Ittmann, John W.
ITTMANN, John W.
ADDRESSES: Office—Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th St. and Benjamin Franklin Pkwy., Philadelphia, PA 19130.
CAREER: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, curator of prints.
Clock and Watch Designs: Three Centuries of Horological Design: Prints, Drawings, Watches, and Clocks, University of Kansas Museum of Art (Lawrence, KS), 1967.
(With others) The Forest of Fontainbleau, Refuge of Reality: French Landscape 1800 to 1870, Shepherd Gallery (New York, NY), 1972.
(With others) Regency to Empire: French Printmaking, 1715–1814, Baltimore Museum of Art (Baltimore, MD), 1984.
Post-Impressionist Prints: Paris in the 1890s, Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia, PA), 1998.
Dox Thrash: An African American Master Printmaker Rediscovered, Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia, PA), 2001.
SIDELIGHTS: Curator John W. Ittmann has been responsible for a number of exhibition catalogues, including those published in connection with exhibitions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. These include Dox Thrash: An African American Master Printmaker Rediscovered, which also includes essays by David R. Brigham, Cindy Medley-Buckner, and Kymberly N. Pinder that provide background on printmaker Dox Thrash (1893–1965). The exhibition and book feature work produced while Thrash participated in a program sponsored by the federal government's Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the 1930s, as well as his prints and drawings from the 1940s and 1950s.
Thrash was born in Mississippi, but traveled north to study art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago between 1914 and 1923. He also served during World War I. After living in Chicago, Thrash moved to Boston, and then to New York during the Harlem Renaissance years before settling in Philadelphia around 1926. Already an experienced painter and graphic designer, he entered the WPA Graphic Arts Workshop in 1937 during the economic depression of the 1930s. It was in Philadelphia that Thrash developed the carborundum print, an innovative method involving copper plates that he employed in many of his works. The exhibit features selected works from both public and private collections, the images of which are Thrash's interpretations of the rural South, the urban North, community scenes, and female nudes.
Thrash employed various methods in his printmaking, using black and white and color, lithography, linoleum cut, and etching. Jack McCray wrote in the Charleston, South Carolina Post and Courier that "Thrash was versatile…. The book is gorgeous." Booklist contributor Donna Seaman remarked that "this laudable volume is the first to publish a complete illustrated catalogue raisonne of Thrash's magnificent prints."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Black Issues Book Review, September-October, 2002, Michelle Joan Wilkinson, review of Dox Thrash: An African American Master Printmaker Rediscovered, p. 13.
Booklist, February 15, 2002, Donna Seaman, review of Dox Thrash, p. 1004.
Library Journal, March 15, 2002, Susan Lense, review of Dox Thrash, p. 76.
Post and Courier (Charleston, SC), March 31, 2002, Jack McCray, review of Dox Thrash, p. E3.
Reference and Research Book News, May, 2002, review of Dox Thrash, p. 184.
Philadelphia City Paper Online, http://citypaper.net/ (December 13-20, 2001), Susan Hagen, "Scratching the Surface."
Philadelphia Museum of Art Web site, http://www.philamuseum.org/ (June 7, 2005).
University of Washington Press Web site, http://www.washington.edu/uwpress/ (June 7, 2005), review of Dox Thrash.