Contemporary Prints by American WomenA Selection from the Gift of Martha and Jim Sweeny

September 8, 2012 through February 2, 2013

Above: Betye Saar, Return To Dreamtime, 1990, intaglio and screenprint on paper, ed. of 92, 2015.018

The approximately 30 prints from this growing collection of more than 60 are exceptional and engaging. The group of artists reads like a “Who’s-Who in American Art,” but the selection is more than a gathering of illustrious names. These are often signature works and reveal the MFA’s commitment to the art of our time. The vast majority of these artists remain at the forefront, still pushing boundaries.

Since 2008, longtime Museum friends Martha and Jim Sweeny have given prints from their own collection and substantial funds for purchases. The core of the Sweeny Collection at the MFA was inspired by the 1987 exhibition A Graphic Muse: Prints by Contemporary American Women, curated by legendary print specialists Richard S. Field and Ruth E. Fine. The Sweeny’s later acquired other impressions of prints that were part of that show: Joan Mitchell’s Flower I, Joyce Kozloff’s Homage to Robert Adam, and Breath-man by Susan Rothenberg.

More recent prints by artists who were represented in A Graphic Muse, as well as those who have emerged in the last several years, have enhanced these holdings. This new installation features works by some of the most gifted artists of our time: Vija Celmins, Yvonne Jacquette, Lois Lane, Georgia Marsh, Elizabeth Murray, Howardena Pindell, Betye Saar, Pat Steir, and Joan Snyder.

American women have enlivened, deepened, and at times transformed the print tradition. The Sweenys have taken the MFA on an exciting new journey.