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Jerry Bywaters: Lone Star Printmaker


In May 1938, Bywaters was one of 16 Texas artists who formed their own printmakers' organization, the Lone Star Printmakers, which was loosely patterned on the Associated American Artists organization. The printmaking medium allowed Bywaters to produce multiple copies of his art and to further his campaign of regionalism by circulating his images to a wide audience.

"Jerry Bywaters: Lone Star Printmaker" delves into this facet of his art career, beginning with his lithographic drawing Lunch Table and the first lithograph he documented in his printmaking notebook, Gargantua, an image of the Lomax House in Denton, Texas. This launched a 13-year career in printmaking. Bywaters documented a total of 39 prints, all lithographs except for five color linoleum block prints, in his printmaking notebook between 1935 and 1948. This exhibition includes all 39 prints, on view for the first time. Supporting archival material illuminating the Dallas art scene during the 1930s, preliminary sketches for his prints, and pages from Bywaters' printmaking notebook will also be featured.

Bywaters frequently used the same image for both his prints and other works, including drawings, paintings, pastels and watercolors. He grouped his preferred images together and printed them at a later date when he had access to printing facilities. An example can be found with his 1939 lithograph In the Big Bend, in which Bywaters depicted the graceful lines of the yucca plant flowing into the harsh mountain ridges. In the same year he worked the image into his painting Century Plant, Big Bend. Since the painting will be part of the parallel exhibition "Jerry Bywaters: Interpreter of the Southwest," viewers may compare both the print and the painting side-by-side. Between the two exhibitions, visitors will be able to compare and contrast five examples of the artist's treatment of the same or similar subject matter with different media.


(above: Jerry Bywaters (1906-1989), Opera at Popular Prices, 1936, Transfer lithograph. Edition number:  6/30. Jerry Bywaters Collection of Art of the Southwest, Hamon Arts Library at SMU, JB.86.18)


(above: Jerry Bywaters (1906-1989), In the Big Bend, 1939, Lithograph. Edition number:  14/15. Jerry Bywaters Collection of Art of the Southwest, Hamon Arts Library at SMU, JB.86.30)


(above: Jerry Bywaters (1906-1989), House in Taos, 1939, Lithograph. Edition number: 24/24. Jerry Bywaters Collection of Art of the Southwest, Hamon Arts Library at SMU, JB.86.10)


(above: Jerry Bywaters (1906-1989), Mexican Graveyard - Terlingua, 1939, Lithograph. Edition number:  19/22. Jerry Bywaters Collection of Art of the Southwest, Hamon Arts Library at SMU, JB.86.16)


Exhibition catalogue

The accompanying publication, Jerry Bywaters - Lone Star Printmaker (A Study of his Print Notebook, with a Catalogue of his Prints and a Checklist of his Illustrations and Ephemeral Works), published by the SMU Press, is written by Ellen Buie Niewyk, curator of the Jerry Bywaters Collection of Art of the Southwest at SMU and guest curator of this exhibition. This book traces the history and development of these prints, providing title, printer, date, edition number, exhibitions, awards, and in some cases, location of the print image and the destination of each print. Explanations of printmaking techniques used during this period will help readers understand printing processes popular at the time. Other contributors to the book include Dr. Ron Tyler, director of the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, who wrote the foreword for the publication; and SMU art professor Mary Vernon and Bywaters' long-time friend and neighbor, Frances Bearden, who both wrote recollections about their colleague and friend in the essay "The Memorable Jerry Bywaters." (right, image of catalogue front cover courtesy of Texas A&M University Press)


return to: Jerry Bywaters: Interpreter of the Southwest and Jerry Bywaters: Lone Star Printmaker

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