A Grand Dame of the Printing Arts

June 23rd, 2017 by Kate Nelson

Joining our friends group, the Palace Guard, carries perks. Among them: a series of field trips, including a September visit to an unknown gem of Santa Fe.

300-JackLemonJack Lemon (at left) founded Landfall Press in Chicago in 1970. Eleven years ago, he moved the operation here, carrying a legacy of working with international artists and fine stone lithography.

To better understand the role that lithographic images played in forming people’s opinions of the Civil War, Palace Press Director Tom Leech arranged a special tour and a demonstration on Landfall’s mammoth Marinoni Voirin press. (See a cool video here.)

With Meredith Davidson and Daniel Kosharek, Leech co-curated our exhibit, Fading Memories: Echoes of the Civil War. His portion explores how mass distribution of lithographic images shaped the opinions of a largely illiterate public. Pointing to Landfall’s precious stone bearing an image of Frederick Douglass, Leech noted that it was made by Louis Kurz of the Kurz and Allison publishing team.

“In our exhibit, The Fort Pillow Massacre is one outstanding example of their work,” he said. “These prints were sold to survivors and families as memorial pieces that glorified the war. Somewhere along the line, Kurz’s conscience got to him, and he included black soldiers in a way that was very honorable.”

Master printer Steve Campbell, Landfall’s director, described how artists use a type of crayon to draw on limestone and how printers then doctor it with gum Arabic, talc and nitric acid to ensure the ink sticks only to the artwork. The process turns even more magical when the artist creates similar stones for each color in the work and the printers align them perfectly.

300-Prints“You can then sand it off the stone and use it for another project. But not this one,” Campbell joked, as he pretended to hug the Douglass stone.

Over the years, Landfall has worked with artists like Judy Chicago, Christo, Claes Oldenburg, Dale Chihuly, Luis Jimenez, and more. Their Marinoni, made in France around 1860, purportedly printed works by Toulouse-Lautrec and Picasso.

The tour delighted attendees, including Sandee Rudnick, who said: “This is the most amazing place. I had no idea it existed in Santa Fe and to learn how they collaborate with the artists has been terrific fun.”

Want to join? Call (505) 982-6366, ext. 100, for details, or click here.

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