For Immediate Release
October 23, 2012

Contact: Robbin Zella

The Art of Business: Collector’s Press Lithographs

(Bridgeport, CT)--The Housatonic Museum of Art is pleased to announce the opening of a fall exhibition that highlights works from the Museum’s impressive print collection. The Art of Business: Collector’s Press Lithographs will be on view from November 8 through December 21, 2012 and is an opportunity for the public to see works on paper that are rarely on display due to their fragility. Selected from the nearly 3,000 works on paper in storage, The Art of Business is the second of two exhibitions resulting from a year-long project to catalogue the Museum’s print collection.

Founded in 1967 in San Francisco, Collector’s Press was a lithography workshop where artists worked closely with master printers to create original lithographs. Under the direction of Ernest de Soto, artist and graduate of the famed Tamarind Lithography Workshop, Collector’s Press continued the West Coast tradition of reviving the lithography medium as an artistic means of expression.

Pushing printmaking to its limits, Collector’s Press encouraged artists to create works that exemplified the inherent strengths and beauty of lithography. By working with trained printers, artists who had never made a print before could create original work and experiment. Collector’s Press introduced countless artists to lithography and influenced many to become printmakers. The business closed in 1972, but its output influenced subsequent generations of artists and made an indelible mark on the American art scene. The spirit of Collector’s Press lived on in two subsequent print workshops that de Soto operated after its closing: Editions Press and the Ernest F. de Soto Workshop.

The exhibition explores three aspects of Collector’s Press: its director, its business and its art. The history of Ernest de Soto and the press are inextricably linked, but it is the artistic output of the business that really differentiates it from other print workshops. While Collector’s Press worked with famous artists and printmakers from the Bay Area and across America, it made a name for itself by championing the work of Hispanic artists. The show includes just over 35 lithographs from some of the biggest names in West Coast printmaking, including Nathan Oliveira, Frank Lobdell and Deborah Remington. The exhibition also features work by Latin American greats, Jose Luis Cuevas, Felix Ruvolo and Rodolfo Abularach.

The Art of Business: Collector’s Press Lithographs is the result of a year-long cataloguing project by Maura Brennan, Curator of Prints and Drawings, a position funded by the Werth Family Foundation and the Fairfield County Community Foundation. Drawn from the 75 Collector’s Press prints in the Museum’s holdings, the exhibition is representative of American printmaking activities in the 1960s and 1970s—a particular strength of the collection.

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