The Fine Print Collections include a rich diversity of artists’ prints by both renowned and emerging creators working from the 15th century to the present day. Topical strengths across the collection, inspired by both real and imagined subjects and ideas, include portraits, landscapes, still lifes, city views, genre scenes, architecture, decoration, design, war, politics, and historical, religious, mythological, allegorical, and other kinds of narrative subjects as well as figurative and abstract works.
The artworks reflects a wide variety of creative and intellectual movements, schools and collectives, and aesthetic styles. Selected examples include:
Researchers can also study such printmaking techniques as woodcut, linocut, letterpress, wood engraving, collagraph, engraving, etching, drypoint, aquatint, mezzotint, monoprint, monotype, lithography, letterpress, pochoir, screenprint, linocut, inkjet, risograph, non-reproductive digital works, etc. Single-sheet works on paper, standalone or in series, are most common in the collection. There are also some prints in bound forms (see Related Resources to learn more about collections of prints in books, albums, portfolios, etc.). Modern to contemporary prints in the collection are generally in excellent to pristine condition, while impressions from the Early Modern period can vary in quality and condition. Studying variant impressions, both at the Library and in other public collections, as well as variant and progressive proofs and editions, matrixes, copies, restrikes, etc., affords opportunities for teaching and connoisseurship and clues about market popularity, sales and publishing histories, technical developments, trajectories of influence, etc.
The collection is international in scope with strongest representation for American and European artists, along with substantial holdings of prints by Japanese and Mexican creators. 20th to 21st century regional American printmaking collectives are well-represented by prints created in workshops, studios, and publishers by a variety of national and international artists, often working in collaboration with master printers. The following examples include collectives based in California, Colorado, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Mexico's influential Taller de Gráfica Popular is notable among international examples of printmaking collectives in the collection.