering the majors. In 1951, two Chicago White Sox, Venezuelan-born Chico Carrasquel and black Cuban-born Minnie Miñoso, became the first Hispanic All-Stars.

No major league team had been located west of St. Louis until 1958, when the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants relocated to Los Angeles and San Francisco, respectively. Regular-season interleague play was introduced in 1997.
In 2001, Barry Bonds established the current record of 73 home runs in a single season. In 2007, Bonds became MLB's all-time home run leader, surpassing Hank Aaron.

In 1847, American soldiers played what may have been the first baseball game in Mexico at Parque Los Berros in Xalapa, Veracruz. The first formal baseball league outside of the United States and Canada was founded in 1878 in Cuba. The Dominican Republic held its first islandwide championship tournament in 1912. Professional baseball tournaments and leagues began to form in other countries between the world wars, including the Netherlands (1922), Australia (1934), Japan (1936), Mexico (1937), and Puerto Rico (1938).

The Japanese major leagues have long been considered the highest quality professional circuits outside of the United States. After World War II, professional leagues were founded in many Latin American countries, most prominently Venezuela (1946) and the Dominican Republic (1955). In Asia, South Korea (1982), Taiwan (1990) and China (2003) all have professional leagues.

Many European countries have professional leagues as well, the most successful, other than the Dutch league, being the Italian league founded in 1948. In 2004, Australia won a surprise silver medal at the Olympic Games.

After being admitted to the Olympics as a medal sport beginning with the 1992 Games, baseball was dropped from the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.

And lest we ever forget the famous phrase said my Tom Hanks' character from " A League of Their Own"...

Monday, July 10, 2017

France's Auguste-Louis Lepere

Auguste-Louis Lepère (1849 - 1918) was a French artist who was considered the a European leader in printmaking circles. By the mid-1870s, Lepère had clearly emerged as one of the most renowned printmakers of his time. Lepère became an expert both in making reproductive images from which others prepared matrixes to print images, and in making the prints himself.

He was born to the sculptor François Lepère. He was apprenticed at the age of thirteen to the English printmaker Joseph Burn Smeeton who worked in Paris. Lepère desired to be a painter and submitted his work to the annual Salons but he also worked for thirty years as an illustrator, earning his livelihood producing printmaking illustrations for various magazines. Prints were widely used for illustrations in journals during that time so it provided him with a dependable income.

With the advent of photographic images being used for magazines and newspapers, Lepere stubbornly continued to make his images in the printmaking media. It was a natural progression for him to move from magazine illustration to book illustration and Lepère became well-known as one of the masters of French book illustration.
Between 1889 and 1901, Lepere’s favorite subjects were the urban Parisian scenes—bridges, cathedrals and boulevards. He focused mostly on daily life and he is now renowned for his use of colored paper, and combining printmaking processes on the same print. In total, his graphic body of work consists of over 150 etchings, over 200 wood engravings and 14 lithographs.

In the 1880s Lepère’s reproductive prints business expanded, while he continued to publish original prints. He abandoned his atelier in 1884, and after 1885 pursued making only original prints for journals and illustrations in books and prints sold as single sheets.

He exhibited his prints in the Salon, receiving medals in 1881 and 1887.
Lepère’s artistic experimentation continued in 1889 with hand-colored prints. In the Exposition des Peintres-Graveurs at the Durand-Ruel Gallery in 1890, he exhibited 41 works in a variety of media. Also in that year he exhibited his prints at the Salon Nationale des Beaux-Arts.

His work encouraged artists like Henri Rivière, Félix Vallotton and Paul Gauguin in the 1890s, leading to a revival of printmaking.
After 1900 Lepère was financially able to spend more time painting, and his earlier work was republished in portfolios.

Member of the Legion of Honor