Tamarind Lithography Workshop

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A print studio dedicated to all aspects of fine art lithography and its dissemination. Founded in Los Angeles in 1960, Tamarind quickly became a leading force in the transformation of American printmaking. While contributing to a general revival in creative printmaking and to initiation of a flourishing print market, it more specifically spurred a renewal of fine art lithography, which had then languished for some time. At the end of its first decade, with a solid record of achievement in place and a new recognition of lithography's potential by then widespread, the workshop relocated to Albuquerque, where it continues to function as the Tamarind Institute under the auspices of the University of New Mexico. Tamarind's founder and guiding spirit, June Wayne (1918– ), persuaded the Ford Foundation to underwrite establishment of the workshop as a facility for technical research and creative development in lithography. To promote the medium's potential, Tamarind awarded fellowships to well-known printmakers and painters while also welcoming other guest artists. Along with several other printmaking ventures, it facilitated a significant shift from studio-based, hands-on practice among technically proficient intaglio or woodcut specialists to a system that allowed artists with little or no previous experience to produce prints with the assistance of in-house master printers. This development went hand in hand with an explosion in the demand for fine art prints. The lithographic technique, congenial to bold forms, bright colors, and relatively large scale, allowed abstract expressionist, color field, and pop artists to translate their styles into saleable printed form. Since the 1960s, it has become standard practice for nearly all major painters, as well as many sculptors, to include printmaking among their activities. To name only a few, the workshop's early artist-participants included Josef Albers, Richard Diebenkorn, Sam Francis, Antonio Frasconi, Misch Kohn, Reuben Nakian, Louise Nevelson, Nathan Oliveira, and Karl Schrag. Tamarind's success in nurturing a substantial body of high-quality work validated the Ford Foundation's decade of support and has allowed the successor Institute to continue an educational mission through university support, a patchwork of grants, and sales of lithographs.

A Chicago-born painter and tapestry designer, as well as printmaker, June Wayne left school at fifteen to become a painter. Remaining mostly self-taught as an artist, she nevertheless was exhibiting her work before she reached the age of twenty, when she was hired by a federal art project. In the late 1940s, while living in Los Angeles, she took up lithography with great enthusiasm, eventually becoming an expert technician. Her generally symbolic work, combining abstract and figurative elements as the occasion demands, draws inspiration from varied subjects, including perceptual effects, scientific knowledge, and many literary texts. She is also remembered for a classic feminist-era essay, “The Male Artist as Stereotypical Female,” published in 1973 in the Art Journal.

Painter and printmaker Clinton Adams (1918–2002) assisted Wayne in planning and implementing the Tamarind Workshop and remained closely involved with its progress, even after becoming a dean at the University of New Mexico in 1961. He served as the Tamarind Institute's director from 1970 until 1985, when he retired from the university. A native of Glendale, he graduated from nearby UCLA in 1940 and received a master's degree two years later. Following military service until 1946, he then taught at UCLA, the University of Kentucky in Lexington, and the University of Florida in Gainesville. His paintings and prints range from stylized representation to complete abstraction. In 1974 he founded a scholarly journal, The Tamarind Papers, which he continued to edit for many years. In addition, he published several books on topics related to printmaking, including two of particularly lasting importance, the authoritative Tamarind Book of Lithography: Art and Techniques (1971; with Garo Antreasian) and American Lithographers, 1900–1960: The Artists and Their Printers (1983).


Subjects: Art.

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