As a collector of American Prints of the 20's, 30's, and 40's, I founded the Amity Art Foundation, Inc. to promote, encourage, and support the traditions of printmaking during that era. It was founded less out of nostalgia than a firm conviction that traditional printmaking and the philosophies it manifests were not only worth preserving but also provide an important contribution to contemporary art.
Traditional printmaking from that period was populist in outlook; using art to share ideas, emotions, and beauty. The traditional printmakers made original fine art accessible and affordable to the public. The desire to communicate a message and illuminate social problems made editioning necessary and vital to the printmaker. It is these ideals and goals the Foundation wants to preserve; the inclusive, accessible and social nature of traditional printmaking.
A print of that period was a combination of great art and great craftsmanship. The artist needed to know how to draw, have good line and form, possess dedication in order to spend long hours if necessary to produce a plate, be it metal, stone or wood and exercise the fortitude to produce the work in editions of 25 to 100.
The programs the Foundation will support are dedicated to the printmaker and not necessarily the print. We will encourage and support the human spirit of the traditional printmaker by encouraging the artists of today to embrace that spirit and share their art with the world through the traditional print methods.
John A. Stewart