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Studio Window: The Prints of Grace Martin Taylor

Studio Window September 16 - December 19, 2016


“Studio Window: The Prints of Grace Martin Taylor” in the Deem Print Gallery featured the complete collection of prints, including the important color woodblock prints, of West Virginia artist Grace Martin Taylor (1903-1995), one of America’s innovative printmakers of the 20th century.

Grace Martin Taylor was born near Morgantown and graduated from WVU before embarking on a career in art. She studied with her cousin, internationally known American modernist Blanche Lazzell, an early proponent of the white-line color woodblock print developed in Provincetown, Massachusetts, around 1914. The method for producing color prints using one wood block, rather than many, was adapted from Japanese color woodblock printing and produced luminous color prints.

“The Art Museum of WVU holds the only complete set of Grace Martin Taylor’s color woodblock and linoleum prints in a public collection,” said Art Museum Curator Robert Bridges. “The prints, along with many paintings and drawings donated by Taylor’s daughter, Lucie Mellert, offer a view of the range of this prolific artist, who contributed significantly to developments in modern art in West Virginia.

“This exhibition marked the first time that a complete set of Taylor’s white-line prints have been exhibited,” he said. “This was a rare opportunity to view more than 50 of the artist’s graphic works.”

Taylor studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts with Arthur Carles in the 1920s, and later with other prestigious artists such as Hans Hofmann and Emil Bisttram. She created art and studied in Provincetown for 28 summers.

Taylor also dedicated her life to teaching art in West Virginia for 40 years at what is now the University of Charleston, where she promoted modern art and abstraction.

“When Grace Martin Taylor died in 1995, she left behind a large body of work created over a long career. Now, thanks to the generosity of her daughter, Lucie Mellert, Taylor’s art will be available to a broad public audience,” said Art Museum Director Joyce Ice.

Since her death, Taylor’s art has been exhibited widely, most notably at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Academy of Design, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the British Museum.

Studio Window: The Prints of Grace Martin Taylor was organized by Art Museum of WVU Curator Robert Bridges. The exhibition has been made possible in part with funding from the Friends of the Art Museum of WVU.