This afternoon, some friends from the Des Moines Art Center’s Print Club are in Iowa City visiting the studios of active UI professors Anita Jung and Susan White, and the late Mauricio Lasansky.
Lasansky, who passed away earlier this month, is the founder of the UI printmaking department. He is universally recognized as one of the most important printmakers of the 20th century. Though he didn’t come up with the idea of intaglio printmaking, which has roots dating back to the 1500s, he is credited with developing the modern intaglio processes that are taught in printmaking schools around the world today. Mauricio remained active in retirement, quietly working away in his upstairs studio/apartment at 216 E Washington Street, almost until the end. The downstairs gallery is open by appointment only, and today was the first time I’d been inside.
Mauricio’s son Phil went to law school at the UI, so, in a family full of artists, he is the one charged with managing the estate. He was our host today, along with his son, Diego. They showed us a few of Mauricio’s last pieces–large format collages that seem to bring together elements from many periods of the artist’s career, including religious, nationalistic and familial portraits.
As a big fan of Mauricio’s work, I was really excited to see these late works that may never leave the family’s private collection. Here are a few of the images of the new pieces (click to enlarge):
It was a treat to hear Phil tell the story of Mauricio’s love affair with Iowa. He could have gone and worked anywhere in the world, and indeed had some very tempting offers, but he stayed faithful to this place until the end. I encourage anyone unfamiliar with his life and career to visit LasanskyArt.com to find out more about this inspirational teacher, artist and inventor.