THE ARTIST AND THE PRINTER
The common link between the lithographs in this exhibition which date from 1966 to 1981, is the printer – Fred Genis. The partnership of artist and lithographic printer has a long and distinguished history. Associations such as those between the printer. Auguste Clot and the artists, Toulouse Lautrec. Bonnard and Vuillard were crucial to the development of colour printing in France at the end of the nineteenth century. It was Thomas Way the printer who introduced Whistler to the further possibilities of lithography while the unprecedented demands made by Picasso, on the Mourlot Workshop extended the recognized limits of the medium. A continuation of this tradition is seen in the work of the printer Fred Genis.
The group of works in this exhibition closely relates to his travels and his collaboration with various artists on three continents and in particular to his work during the late ‘sixties’, in the U.S lithographic workshops – a period now seen as marking a renaissance in lithography there. The works do not therefore constitute a history of lithography in the mid twentieth century, though examples by some of the greatest contemporary exponents of the art are represented and several key works of the period are included.
Rather less than half of Fred Genis’s total collection of printer’s proofs is shown in this exhibition. By custom the printer is given a proof of every edition he pulls. These are not trial proofs but are in all ways identical with, and taken at the same time as, the numbered edition. Some are given to the artist for his own keeping, and the printer’s proof is often personally a token perhaps of the close alliance which exists between the two after they have worked together through all the vicissitudes of creative processes. It is also a mark of their interdependence.
Genis trained at the Amsterdam Graphic school with an outstanding teacher, Mr Hafkamp, whose sound training gave him the skill and ability to deal with the many diverse printing problems he was subsequently to face. It is interesting that he sees his own development from those days as a soundly trained fine –art printer, whose first criterion was ‘to make a good print’ to one with an awareness of ‘what printing was rally about’ that is, a realization of the experimental nature of the craft. Genis says that it was U.L.A.E, working with Rauschenberg and Johns, and most particularly through Tatyana Grossman, that this realization dawned……………….
To read more of this article please contact Lois Genis at [email protected]
Written By Sonia Dean. The Artist and The Printer; Lithographs 1966-1987 – a collection of printers proofs Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria 1982.