Serigraphy: The Rise of Screenprinting in America

Sep 05, 2017 - Feb 11, 2018
Eisenberg Gallery

During the 1930s, a group of artists employed by the Works Progress Administration began experimenting with the technique of screenprinting to produce works of art that would be accessible and affordable to the middle class. These works were called “serigraphs,” a term invented to distinguish this creative application of screenprinting from its traditional use for posters and commercial printing. This focused survey exhibition features prints by the original members of the WPA unit, including Anthony Velonis and Elizabeth Olds, as well as works by numerous other artists who rapidly took up this medium in the following decade. Encompassing portraits, still lifes, landscapes, city scenes, and abstract compositions, these prints showcase the diverse approaches of the artists and vividly demonstrate the remarkable flexibility of the medium, from mimicking the thick impasto of oil paintings to capturing the flowing lines of drawings or producing flat, crisp surfaces in eye-popping colors.

Organized by Nicole Simpson, Assistant Curator of Prints and Drawings

Hananiah Harari

Carnival, 1939

Color screenprint

7 × 9 1/16 in. (17.8 × 23 cm)

Collection Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers

Gift of Dr. David and Ruth Robinson Eisenberg

Photo Peter Jacobs