Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Color Explosion

I just realized that I was terribly remiss in not writing about a terrific exhibit at the Huntington Library in California which has been going on since October. This exhibit, entitled The Color Explosion, consists of a selection of nineteenth-century, color lithographs from the collection of Jay T. Last. It runs through February 22, 2010 and is well, well worth visiting if you can.

Jay T. Last, founder of Fairchild Semiconductor Corp., became a collector and scholar on the history of American lithography. In 2005, he authored a terrific book, The Color Explosion. Nineteenth-Century American Lithography. This extensively illustrated book discusses the commercial and technological history of American color lithography and includes documentation on many of the most important firms around the country. Jay is one of the leading print collectors and scholars in the country and this book and the new exhibit are wonderful documentations of his collection and scholarship.

Jay's collection, with about 135,000 objects, is the largest private collection of color lithographs in the country and very generously it has been promised as a gift to the Huntington Library. The exhibit includes about 250 items from the collection, including advertisements, art prints, calendars, books, labels, sheet music, toys and games, and trade cards. Many of these prints are very rare and all are eye-poppingly beautiful. This exhibit (and the collection) will knock your socks off! More information can be found on this exhibit on the Huntington web site.

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardends is a collections-based research and educational institution for scholars and the general public. It is a gem located in San Marino, California. and even without the Last collection, its graphic arts holdings--with works on European and American printmaking, book illustration and desgin, photography, and cartography--make the Huntingdon one of the best print repositories in the country. More information can be found on their web site.

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