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HAGERSTOWN, MD. >> The exhibition, "Modern Masters: Twentieth Century Prints" opens Saturday, Sept. 26 in the Groh Gallery at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.

Drawn from the collection of the Reading Public Museum, the exhibition features 29 prints by 20th century modern artists including Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Donald Judd, Robert Rauschenberg, Alex Katz, and Keith Haring and others, and illustrates the central importance of artistic prints for modern artists.

The concept of creating multiple copies of a work of art dates back centuries in the history of art. In the 20th century, artists continued the tradition of creating works of art in print multiples either made directly by the artist or made from the artist's original design by publishers, printmakers or artistic presses. Printmaking flourished in the 20th century with technological advances in printing processes.

Artists like Sonya Delaunay, Jim Dine and Donald Judd utilized the time-honored technique of etching and aquatint to create prints. Others, including Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Raphael Soyer, increasingly used lithography to provide affordable reproductions of their work to a wider audience. The mid-20th century witnessed a revival of creative printmaking in America.

As fine art print studios opened across the country, artists began to produce increasingly expressive works, such as Robert Rauschenberg's large-scale color lithographs reflecting his assemblage technique, created with fine art publisher Multiples Inc. of New York. Other artists — Lowell Blair Nesbitt, Sam Francis and Alex Katz — harnessed the creative possibilities of commercial printmaking processes like silkscreen. In the final decades of the 20th century, Christo sold prints to fund the large-scale public installations that have earned him widespread recognition.

The show is organized by the Reading Public Museum and runs through Jan. 3.

Other events planned in connection with the exhibition include:

•Sunday, Sept. 27, 1:30-2:15 p.m., Rhonda J. Smith, chairman of the Department of Contemporary Art and Theater at Shepherd University will lead a walking tour titled "Printmaking: The Impression of the Mark," followed by the Perry/Brandenburg Recital and reception with pianist Robin Spielberg at Sunday, Oct. 25, 2:30 p.m., John Graydon Smith, director and CEO of the Reading Public Museum will present the illustrated lecture, "100 Years of Collecting at the Reading Public Museum," in the Bowman Gallery.

Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

For more information call 301-739-5727 or visit www.wcmfa.org

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