International Artists

While the International Exhibition of Northwest Printmakers quickly drew the attention of national and international artists--even Pablo Picasso's linoleum cut, "Femme a la Guitare," was submitted to the Fourth Annual Exhibition of the Northwest Printmakers in 1932--many of the international participants in the early exhibition years were largely from a handful of countries: Canada, England, France, Japan, and Mexico. In the 1950s, the field became a bit wider when artists from Austria and Panama were included.

In the late summer of 1958, according to correspondence and telegrams, William Mair, president of the Northwest Printmakers Society, contacted numerous embassies in Washington to inquire about potential participation of international artists in the upcoming Northwest Printmakers 30th International Exhibition.[1] According to the initial letters sent to the various embassies in Washington D.C., the Northwest Printmakers Society invited artists from twenty-five countries to participate in the 30th exhibition and asked embassies to furnish them with one or two names of their country's "most distinguished contemporary graphic artists."[2] Embassies that were contacted by the Society included Poland, Australia, Switzerland, Argentina, Colombia, Japan, Philippines, Greece, among many others.[3] Many embassies responded directly with names of suggested printmakers or included the contact information of organizations that would be able to better suggest appropriate artists.[4] Indeed, the checklist for the 30th annual exhibition held in 1959 includes a notable and diverse collection of international artists. Some international artists that participated in the 30th exhibition and were included as suggestions from their respective U.S. embassies: Jacob Steinhardt from Israel, Aarne Aho from Finland, Hector Barnabo from Brazil, and Bozidar Jakac from Yugoslavia.

Following the Northwest Printmakers 30th International Exhibition, there continued to be a more diverse array of international artists in the later exhibitions, but the 30th annual exhibition was notable in the amount and variance of international artists it included in comparison to other years, due to the Northwest Printmakers Society's proactive efforts to include international artists.

Checklist for the Thirtieth Annual Exhibition of the Northwest Printmakers, held at the Seattle Art Museum from February 11 - March 1, 1959. The exhibit featured a diverse array of international artists due to the Printmakers Society's proactivity in seeking international artists that year.

[1] William Mair letters to US Embassies, 1958, Northwest Printmakers Records 1929-1970 (Box 1, Folder 15), University of Washington Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

International Artists