Engaging with recent interest in how American art traveled internationally, this essay will consider the movement of women's Atelier 17 prints and the positive impact of these exhibitions on women's career success.Drawing on analysis of primary material visualized in charts and on interactive maps produced with Viewshare, an online platform developed by the Library of Congress, this article establishes who and where the major hubs of activity were within this network and what facilitated connections among these nodes.A seventh point in New York City represents a solo show of Mason's woodcuts at Wittenborn Gallery in 1952.
Dorothy Noyes Arms, wife of John Taylor Arms who served as the organization's longtime president, noted poetically that the renamed Society of American Etchers, Gravers, Lithographers and Woodcutters, “rose phoenixlike from the ashes of the old.” These various special sections covered trends and exhibitions in the printmaking world and reviewed new print publications. Sheet: 42.8 x 61 cm (16 7/8 x 24 in.) Yale University Art Gallery, Anonymous Purchase Fund, 1977.10.7 Image courtesy Yale University Art Gallery Art courtesy of the Estate of the Artist and The Susan Teller Gallery, NY, NY.
Even though these magazines sometimes covered print news within the 57th Street gallery reviews, the print sections effectively segregated avant-garde graphic arts from mainstream modernism. Seizing on the opportunities that this explosion of postwar printmaking offered, women artists capitalized on prints' portability by sending their graphic work throughout the United States.
1947–48 mark watershed years, after which avant-garde printmakers found widespread acceptance for their graphic work in America and internationally.
The decision of Stanley William Hayter (1901–1988), Atelier 17's founder, to relocate the studio to New York City in 1940 from its first home in Paris certainly paved the way for modern printmaking's growth in America.
More importantly, Mo MA's 1944 exhibition confirmed the workshop's status as a central hub of abstract printmaking.
Atelier 17 became known as the foremostplace worldwide to learn experimental printmaking, and the number of artists training there increased substantially.
Following the travels of six artists—Minna Citron (1896–1991), Worden Day (1912–1986), Sue Fuller (1914–2006), Jan Gelb (1906–1978), Alice Trumbull Mason, and Anne Ryan (1889–1954)—the discussion will center on several aspects of prints' circulation: peer-to-peer relationships, printmaking annuals, traveling exhibitions, museum collecting, and artists' groups that supported avant-garde printmaking. Viewshare map showing six locations of Alice Trumbull Mason's traveling etching show (1951-2).
The number in the location bubble represents the number of prints shown at each venue.
Alice Trumbull Mason, Interference of Closed Forms (1945) Engraving and etching (soft ground) with gouging.
Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art Art © Estate of Alice Trumbull Mason/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.