Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Universal Limited Art Editions:

An Inventory of Its Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Universal Limited Art Editions
Title: Universal Limited Art Editions Collection
Dates: 1964-1988
Extent: 15 folders, 1 portfolio, 24 loose leaves (in 4 flat-file drawers), 4 framed prints, 1 box (61 items, 58 prints)
Abstract: The collection contains fifty-eight lithograph prints by artists Jim Dine, Jasper Johns, Robert Motherwell, Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Rivers, and poet Edwin Schlossberg.
Access:

Open for research. A minimum of twenty-four hours is required to pull art materials to the Reading Room.




Acquisition:

Purchases (R10101, R10213, R10356), 1983-1988

Processed by:

Helen Young, 2003

Repository:

Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin


Universal Limited Art Editions, founded by Tatyana and Maurice Grosman, has been credited with the American revival of fine art lithography in the mid-twentieth century. In the 1950s and 1960s, when New York was experiencing intense artistic activity and growth, Tatyana Grosman was an inspired visionary with the ability to choose and attract the best young artists to explore lithography at her home studio. She hired master printers—notably Robert Blackburn, Zigmunds Priede, Donn Steward, Keith S. Brintzenhofe, and Bill Goldston—who could take on the challenges of the artists' explorations, solving difficult technical problems and developing new techniques which pushed the boundaries of traditional printmaking.

Tatyana Grosman was born June 17, 1904, in Ekaterinburg, Russia. Her father, Semion Michailovitch Aguschewitsch, was a newspaper owner and publisher, who believed children should read only great literature. Soon after the October Revolution, the family was forced to leave Ekaterinburg; they spent time in Japan and Venice before settling in Dresden. Here Tatyana enrolled in the Dresden Academy of Applied Arts, where she met Maurice Grosman (1900-1976), a young student at the Academy of Fine Arts. They married in 1931, and moved to Paris, where they lived on Maurice's meager artist's income until 1941, when they were forced to hide from the Germans. In 1943, they were able to escape to New York City. Here Maurice gave drawing and painting lessons, and had several one-man shows. He also learned the technique of silkscreen printing, and made reproductions of modern paintings.

In 1955, Maurice suffered a severe heart attack, and Tatyana suddenly found herself responsible for their financial support. They moved from their Eighth Street studio to their summer cottage in West Islip, Long Island, where Tatyana started a business producing high quality silkscreens of artists' works. In 1957, she discovered two lithographic limestones in the walkway in their front yard, and from some neighbors she bought a used flat-bed lithography press for $15. Having recently read Monroe Wheeler's Modern Painters and Sculptors as Illustrators, Tatyana was very interested in collaborating with an artist and a poet to create a book. The Grosmans approached their friend Larry Rivers, who, with poet Frank O'Hara, soon began work, with the aid of master printer Robert Blackburn (who had learned lithography on Harlem's Federal Art Project), on a two-year project. The result was the first Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE) publication, Stones, a thirteen page portfolio/book published in 1959. Other artists were soon invited to make lithographs at the studio, including Fritz Glarner, Sam Francis, Grace Hartigan, Jasper Johns, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Motherwell, Robert Rauschenberg, Jim Dine, Lee Bontecou, Barnett Newman, Marisol, James Rosenquist, Cy Twombly, Edwin Schlossberg, Claes Oldenburg, and R. Buckminster Fuller.

Until 1966, the ULAE studio only produced lithographs, but the artists were also interested in working in intaglio. Tatyana acquired a grant in 1966 that enabled her to establish an intaglio studio. In 1969, an offset press was acquired to produce high-quality posters and books that could subsidize the cost of the limited editions. The artists became intrigued with this new equipment, and the offset press was soon employed to produce print editions for Johns' Decoy (1971), Dine's Flaubert's Favorites (1972), and Rosenquist's Off the Continental Divide (1973-1974).

When Maurice Grosman died in 1976, Tatyana encouraged her printer Bill Goldston to take charge of running the studio and the business. When Tatyana died in 1982, Goldston assumed responsibility for ULAE.


Tomkins, Calvin. The Scene: Reports on Post-Modern Art. New York: The Viking Press, 1976.

Proof Positive: Forty Years of Contemporary American Printmaking at ULAE, 1957-1997. Washington, DC: Corcoran Gallery of Art, 1997.


The The Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE) Collection comprises fifty-eight prints by five of the leading American artists of the last half of the twentieth century (Jim Dine, Jasper Johns, Robert Motherwell, Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Rivers, and Edwin Schlossberg), and one poet (Andreĭ Voznesenskiĭ).

The works include Jim Dine's set of four lithographs, Flaubert's Favorites (1972), and nine lithographs from Jasper Johns' Voice 2 series (1982-1983). The collection has a copy of Robert Motherwell's unbound "book" A la Pintura (1972), with text by the Spanish poet Rafael Alberti, in which stanzas of Alberti's poem printed in Spanish and English are juxtaposed with Motherwell's aquatints. Robert Rauschenberg's works include his plexiglass book   Shades (1964); three prints from his Bellini series (1986-1988), in which he used elements from paintings by Giovanni Bellini; lithographs from his 1987 collaboration with Russian poet Andreĭ Voznesenskiĭ, in which Voznesenskiĭ's poems are incorporated into the design; and his lithograph Hot Shot (1983). There are three lithographs by Larry Rivers, including his portrait of Tanya Grosman, Garbo Grosman (1983). There are five lithographs by the poet Edwin Schlossberg who was introduced to the Grosmans by Jasper Johns; four of these are a series from 1981 that incorporated the newly developed temperature-sensitive material Liquid Crystal as a color medium.


The Ransom Center's library also has works published by ULAE. Works with original prints include:

  • Lee Bontecou. Fifth stone, sixth stone (six etchings, 1968);
  • R. Buckminster Fuller. Tetrascroll (with twenty-one lithographs, 1977);
  • Fritz Glarner. Recollection (1968);
  • Maurice Grosman. From Jewish Poems (thirteen lithographs by Larry Rivers, 1965);
  • Jasper Johns. 17 monotypes (1982);
  • Frank O'Hara. Stones (thirteen lithographs by Larry Rivers, 1959);
  • Robert Rauschenberg. Traces suspectes en surface (lithographs, 1978);
  • Larry Rivers. Diana (one lithograph, 1974);
  • Edwin Schlossberg. Wordswordswords (1968);
  • Terry Southern. The Donkey and the Darling (fifty-four lithographs by Larry Rivers, 1977);
  • Andreĭ Voznesenskiĭ. Nostal'giia po nastoiashchemu (lithographs by Alexander Liberman, 1979).

The Library also has Wallace Stevens' Poems (Arion Press, 1985), with an etching by Jasper Johns, printed at Universal Limited Art Editions. Other ULAE publications are Fuller's Tetrascroll (with facsimile prints, 1977), Rauschenberg's Photos in + out city limits: New York C. (1982), Waterworks: June 1 to July 6, 1990 (exhibition catalog, 1990).