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Iowa Print Group



The printmaking program has been an active component of the UI School of Art (later the School of Art and Art History) for many decades. It was initially established by Argentina-born artist Mauricio Lasansky. Lasansky came to the United States in 1943, with a Guggenheim Fellowship to study printmaking at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Printmaking was undergoing a significant renaissance at the time, with the emphasis shifting to new technical and stylistic approaches. During the 1940s, fresh spins on old techniques, especially involving intaglio, elevated the original handmade print to a new status that encouraged purchases by museums and private collectors. Lasansky, though experienced with a wide variety of printmaking techniques, was captivated by the intaglio process and dedicated his career as an artist and as a teacher to expanding the aesthetic possibilities of that technique. In 1943, Lasansky was hired as an art professor at the University of Iowa. He promised the departmental chair, Lester Longman, that if Longman would give him four years, he would make Iowa's printmaking program the best in the United States. Longman took Lasasnky up on the challenge. Through his New York connections, Lasansky was able to organize exhibits of his and his students' work at prestigious museums. When World War II ended, and masses of veterans began attending college under the G.I. Bill, many enrolling at Iowa signed up as printmaking majors. Many former students went on to establish similar programs and departments at other colleges and universities. This helped to further lift the stature of intaglio printmaking at schools and universities as well as at museums and galleries. The Iowa Print Group was, and is, notable for its commitment to active artistic practice. As Virginia Myers, one of Lasansky's students and later a professor herself in the IPG, put it, "The early successes of the Iowa art program depended entirely on this idea to hire active professional artists as faculty teachers." Lasansky was devoted to establishing a group ideal among his faculty artists and his students, understanding that any artistic movement depends on the work and inspiration supplied by many different creators. Hence, the designation of the department as the "Iowa Print Group". Lasansky retired as director of the IPG in 1985. He was succeeded by his student Keith Achepohl. Today, emphasis is placed on teaching students about significant historical print concepts and helping them discover new ways of adding to the printmaking tradition. Students also learn about artistic self-analysis through group and individual critiques. Required course work in intaglio and relief, lithography, monotype, paperworks, and foil-stamping is supplemented by annual seminars that focus on such topics as preparation for professional life, issues in print history, theory, and technical considerations. National and international visiting artists invited to the department bring diverse styles that complement the teaching and images done by the printmaking faculty. The University's tradition of exhibiting graduate work has led to prints in juried shows throughout the United States and abroad. Group exhibits of student work often are sent to other schools on an exchange basis. Faculty work is exhibited regularly in juried national and international exhibitions, and some are permanently placed in some of the world's major museums. The IPG is regularly ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the top printmaking department in the nation.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Iowa Print Group Records

Identifier: RG06.0007.002
Scope and Contents

This collection contains records from and relating to the Iowa Print Group - the renowned printmaking program within the University of Iowa's School of Art and Art History. Included in the collection are correspondence, documentation of departmental finances, records relating to the IPG's annual Travelling Show and other exhibitions, and IPG annual and biennial reports, among other materials.

Dates: 1947 - 2008