Virginia Myers, printmaker and inventor of foil imaging, has passed away

Photo by Chris Mortenson

Professor Emerita Virginia Myers has died. The renowned printmaker, artist and inventor best known for her foil printing techniques and the Iowa Foil Press passed away on Dec. 7.

She lived to see the University of Iowa dedicate a new collaborative project in her name, the Virginia A. Myers NEXUS of Engineering and Art opened in 2015 and puts into academic practice some of Myers’ life lessons.

Myers came to Iowa City in 1955, studying under Mauricio Lasansky. She went to Paris on a Fulbright Scholarship from 1961-62 and then came back to Iowa to teach printmaking.

By 1986 she invented the Iowa Foil Printer, which allows foil stamping through a special double-sided heating process.

Myers was born in 1927 in Greencastle, Indiana, grew up in Cleveland and received her B.A. in drawing and painting from the Corcoran School of Art in 1949. She earned her M.F.A in painting from the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland.

Myers’ student and protégé Deanne Wortman is now the Director of the Virginia A. Myers NEXUS of Engineering and Art. Wortman learned of Myers’ death soon after it happened and said via email:

“The next day I rose to one of the most magnificent sunrises I have ever seen. The whole sky was fiery in red and orange and pink. The light colored the fields and the trees. I had intended to visit her in the hospital that evening but got the word of her passing during the day. That evening was an even more magnificent sky of hot colors and clouds. I remember thinking that Virginia was ascending and foiling the sky as she went! I called out to her…..’You go girl! Bon Voyage! and vaya con dios!’”

Marita Clark is working on a book that will feature the last foil work by Myers.

She also had much to say about her collaborator:

“She was a brilliant and humble woman who masterfully embraced her purpose in life with utmost dignity and grace. She was so very appreciative of people who were interested in art, specifically a new Fine Art form, Foil Imaging, which she created, taught and introduced to society. She was the epitome of how to live life well, in the highest possible standard. Her light did not extinguish when she passed – it’s radiating through her foil imaging contributions!”

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  1. Such an elegant and wonderful woman. I was fortunate enough to help her with her yard work in the spring of 1982. Her studio at her home was mesmerizing and I knew nothing of her art or work. So glad to have crossed her path.

  2. Genny was my freshman dorm advisor at Currier Hall 1956-57. When I got married the next year, she gave us one of her prints which has had pride of place ever since. She was a lovely person and a passionate artist. Elle

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