Issuu on Google+







SOME NOTES ON COLLECTING PRINTS Anything passes for art if the artist declares it is art. In the artist's quest for originality and meaning, his work

may range from the ridiculous to

the sublime.

We call it sublime when we look

at it and say: "This is good - this is really good." Good art has an effect that defies analysis; the source of that feeling must be in our psyche. Some art has only a passing appeal, while some has appeal for centuries.

The art of collecting is

based on recognizing the difference.


We began collecting bought

prints in 1964, when we

Pisa, a colored woodcut by Irving Amen,

from a traveling salesman for the Ferdinand Roten Galleries of Baltimore, Maryland.

We knew

nothing about the artist, nor did we know what a colored woodcut

was, but we knew that we

liked it, and we still do.

We also knew that it

was an original print, which means that an art-


ist created the image and approved the printing process.

We found prints more approachable

and intimate than oil paintings.

You can hold a

print in your hand and look carefully at each line and space; you can see more clearly what the artist is trying to say. We were also pleased to learn that while oil paintings by famous artists 4

were very expensive,

prints on paper by the

same artist,

even Rembrandt,



tively affordable.

painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.


Germany was defeated in the First World War, German Expressionists developed a pessimistic,

Since that time we have learned about the vari-

bleak, and sharp edged kind of art, but America,

ous processes that have been invented for making


prints on paper. We have marveled at the creativ-

the arts and sciences. Along the way we learned

ity and skill artists show in creating engravings and

about the various artistic movements,


ing from the two-dimensional


and mezzotints,


and triumphant,


wood engravings, lithographs, and screen prints.

teenth century woodcut

We learned about paper making and its evolution

We were learning art history.

in all of


flatness of the fif-

to Cubism and beyond.

through the ages, and the need to prevent acidic materials, such as wood

pulp paper, wood,


We began to send for sales catalogues issued by

tapes, from having contact with

several reputable art dealers in this country; we

works of art on paper. We learned how experts

subscribed to several art magazines and to auc-

can authenticate

tion catalogues issued by Sotheby's and Chris-

various kinds of

prints by determining

the paper, the watermarks,

the age of

the signature on the

print, and by consulting a catalogue raisonne.


The catalogues not only showed a small

illustration description

of the image but also gave a detailed of the condition

of the print and its

Eager to learn more about the source of artistic

artistic context.

inspiration, we found a relationship

to be honest and dependable


of historical events and the produc-

tion of works

of art.

We found that the work

of Dutch masters like Rembrandt, van Ostade corresponded Netherlands from

Lievens, and

with prosperity

in the

after Holland won its independence

Spain and navigational


between the


gave Dutch

instruments seamen


We found both of these houses in their descrip-

We did not hesitate to make bids by mail

or telephone for items offered in New York City or Los Angeles.

In addition to auction purchas-

es, we bought from several dependable private galleries.


an advan-

We had only one strict

rule in collecting:

tage over their competitors.

When Pope [ulius

both had to approve of the purchase.

II expanded papal territories,


helped to create



This rule

a balance in the things we

chose. We continued buying prints on a regular basis, trying to get examples of outstanding work produced over a period from the fifteenth to the twentieth century. By the time we had accumulated about eight hundred prints, we had an interesting and eclectic collection.

When you own a print, you become responsi-


ble for its preservation. We believe that it is the owner's responsibility to protect the prints so that they will be available for the enjoyment and education of future generations. A Rembrandt etching may be nearly four centuries old and a Durer woodcut may be five centuries old. Pres-


ervation consists of maintaining these works of art in an acid free environment, avoiding exposure to bright light and especially to ultraviolet light and direct hand contact (wear cotton gloves when handling them), controlling temperature and humidity, and storing them in dust resistant acid free museum boxes. You must insure them


againstfire, theft, and water damage.

We also kept a record of all data we could find relating to our prints, so that the future owner would have full knowledge of the print's provenance. If you think raising children is a job, try taking proper care of a print collection! And just asone cannot select a favorite from among one's


children, it has been just as difficult to select "our favorites"

from our print collection

for this ex-


We enjoyed looking at our prints, and we wanted to share that pleasure with others, especially 9

with art students. lection

The logical place for the col-

was Gonzaga University,

to which


gave a substantial number in 1984. At that time the display and storage areas were in the Ad Gallery, located in the basement of the Adrninistration Building.

This was not a good venue, but il

was the best Gonzaga had at that time. 10 After a generous gift by Jim and Joann Jundt, the University constructed

the Jundt Art Museum, a

state of the art facility for the conservation


display of art. We were then pleased to give an additional gift from our collection the remainder of our collection

in 1995, and II

in 2003. Others

have also made gifts to the Museum, creating a wealth of examples illustrating various phases of graphic art as it developed

over the centuries.

With J. Scott Patnode as Director, we know that the collection will be properly cared for and that it is being used for the purposes we intended for art students to study and for the community to enjoy. Dr. Norman and Esther Bolker Donors and Guest Curators



Ben Shahn (American.

1898-1969) Distressed Man Study. circa 1963. ink drawing. I I 5/8"x 6 314". 1984.5.249 2. Childe Hassam (American, 1859-1935) Walt Whitman's Birthplace. 1927. etching. 4 112"x 6 112". 1995.22.37 3. Pablo Picasso (Spanish. 1881-1973) Young Woman, for the centenary of Mourlot, 1949 (pub.1953), lithograph and chine colle, 15 5/8"x I I 314". 1995.22.87 4. Jan Lievens (Dutch. 1607-1674) St. Anthony, 1665, etching, 9 5/8"x 8". 2003.29.20 5. Erich Heckel (German 1883-1970) Young Girl, from Genius 2, No. I, 1913 (pub. 1920), woodcut, 10 3/ 16"x 6 I 1/16". 1995.22.39 6. Reginald Marsh (American, 1898-1954) Bread Line - No One Has Starved, 1932 (1969 Whitney Museum of American Art edition), 6 1/4"x I I 314". 1984.5.196 7. Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (Dutch, 1606-1669) Jan Lutma the Elder. Goldsmith, 1656, etching and drypoint, 7 3I4"x 5 7/8". 2003.29.30 8. Peter Hurd (American, 1904-1984) Dark Mountain, circa 1960, watercolor, 13 112"x 19314". 1984.5.152 9. Max Pechstein (German, 1881-1955) Mannerkopf (Self-Portrait), 1918, drypoint, 6 7/8"x 5 3/8". 2003.29.26 I O. Irving Amen (American, b. 1918) Pisa, 1958, woodcut, 16"x 20 112". 1995.22.2 I I. Kathe Kollwitz (German, 1867-1945) Greeting, 1892, etching, 4 9/16"x 3 7/16". 1995.22.52 12. John Steuart Curry (American, 1897-1946) John Brown, 1939, lithograph, 14 3/8"x 107/8". 1984.5.64 (Cover) Stanley William Hayter (English, 1901-1988) Danae, 1954, engraving, etching, soft-ground, scorper, and stencil, 16 3/16"x 12". 1984.5.134 The above artworks Esther Bolker. 750 prints,

were gifts to the permanent

They established


specific artwork



art collection

of Gonzaga University

The Balker Collection in 1984. The collection and books.

The catalogue




by Dr. Norman

consists of nearly

the dimensions

the year of the donation.

This publication was funded by the Jundt Art Museum's

Annual Campaign 2004-2005.

Š Jundt Art Museum, Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA 99258-000 I


of the

The Bolker Collection: Collector's Choice