San Francisco

Prints at “Arts of San Francisco”

San Francisco Museum of Art, Civic Center

Color prints have come a long way since the turn of the century, and this group of San Francisco artists presents a further extension of the possibilities of printmaking. “Graphic art of fine prints belong to the multi-original works of art. A particular painting exists in only one original; but a particular print may exist in a dozen to several hundred originals, each as fine as the others.” So says the Print Council of America—but this is strange reasoning. How can there be more than one “original?” Would the original be the first pull, or the plate itself? Artists debate this rather heatedly, depending upon how serious they are about the word “original” and how deeply they are involved in printing. My stand is that the print itself is not an original, and when I face this fact I find that prints, as such, can be fascinating—particularly when they deal with experimental techniques. The San Francisco exhibit is made up of etchings and engravings by Dennis Beall, color wood-cuts by Lilian Delevoryas, lithographs by Richard Graf, color intaglio work by John L. Ihle and color etchings by Karl Kasten. Ihle and Kasten explore texture and format in their little medallion-like prints: Kasten with brilliant color, Ihle with a sort of tooled-leather surface.

E. M. Polley