Mauricio Lasansky
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Mauricio Leib Lasansky (October 12, 1914 – April 2, 2012) was an Argentine artist and educator known both for his advanced techniques in
intaglio Intaglio, the process of cutting a design into a surface, may refer to: * Intaglio, a type of engraved gem or metal signet ring * Intaglio (printmaking), a group of printmaking techniques, including engraving and etching * Intaglio (rock art) * Inta ...
printmaking , ''Self-portrait'', etching, c.1630 Printmaking is the process of creating work of art, artworks by printing, normally on paper, but also on fabric, wood, metal, and other surfaces. "Traditional printmaking" normally covers only the process of ...
and for a series of 33 pencil drawings from the 1960s titled "The Nazi Drawings." Lasansky, who migrated to and became a citizen of the United States, established the school of printmaking at the
University of Iowa The University of Iowa (UI, U of I, UIowa, or simply Iowa) is a public university, public research university in Iowa City, Iowa. Founded in 1847, it is the oldest and the second-largest university in the state. The University of Iowa is organiz ...
, which offered the first Master of Fine Arts program in the field in the United States.
Sotheby's Sotheby's () is a British-founded American multinational corporation with headquarters in New York City. It is one of the world's largest brokers of fine art, fine and decorative art, jewellery, and collectibles. It has 80 locations in 40 countr ...

Sotheby's
identifies him as one of the fathers of modern printmaking.


Biography

The son of
Eastern European Jews The expression 'Eastern European Jewry' has two meanings. The first meaning refers to the current political spheres of the Eastern European countries and the second refers to the Jewish communities in Russia and Poland. The phrase 'Eastern Europea ...
, Lasansky was born on 12 October 1914 in
Buenos Aires Buenos Aires ( or ; ), officially Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Argentina. The city is located on the western shore of the Río de la Plata, on South America, South America's southeastern coas ...

Buenos Aires
. He studied printmaking and engraving from his
Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Pol ...
father, who had made a living in those fields. He displayed early promise, showing favorably at the Mutulidad Fine Arts Exhibition with an honorable mention at 16 and a prize at 17 for sculpture. He entered the Superior School of Fine Arts in his hometown in 1933. Three years later, Lasansky began his career as director of the Free Fine Arts School in , Argentina. Through school and the decade he held this directorship, he exhibited extensively, culminating in a solo retrospective exhibition at the Galleria Muller in Buenos Aires in 1943. Lasansky relocated to
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from , or NYC for short, is the in the United States. With a 2020 population of 8,804,190 distributed over , New York City is also the major city in the United States. Located at the s ...

New York City
in 1943 on the first of five Guggenheim Fellowships and chose to remain in and become a citizen of the United States for political reasons in spite of a lack of financial resources and challenges with the English language. In 1945, he took his first position at the University of Iowa, as a visiting lecturer for graphic arts. Within three years, he would become a full professor and ultimately would establish its school of printmaking, offering the first Master of Fine Arts program in the field in the United States. In the 1960s, ''Time'' magazine dubbed him "the nation's most influential printmaker." He remained with the program until his retirement in 1984, whereafter he continued as a practicing artist. Susan Hale Kemenyffy was among his pupils. Lasansky wed in 1937, bringing his family with him to the United States at the time of his second Guggenheim Fellowship, in 1944.


Work

Lasansky's work in his Argentinian period was primarily drypoint, with additional forays in
etching , who is believed to have been the first to apply the technique to printmaking. '', an etching by Rembrandt Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (, also , ; 15 July 1606 – 4 October 1669) was a Dutch Drawing, draughtsman, painter, and printmak ...
,
relief etching , who is believed to have been the first to apply the technique to printmaking. '', an etching by Rembrandt (c. 1648). Rembrandt is generally considered the greatest etcher in the history of the medium (as an art in its own right). His most im ...
and linoleum cut. Lacking exposure to other printmakers, he developed innovative approaches to copper plate printmaking. He dedicated his first several months in the United States to studying the extensive print collection of the
Metropolitan Museum of Art The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from , or NYC for short, is the in the United States. With a 2020 population of 8,804,190 distributed over , New York City is also ...

Metropolitan Museum of Art
, experimenting with modern art techniques in his own work at
Atelier 17 Atelier 17 was an art school and studio that was influential in the teaching and promotion of printmaking , ''Self-portrait'', etching, c.1630 Printmaking is the process of creating work of art, artworks by printing, normally on paper, but als ...
in New York, absorbing techniques in intaglio and investigating particularly the work of
Picasso Pablo Ruiz Picasso (25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973) was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist and Scenic design, theatre designer who spent most of his adult life in France. Regarded as one of the most influential artists of ...

Picasso
, who was a major influence. Other influences cited include
El Greco Domḗnikos Theotokópoulos ( el, Δομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος ; 1 October 1541 7 April 1614), most widely known as El Greco ("The Greek"), was a Greeks, Greek painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissanc ...
,
Goya Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (; ; 30 March 174616 April 1828) was a Spanish romantic Romantic may refer to: Genres and eras * The Romantic era, an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement of the 18th and 19th centuries ...
, Modigliani,
Chagall Marc Chagall; russian: Марк Заха́рович Шага́л ; be, Марк Захаравіч Шагал . (born Moishe Shagal; 28 March 1985) was a Russian-French artist of Belarusian Jewish origin. An early modernist , Solomon Gugg ...
and
Stanley William Hayter Stanley William Hayter (27 December 1901 – 4 May 1988) was an English painter and printmaking, printmaker associated in the 1930s with surrealism and from 1940 onward with abstract expressionism. Regarded as one of the most significant printma ...
. He was an innovator in the creation of large metal-plate artwork, sometimes combining more than 50 plates to produce a single image. In addition to his printmaking, Lasansky is known for the series "The Nazi Drawings". Produced between 1961 and 1966, these 33 drawings were inspired by what Lasansky described as the "unleashing of brutality" of the
Holocaust The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the genocide Genocide is the intentional action to destroy a people—usually defined as an ethnic, national, racial, or religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural syst ...
. The series was first exhibited in the
Whitney Museum of Art The Whitney Museum of American Art, known informally as the "Whitney", is an art museum in Manhattan. It was founded in 1930 by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875–1942), a wealthy and prominent American socialite and art patron after whom it is n ...
for its opening in 1967. The drawings, on regular paper with graphite pencil and watercolor washes meant to suggest blood, portrayed the victims and perpetrators of the atrocities of the Holocaust, but also the bystanders, whom Lasansky felt strongly bore a share of responsibility. As of Lasansky's death in 2012, the images were on exhibit at the University of Iowa Museum as a long-term loan.


Honors and recognition

* 1943: Guggenheim Fellowship * 1944: Guggenheim Fellowship * 1945: Guggenheim Fellowship * 1953: Guggenheim Fellowship * 1959:
Honorary Doctorate An honorary degree is an academic degree An academic degree is a qualification awarded to students upon successful completion of a course of study in higher education Higher education is tertiary education leading to award of an academic d ...
, Iowa Wesley College * 1963: Guggenheim Fellowship * 1969: Honorary Doctorate,
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Pacific Lutheran University
* 1979: Honorary Doctorate,
Carleton College Carleton College ( ) is a private liberal arts college A liberal arts college or liberal arts institution of higher education is a college A college (Latin: ''collegium'') is an educational institution or a University system, constituent ...
* 1980: Distinguished Teaching of Art Award,
College Art Association The College Art Association of America (CAA) is the principal organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British English spelling differences#-ise, -ize (-isati ...
* 1983: Honorary Award in Arts & Humanities, Commission for the Aging * 1985: Honorary Doctorate,
Coe College Coe College is a private Liberal arts colleges in the United States, liberal arts college in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Founded in 1851, the institution is historically affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). It is a member of the Associated Co ...
* 1990: Academician, National Academy of Arts & Design, New York * 1999: Iowa Award, 14th Recipient


References


External links


The Nazi Drawings Online
*
Inside the Image
', documentary biography by the University of Iowa {{DEFAULTSORT:Lasansky, Mauricio 1914 births 2012 deaths American people of Argentine-Jewish descent American printmakers Argentine emigrants to the United States Argentine Jews Argentine people of Polish-Jewish descent Argentine printmakers Artists from Buenos Aires Modern printmakers University of Iowa faculty