Art Abstracts: Warrington Colescott

Art Abstracts

With over 17,000 objects in the museum’s permanent collection, there are many amazing works that visitors rarely get to see. Take a peek into the vaults and off the walls each Monday with a new Art Abstract!

History of Printmaking: Ben Franklin at Versailles


Unsure of what to feature for today’s Art Abstract post, we turned to the “On This Day” website. Did you know that on May 23, 1785 Benjamin Franklin announced his invention of bifocals? Well, according to “On This Day,” he did. With this new information, we opened the museum’s collection database and searched “Ben Franklin” in the title section. This is what we found:


IMAGE CREDIT | Warrington Colescott (U.S., b. 1921) | History of Printmaking: Ben Franklin at Versailles, 1976 | Etching, 22 x 27 1/2 in. | Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Frederick P. Nause, 1978

Warrington Colescott is an American artist best known for his satirical etchings. The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art currently has five works by Colescott, including four prints from the History of Printmaking series. This series, which includes twenty-one intaglio prints, two lithographs, and a handful of watercolors and drawings, is perhaps Colescott’s best-known work. Through the series, Colescott shows us critical moments throughout the history of printmaking. He begins with historical fact and adds his own interpretation, often borrowing from the featured artist’s own style or themes.

If you want to see more of his History of Printmaking series, then check out this website where you can see more images from the series. And if you would like to learn more about the 95-year old artist, we recommend starting with this article from PBS NewsHour.

So, we started with bifocals and ended up with the history of printmaking, but we hope you enjoyed this interesting find from the permanent collection.


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