20th Century Nebraska Printmakers

January 8 – March 12, 2008

A large survey of etchings, lithographs, woodcuts, and other print forms, selected from the Museum of Nebraska Art’s collection, is exhibited with several borrowed works to highlight a century of printmaking in Nebraska. Favorite and notable artists from the collection include John Falter, Karen Kunc, Turner McGehee, and Rudy Pozzatti. Invited artists are Gary Day, Victoria Goro-Rapoport, and Francisco Souto. Chronologically showcased, this exhibition displays traditional imagery and techniques from the early 20th century to some of the most innovative printmaking at the close. Diversity in content and process is prevalent, showing the changes that occurred during the 100 years.

Rudy Pozzatti and Karen Kunc are both influential national and international printmakers who exemplify the impressive work created by artists with ties to Nebraska. Rudy Pozzatti, born in Telluride, Colorado in 1925, taught at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from 1950 to 1956. While in Nebraska, Pozzatti worked with fellow printmakers Jeanne Herron Richards and Freda Spaulding, who are also represented with work in this exhibition. Pozzatti’s printmaking is bold, gestural, and expressive with recurrent themes of flora and fauna, politics and power, religion and spirituality, reflecting his many travels to Italy and throughout the world. In 1956, Pozzatti was recruited to teach at Indiana University in Bloomington where he founded Echo Press. Lasting 16 years, it was a high-level workshop that admitted only eight to twelve students each year who worked alongside well-established professional artists. Throughout his career, Pozzatti has been a visiting artist at 22 universities in North America and has had over 150 one-person exhibitions at such major museums as The Art Institute of Chicago and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. His work is represented in more than 200 public collections worldwide ranging from the Museum of Modern Art in New York City to the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, Russia. He has received many honors and commissions including a Nebraska Governor’s Arts Award in 1981.

A Nebraska native, Karen Kunc is a Professor of Art at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who is particularly known for her expertise in woodcuts. Instantly recognizable, Kunc’s small- to large-scale prints are often bold, colorful, and dynamic but equally soft, subtle, and quietly resonant with their varying shapes and patterns that find influence in sights, sounds, and movements of nature. She received her Bachelor of Fine Art degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1975 followed by a Master of Fine Arts from The Ohio State University, Columbus, in 1977. After teaching printmaking at Columbus College of Art and Design, Ohio, from 1978 to 1983, she joined the art faculty at her undergraduate alma mater. While at UNL, she has also served as a visiting faculty member at such institutions as the University of California, Berkeley; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and as a Guest Professor at Icelandic College of Art and Crafts, Reykjavik. Kunc’s work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York City; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England; and the Philadelphia Art Museum, Pennsylvania.

Other artists included in 20th Century Nebraska Printmakers range from less familiar names such as Alice Louise McCoun, Pearl Love Miller, and Harald Salberg to Regionalists who worked in the print medium: Thomas Hart Benton, Dale Nichols, and Aaron Gunn Pyle. Together, all the artists and the prints they create document the enormous variety within the printmaking medium.