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Colby-Sawyer Exhibits 16th to 20th Century Master Prints and Selected Works from the Susan C. Harp Collection for Graphic Design

NEW LONDON, N.H., Sept. 17, 2010 – The Colby-Sawyer College Department of Fine and Performing Arts will present an exhibition of extraordinary prints by master artists of the 16th to the 20th century, including Dürer, Rembrandt, Kandinsky and Hiroshige, and selected works from the Susan C. Harp Collection for Graphic Design.

The exhibition of “Master Prints from the Permanent Collection” and “Selected Works from the Susan C. Harp Collection for Graphic Design” will open on Thursday, Sept. 23, and continue until Saturday, Oct. 23, in the Marian Graves Mugar Art Gallery at the Sawyer Fine Arts Center.

The Opening Reception will be held Friday, Oct. 1, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Sawyer Center Lobby Art Gallery. Admission is free and everyone is welcome to attend. A lecture on the history and significance of these works, titled “You Found What in the Basement?: Rediscovering Colby-Sawyer's Print Collection,” will be presented by Brian Clancy, assistant professor of art and architectural history in the Fine and Performing Arts Department, on Saturday, Oct. 2, from 2 to 3 p.m., and again on Tuesday, Oct. 5, from 12 to 1 p.m. in the art gallery. This event is also free and open to the public.

With nearly 400 works of art and other objects, Colby-Sawyer's Permanent Collection offers a rich survey of art history from 1500 to the present in Europe, the United States and Japan. The collection consists almost entirely of original prints and other works on paper, including works by many of the preeminent artists of the last four centuries.

The 70 master prints selected for the exhibition are among the finest works in the Permanent Collection from each of five different chronological and cultural periods, according to curator Brian Clancy, assistant professor of art history and chair of Fine and Performing Arts at Colby-Sawyer. The first great age of printmaking in Europe, from the 16th through 18th centuries, is represented by the works of artists such as Lucas Cranach, Rembrandt van Rijn and Giovanni Battista Piranesi, and also includes four images by German master Albrecht Dürer. The so-called “etching revival” in 19th-century Britain and France appears in works by Jean-François Millet, Alphonse Legros, Sir Francis Seymour Haden and Félix Buhot.

Georges Rouault, Wassily Kandinsky, Marcel Duchamp and others provocatively illustrate the diverse expressions within the European avant-garde of the early 20th century. Prints by Martin Lewis, Fiske Boyd and John Taylor Arms demonstrate the variety of artistic production in the United States during the first half of the 20th century. Additionally, a colorful group of Japanese woodblock prints in the exhibition evokes the pre-Meiji “floating world” and its legacy in works by Kitagawa Utamaro, Utagawa Hiroshige and Katsushika Hokusai.

Describing the college's Permanent Collection as a “little known but rich historical and artistic resource,” Professor Clancy says the exhibition introduces the community to the fundamental processes of printmaking and its place in the history of art and seeks to raise awareness of the collection and the role of visual literacy and culture in a liberal arts environment. “In the future we hope that students, faculty and even visiting scholars might use the collection more effectively in their work and curriculum,” he explains.

The Susan C. Harp Collection for Graphic Design, also part of the college's Permanent Collection, features works by members of the Harp family of Hanover, N.H., along with pieces by their friends and design colleagues Tom Geismar, Fred Troller, Kate Siepmann, Chuck Gibson, Ann Harakawa and Anne Chesnut. The exhibition will feature a variety of pieces from the collection, including design posters, art books and logos, and the entire bid book for the 2012 Olympic Games in New York City.

The collection is named for Susan C. Harp, who died on March 15, 2006, after a courageous battle with cancer. Susan and Douglas Harp were longtime friends of Colby-Sawyer College; over a period of several years, Douglas taught graphic design at the college and both he and Susan judged the graphic design student entries submitted for entry into Print magazine's International Cover Design Competition. Their design firm, Harp and Company, has continually mentored Colby-Sawyer's young designers during internship opportunities.

“The Harps' insight and understanding of the power of graphic design has contributed greatly to our students' success,” says Professor of Fine and Performing Arts and Art Gallery Director Loretta Barnett. “In keeping with the department's philosophy that graphic design is an art form, we established this collection to complement our larger permanent collection, and to serve as a lasting reminder of the power of creativity.”

Colby-Sawyer College hosts a wide variety of educational and cultural events that are open to the public. For more information about the Artist and Scholar Series and other upcoming events, please visit

-Kimberly Swick Slover

Colby-Sawyer College is a comprehensive college that integrates the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation. Founded in 1837, Colby-Sawyer is located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire. Learn more about the college's vibrant teaching and learning community at

Colby-Sawyer College, 541 Main Street, New London, N.H. 03257 (603) 526-3000