The Print Club of Cleveland: Selected Presentation Prints
The exhibition The Print Club of Cleveland: Selected Presentation Prints includes 15 works in a variety of media by an impressive coterie of international artists, cultivated by a visionary organization. Founded in 1919 through the dedication of 16 collectors with a passion for prints, the Print Club of Cleveland reflects the prestige of the institution of which it is an affiliate, the Cleveland Museum of Art. Innovative in its inception, the club continues to enrich the museum’s world-class print collection and promote interest in the history of printmaking.
Fostering astute collecting among its 235 members, the Print Club has commissioned an annual presentation print since 1924. Yearly dues entitle each member to a presentation print, allowing for the amassing of an impressive personal collection. Masterful technique is the highest criterion in the commission, demonstrated in the works selected for the 2022 MAPC Conference exhibition. The technical virtuosity well serves compelling subject matter, as evident in the stark poignancy of Man (1975), a woodcut and color linocut by artist/activist Elizabeth Catlett; Yozo Hamaguchi’s tactile delicacy in his diminutive color mezzotint Papillon Rouge (1972); Thomas Hart Benton’s regionalist sentimentality in his lithograph Approaching Storm (1938); Henri Matisse’s laconic sinuous line in his etching Odalisque (1932); and Bridget Riley’s animated undulating waves of color in her monumental screenprint Elapse (1982), to mention only a few of the pieces on view.
All the Print Club of Cleveland presentation prints included in the 2022 MAPC exhibition testify to the conference’s overarching theme. Each work is the result of creative inquiry, technical expertise, and active imagination, fueling the power of the print as an instrument of commentary, a vehicle of experimentation, and an entity of beauty. The Print Club of Cleveland exemplifies the conference’s subthemes as well: revolutionary in its beginnings more than a century ago and resilient as it tracks into its second hundred years of supporting artists, promoting collecting, and celebrating printmaking.
Man, Elizabeth Catlett, Woodcut and color linocut, 1975, printed 2003. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Gift of The Print Club of Cleveland 2005.35.