Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The Velvety Prints of Grace Thurston Arnold Albee

Grace Thurston Arnold Albee (1890 –1985) was an American printmaker, born in Rhode Island. She is recognized as an important American Regionalist printmaker of the twentieth century.

She won two scholarships to study art at the Rhode Island School of Design. She married in 1913 and made art while living in Paris with her husband, muralist Percy F. Albee, and their five sons between World Wars I and II. While there she associated with artists, including Norman Rockwell and Paul Bornet.

As one of the most productive periods of her career, Albee perfected her art and gained entry into the French salons, exhibited her works at independent French galleries and at art shows back in the United States. All of these venues gave her significant positive reviews from both French and American art critics.

Albee developed a passion for depicting urban and natural environments when she lived in France. Her work was received well; exhibited at several Paris Salons and had her first one-woman exhibition at the American Library in Paris in 1932.

She and her family returned to the United States in 1933 and lived in New York City. In 1937, they moved to Pennsylvania where her subjects switched to rural themes. These images of rural life are considered her best known works.

From 1933 onward, Albee was able to dedicate herself to full-time printmaking and her art began to command serious national attention. Her work from this point forward demonstrates confidence as a professional artist. Her prints also became increasingly recognized in the American art community with the best printmakers in the field.

Back in the United States she began to gain significant recognition into museum collections. Albee became known for imagery about the effects of human habitation in the country and city. She became a keen observer of the world around her, and her career was shaped by outside forces affecting the American art scene, viewed through her personal life. Her images often narrate a story.

During her sixty-year working life, she created more than two hundred and fifty prints. She won numerous awards and honors, and worked actively into her 90s.

1942 National Academy of Design Associate member in 1942, full member in 1946.
The second woman in the history of the Academy to receive the Associate distinction in the class of Graphic Arts,
The first female graphic artist ever to attain full Academician membership.
Upon her death at the age of ninety-five, she had accumulated over fifty awards.

Public Collections:
Boston Public Library, Boston, MA
Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
Georgia Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
The Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Agnes Miller Parker: A Delight to Behold

Agnes Miller Parker (1895–1980) was a printmaker and illustrator whose work is not as well-known amongst admirers of 20th century UK printmakers. While her colleagues, such as Gwen Raverat, Robert Gibbings, and Paul Nash, have all received critical admiration Miller Parker is just now receiving her due.

She was born at Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland. She studied at the Glasgow School of Art from 1911 to 1917, and briefly taught at the school.

In 1918 she married the painter, William McCance; and spent most of her career in London and southern Britain. She was one of four engravers who worked at the Gregynog Press in the early 1930s. Miller Parker's technique created a light not seen before in printmaking and she successfully introduced a new element into the medium, and few printmakers have been able to emulate it.

In 1955 she moved to Glasgow. She then lived at Lamlash on the Isle of Arran. She died in 1980 at Greenock.

Her first prints, made in 1926, reflect her interests in cubism and the short-lived movement called Vorticism, active in London in the 1920s. She learned the print medium from her colleagues, Gertrude Hermes and Blair Hughes-Stanton.
Miller Parker turned away from the private press movement towards the commercial publishers, and it was here that she was to produce some of her most distinguished books.

The main body of her work consists of prints for book illustrations, demonstrating fine drawing skills and her love of black and white design. She illustrated the following books:
The Fables of Aesop (1931)
Through the Woods by H. E. Bates(1936)
The Open Air by Richard Jefferies (edited by Samuel J. Looker, 1949)
Various titles for the Limited Editions Club of New York
and editions of the works of Shakespeare and Thomas Hardy.

Miller Parker's body of work show her love of nature through her curving sinuous lines and elegant combination of textures and flow of composition. It is a pleasure to find this printmaker's work is seeing a resurgence of attention. Check her out and see if you can collect some prints before they become too hard to find.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

SGCI Annual Print Conference Is Going to Vegas, Baby!

Yes, the time has come for all good little printmakers to gather together and commune about the medium we love. The Southern Graphic Council International organization has selected Las Vegas as the city of choice, and the hotel where one can find all manner of inked up artists is the Bally's Las Vegas, from April 4 - 7.
Seriously, folks, this will be a conference to behold. Plenty of original prints to see, and excellent artists to meet. Throw in a few slot machines and a couple of shows on the strip and you have a combustible situation that only a printmaker could handle.

This year, That's Inked Up will be attending the conference, and it will be my pleasure to meet and greet as many printmakers as possible. I will be looking at art and hope to talk to as many of you as I can squeeze into my trip. If you are going to be at the Bally's and you want to meet with me, please leave a message with the front desk (under the name Teresa Parker). Looking forward to inking it up with everyone!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Greetings from the Easter Wabbit !

The time of year is upon us when the Easter Wabbit and his little bunny helpers brings baskets filled with multi-colored eggs and lovely chocolate treats to our small inked up children. I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Easter and hope it brings a joyful time with family and friends. These prints were randomly selected from the internet for this year's commemoration. Sorry, I do not know the name of the artists, but I hope you all enjoy seeing their works.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Carroll Thayer Berry's Love of the East Coast

Carroll Thayer Berry (1886 – 1978) was an American artist who grew up in Maine, and whose work engagingly presents scenes from life along the New England coast. Born and raised in New Gloucester, Maine, Berry enrolled at the University of Michigan, and then moved to Massachusetts, where he worked as a mechanical draftsman for an engineering firm.

After working for an architectural firm in Portland, Oregon, he was sent to Panama to participate in the construction of the Panama Canal. A year later, he was sent back to the United States to recuperate from malaria. Subsequently, when Berry was sent back to Panama as a construction inspector, government officials commissioned him to paint a series of large murals of the Canal's construction for the administrative building.

While in the U.S., Berry took art classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. In 1915, he moved to New York City, earning his living as a commercial artist.
In 1917, when the U.S. entered World War I, he was commissioned as a first lieutenant, and assigned to paint camouflage. Berry was one of the first officers attached to the American Camouflage Corps. who were shipped to France for the remainder of the war.

Berry settled in Chicago after WWI where he worked as a designer of installations and interiors for office buildings. During the Depression, Berry moved back to New England, settling in Wiscasset, Maine. With WWII on the horizon, the Bath Iron Works commissioned of Berry a series of paintings on their construction of U.S. Navy fighting ships.

Berry bought a home in Rockport, Maine following WWII. His studio was equipped with a 19th-Century printing press, with which Berry perfected his printmaking skills.
There developed a great demand for his prints, and he sometimes produced large editions, or returned to reprint the editions.

Overall, Berry's work falls within three periods: His early works were experimental, and reflected the changing artistic trends of the early 20th century. During the Depression, he turned to more affordable printmaking medium, which eventually evolved into his iconic style. Finally, around 1973, his interests shifted to using geometry in dynamic symmetry, a system of proportion and natural design in his compositions.

In 1978, at age 90, he died in a hospital in Rockport, Maine.

Berry's work transports us onto his sailing boats and lets us move into and out of east coast harbors. The light in his compositions, the clouds, the birds, and the way he organically moves our eyes around each image lets us feel the air and smell the water and feel as though we are there, too. The work is light-filled and airy. It is sleepy and industrious. Even though we see no people in his works, we know they are there, just below deck on inside the homes of the coastal towns. They are alive and project a soothing environment for living and working. We should all be so lucky to visit the towns he has portrayed. It would do us all some good to get out the fishing gear and rent a cottage by the sea. Berry shows us his life, and it was a fine one, indeed.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Stephen Alcorn's Homage to the Classics

Stephen Alcorn is making some mighty cool prints. Simply said, and simply, you know once you see his work that I am speaking the truth. He is a master printmaker who is making eloquent portraits of authors, artists and images from classic novels. Images that illustrate "Uncle Tom's Cabin" or "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", or the death of Julius Caesar are filled with elegant lines and are compositionally rock solid. Alcorn knows how best to utilize his characters within the prescribed space. He wants to, and does, create a heightened sense of drama from his stories.

His portrait series descriptively takes their source from other media, but he makes them uniquely his own, filling them with light and graceful lines. In a way, some of them remind me of the fractured Cubist works of Picasso or Fernand Leger. Also, thrown in for good measure, are the bold linear references his work lends itself to German Expressionists like Schmidt-Rotloff or Erich Heckel. Alcorn's literary referenced images are mini-stories in and of themselves. The multi-leveled aspect of his compositions yield to the different planes of story-telling and different parts of the overall novel. They are beautifully handled in terms of his balancing of black and white sections, and what he leaves out of the story isn't necessary to describe. We are left with the whole picture, the whole story, and we want for nothing else.

The American born artist spent his formative years in Florence, Italy where he developed an appreciation for medieval and Italian renaissance style works. He returned to the United States to study art in Purchase, NY, and at the Cooper Union School after completing his studies at the Istituto Statale d’Arte, in Florence. While in Italy he apprenticed with Master Artisans Paolo Tarchiani and Roberta Cioni in various printmaking and book-binding classes, plus art history and philosophy.

He also worked with several Florentine printers and bookbinders where his projects included printing limited editioned prints created by 20th century Italian artists Marino Marini, Giorgio Morandi, Lorenzo Viani, Pietro Parigi amongst others.

Since 1986 Alcorn has lived and worked in Cambridge, New York. His ‘Alcorn Studio & Gallery’ has been the focus of numerous feature articles appearing in such prestigious magazine as Print, Graphis, U&LC, Linea Grafica, Prometeo, and Abitare.


1978—80 BFA, The State University of New York, Purchase, NY
1977—78 The Cooper Union for the Advancement of the Arts, New York, NY
1971—77 Instituto Statale d'Arte, Florence, Italy

Public Collections:
The Gutenberg Museum, Magonza, Germany
The Library of Congress, Washington, DC
The New York Public Library, New York, NY
Random House, New York, NY
Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut
University of Connecticut at Storrs, CT
The Washington Post Co., Washington, DC
Plus numerous private collections in Europe and the United States.

Picture of Stephen Alcorn rolling up an image.