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Bertha Jaques: Eye on America

September 28, 2013 - January 5, 2014

Bertha Jaques, Jackson’s Hollow – Spring (also known as Springtime – Epworth, Iowa), 1897, drypoint, museum purchase, 90.15.4
Accomplished printmaker and photographer Bertha Jaques is perhaps best known for her prints of wildflowers and ferns. Her interest in this subject matter grew out of her desire to present something that was not only beautiful to behold, but also promoted wildflower preservation. Jaques’ interest in environmental issues was only one way in which she was a pioneering woman artist. Not only did Jaques succeed in a field dominated by male artists, she helped popularize etching in America. Jaques’ full impact on printmaking and photography at the dawn of the twentieth century is still under-recognized and ripe for reappraisal.

Born Bertha Clausen in Covington, Ohio in 1863, Jaques lived in Cedar Rapids from 1885 to 1889. She did not come to printmaking until she was in her 30s when, in 1893, she attended the Chicago Columbian Exposition where she saw prints by such notable artists as James Abbott McNeil Whistler, James Tissot, and Anders Zorn. She became immediately interested in the etching technique and her surgeon husband (an 1883 graduate of Cornell College whom she met in Mt. Vernon) fashioned tools out of surgical instruments so she could etch copper printing plates. With the purchase of a printing press, Jaques made her first etching in Chicago in 1894. Her interest in printmaking never waned and her home and studio were the setting of many artistic events. Jaques was one of the founders of the Chicago Society of Etchers in 1910, serving as its secretary/treasurer for 27 years. During her 46-year career, she created 461 prints and more than 1,000 cyanotype photographs. Although largely self-taught, Jaques was an influential teacher and mentor, authoring a book, Concerning Etchings, in 1912. Also an accomplished poet, Jaques self-published a number of volumes of her poetry.

As a graphic artist, Jaques’ body of work can be divided between black-and-white prints of landscapes—both Midwestern and from her foreign travels—and her botanical prints, many of which were hand colored. The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art is fortunate to possess not only nearly every print Jaques created, but also several states of certain prints, which allows viewers to see the evolution of Jaques’ thought process within a single print. In addition, the collection contains many cyanotypes of botanical subjects as well as Jaques’ archive, filled with personal photographs, correspondence, and essays and lectures.

In 2013, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of her birth, the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art will present three successive exhibitions: one of her botanical prints and cyanotypes, one of her images of foreign locales, and one of her domestic scenes, including her beloved Chicago. In this way, repeat visitors will be able to gain a better sense of the artist’s breadth and depth of production. Only then can a proper re-appraisal of her place in the history of printmaking be properly considered.

This exhibition has been made possible in part by the Momentum Fund of The Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation.


on 12/02/15
Wow, wasn't that a reunion! It was great spnenidg time at the epicentre of our shared experience and getting to know folks better, regardless of when we lived in Metz or what schools we attended. As noted by others, Doug Pincock was the glue that held us together over the months leading up to the reunion, and he kept us on time, on target during the reunion itself. He deserves our eternal thanks for leaving us all with outstanding memories. The dogged determination to track down Jacques Delisle, the Crazy Canadian, as our tour guide was truly inspired, and David Godwin and Doug again deserve full credit. Jacques breathed life into Metz's history, and added a profound dimension to our previously superficial knowledge of what is truly a wonderful city. John Orr's newsletters, and the efforts of our own paparazzi, Dave Rippon and Steve Morris, to record the reunion with their cameras contributed immensely to building momentum and now in cementing our memories. A special thanks to John Tarzwell for his DVD slide show that he played at the ABC Brasserie. It was another very important ingedient for the reunion recipe that brought us closer together and will be a treasured keepsake. Thanks to everyone else who contributed in some way through their efforts or by their presence. Merci, merci a tous! Cheers, Tony [url=]dpffxvltrdk[/url] [link=]rleypiemwtu[/link]
on 11/30/15
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on 11/27/15
Yes, Michelene, Ericlee has me do these for time. I have a little chart in my wurkoot room and I write down my time every time I do a wurkoot. It's fun to try and get a personal record but there's not a lot of pressure since I compete against myself. This same idea is outlined in the Crossfit wurkoots.
on 03/02/14
I own two signed Bertha E Jaques prints.
East Lilies and Spring Flowers. I've had them for years and never researched her until now. I'm blessed to own such wonderful prints.
My question is: What are they worth?

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