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Mauricio Lasansky

American, born Argentina, 1914 - 2012

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Printmaker Mauricio Lasansky was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His father, also a printer, had moved there from Lithuania. After initially studying art and teaching in Argentina, Lasansky went to New York in 1943 on a Guggenheim fellowship and worked with Stanley William Hayter at Atelier 17.

In 1945 he joined the faculty at the University of Iowa, where he established a print workshop and a teaching program. Lasansky's influential work and instruction helped spark a renaissance in American printmaking, as graduates of the Iowa program established workshops at other universities.

With Gabor Peterdi and Karl Schrag, Lasansky was one of the major printmakers of the 1950s. His primary subject has been the human figure. While his early work has affinities with the stylized forms of Latin American murals, from the 1940s on his art has encompassed elements of cubism, with boldly fragmented forms, and of surrealism, in haunting and often brutal imagery. Lasansky's technical concerns have led him to experiment with intaglio processes, often combining many methods in a single composition. His pictures are frequently technically complex, requiring numerous plates for a single image.

[This is an excerpt from the interactive companion program to the videodisc American Art from the National Gallery of Art. Produced by the Department of Education Resources, this teaching resource is one of the Gallery's free-loan educational programs.]

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