Maine in America - Prints

The Farnsworth Museum houses more than 1700 etchings, woodcuts, lithographs, serigraphs, and monotypes. A distinctive feature of the collection is the 100-plus wood engravings and the boxwood blocks from which they were printed by Jonathan Fisher. A graduate of Harvard University in 1795 with a degree in divinity and a strong interest in art and mathematics, Fisher maintained a prolific output as a writer, linguist, inventor, architect, surveyor, farmer, naturalist, and artist in Bluehill, and his work at the Farnsworth provides a window to early nineteenth century settlement life of downeast Maine. The prints gathered in the early years of the Farnsworth reflect the interests of the museum’s first director, Boston architect Robert Peabody Bellows, who set a course for the Farnsworth’s emerging focus on American art and amassed 300 etchings, wood engravings and lithographs by prominent painter-printmakers James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Winslow Homer, John Marin, and George Bellows—as well as contemporary works by Thomas Hart Benton, Stow Wengenroth, Kevin O’Callahan, Frederico Castellon, Howard Cook, Kerr Eby, Waldo Peirce, and others. The collection has expanded over the years to include prints by John Sloan, Rockwell Kent, Marsden Hartley, Edward Hopper, William and Marguerite Zorach, Isabel Bishop, and Paul Cadmus. A complete set of the prints and original woodblocks of Caroll Thayer Berry, Leo Meissner and Pauline Inman, all of whom either lived or summered in Maine, are among those with regional appeal. Prints from the Farnsworth's contemporary holdings include etchings, lithographs, woodcuts and ink drawings made over three decades by sculptor-printmaker Leonard Baskin, a selection of intalgio prints by sculptor Louise Nevelson, who grew up in Rockland, and serigraphs by painter and sculptor Robert Indiana, who lives on Vinalhaven, an island off the coast of Rockland. Works by Vinalhaven Press artists Charlie Hewitt, Louisa Chase, Mel Chin, Susan Crile, Carolyn Brady and Robert Cummings are another component in the Farnsworth's collection of contemporary graphics.
   
George Bellows, A Stag at Sharkey's, 1917, lithograph, 20 x 25", museum purchase, 1946
George Bellows, A Stag at Sharkey's, 1917, lithograph, 20" x 25", museum purchase, 1946,