For the past decade, Vertu Fine Art has focused on increasing appreciation for and education about Fine Art Prints. The success of the VFA Gallery is a testament to the interest that prints have garnered and the outstanding knowledge of our clientele.

A current show at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin pays tribute to the Fine Art Print and to the extraordinary man whose collection celebrates this great art form.

After Michelangelo, Past Picasso: Leo Steinberg’s Library of Prints is an exhibit of part of the private collection of 3,200 prints that Steinberg donated to the University of Texas at Austin after teaching at the College of Fine Arts. The collection, valued at $3.5 million, ranges from prints by Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Goya to ones by Matisse, Picasso and Jasper Johns.

The New York Times called Steinberg, “one of the most brilliant, influential and controversial art historians of the last half of the 20th century” and “an inspirational lecturer, a writer of striking eloquence and an adventurous scholar and critic who loved to challenge the art world’s reigning orthodoxies.”

In the 1960s, Steinberg began collecting fine art prints which, in those days, often sold for pennies, and which he  could afford on a college professor’s salary. Although his passion was European prints made between 1500 and 1800, Steinberg’s collection was very broad. He scoured the bookstores, antique dealers, and frame shops in New York, London and Paris, sometimes paying only pennies for astounding finds that included woodcuts, engravings, etchings and lithographs.

Steinberg’s teaching and writings inspired, not only mid-century ideas about art, but inspired artists like Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg to reimagine printmaking.

By the mid-1970s, Fine Art Prints began to gain the respect they deserved from museums and galleries. Artists like Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, David Hockney and Helen Frankenthaler worked with master printer Kenneth Tyler until Tyler’s retirement.

The prints of Alex Katz are some of the most sophisticated and masterly, which is why we chose one of his masterworks to grace the cover of our free ebook: How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints.

One of our favorite contemporary artists, Jonas Wood, has set up a press in his studio and has been creating lithographs and screenprints.

The art of the woodcut, which has been around since the Han Dynasty, before 220, is still being used by modern artists  as diverse as Yue Minjun and Jim Dine.

At VFA, we will continue to pay tribute to the Fine Art Print and the artists who create them.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the Fine Art Prints available at VFA.


References:
Lauren Moya Ford. How Leo Steinberg Saw the Profound Importance of Prints Before Most. Hyperalleric. February 15, 2021.
Taylor Defoe. A New Show of Leo Steinberg’s Print Collection Reveals the Critic’s Deep Appreciation for the Medium’s ‘Circulating Lifeblood of Ideas’. artnet news. February 8, 2021.
Nancy Kenny. Unorthodox preacher: Leo Steinberg’s prints helped explore and explain his sometimes controversial theories. The Art Newspaper. February 5, 2021.
Ken Johnson. Leo Steinberg, Art Historian, Dies at 90. The New York Times. March 14, 2011.
Blair Asbury Brooks. What Did Leo Steinberg Do? A Guide to Understanding the Brilliant Art Historian of “Other Criteria”. Artspace. September 2, 2014.