The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
In this text, author William Friedman analyzes the impact of Mauricio Lasansky—as artist and professor at the University of Iowa—in printmaking during the years 1946 to 1949. During this period, Lasansky and his students were the recipients of more than half the awards given in national juried print exhibitions. Friedman examines Lasansky’s teaching philosophy of treating students as mature artists, encouraging his students to draw inspiration from all sources, using a variety of means of expression, and exploring multiple techniques while maintaining high craftsmanship. The author underscores how these qualities and practices are in great evidence in Lasanky’s work. In particular, he looks at how in a period of only three years, Lasansky contributed to the elevation of intaglio as a major art form.
This essay by William Friedman originally appeared as the introduction to the catalog of the 1949 exhibition A New Direction in Intaglio, which traveled to the Walker Art Center, the Art Institute of Chicago, and to various venues in Britain under the auspices of the Arts Council of Great Britain. Considered one of the foremost figures in 20th-century printmaking in the United States, the Argentinean-born Lasansky moved to the United States after receiving a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1943. He worked in [Stanley William] Hayter’s Atelier 17 in New York, and in 1945 began teaching at the University of Iowa, where he established a printmaking program. He was a member of the Iowa Print Group, and trained generations of printmakers. Freidman’s enthusiasm for Lasansky and his success in training a talented new generation of printmakers in his program at the University of Iowa attest not only to Lasansky’s role within the revival of etching during the 1940s and 1950s in the United States, but also more generally, to the broader revival of printmaking during this period. Freidman ends his essay by calling on others to write accounts of new directions in “planography” and “serigraphy [silk-screen].”