On-campus art gallery hosts rare DIA prints


Nowshin Chowdhury

The exhibition will be on display from Sept. 9 to Oct. 9 for anyone interested to explore.

The Oakland University Art Gallery welcomed a new exhibition featuring prints by Gerald Brockhurst and the Work Projects Administration on Friday, Sept. 9.

Work Projects Administration (WPA) prints from the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) and Gerald Brockhurst prints from the Collection of Carl F. Barnes Jr. and Anna M. Barnes will be on display at the Oakland University Art Gallery (OUAG) until Oct. 9.

The exhibit is the first of six to be held at the OUAG this year, and will be on display until October 9.

Dick Goody, chair of the Department of Art and Art History and director of the OUAG, curated the exhibit, which features 65 prints. The Brockhurst prints will later be gifted to the gallery.

The WPA prints are on loan from the DIA, the third time in 15 years that the OUAG has borrowed artwork from the DIA.

“Any time we can partner with a great museum like the Detroit Institute of Arts, it fosters cultural exchange,” Goody said.

The OUAG is taking a step back in time with this art form, as this exhibit’s art style is different from most of the gallery’s exhibits.

“Digital printing has taken over in the last ten years, and traditional printing techniques like etching and lithography are less practiced than they were,” Goody said. “So it’s nice to see a print exhibition which demonstrates the variety, prowess, and exacting techniques possible with traditional printing. Also, it is wonderful to see the incredible draftsmanship associated with printmaking.”

Brockhurst Prints

The exhibit features 45 images from Gerald Brockhurst (1890-1978), who was a talented portrait painter during the 1920s and 1930s. By 1932, he was the highest paid portrait painter in England.

OUAG visitors can see Brockhurst’s work from as early as the late 1890s until the 1940s.

The “Black Dress, 1927” and “Henry Rushbury No. 2, 1930” are two etchings that have great detail and demonstrate Brockhurst’s work and techniques.

Most famous for his etchings, much of Brockhurst’s work is composed mostly of women in either headshots or portraits. Anaϊs Folin and Kathleen Woodward, his first and second wives, were his primary models for his prints.

“Adolescence,” one of Brockhurst’s most famous etchings, is displayed at the OUAG and was created using Woodward as a model in 1932. The etching itself shows Woodward standing in front of a mirror naked. At the time, this kind of art with nudity was considered taboo.

WPA Prints

The DIA provided 20 WPA prints that take viewers back in time to the Great Depression.

These prints were created during the 1930s and 1940s, and capture the struggles that many Americans went through during the Depression.

What’s unique about these prints is that not only do they capture the struggles that the Great Depression caused these people, they also capture their uprising.

Many of these artists portray the reality of Work Projects Administration (formerly known as the Works Progress Administration) projects implemented by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the Depression.

Similar to the jobs that the WPA provided to the American public, the government also paid professional artists to create these prints.

Elizabeth Olds’ (1896-1991) “Miner Joe, 1937, lithograph,” is one of the more famous prints that the DIA has loaned Oakland. “Bricklaying, 1936/1943,” by Adrian Troy (1920-1950) is another print that is on display at the gallery. The print, however, was created by the use of woodcuts.

The OUAG is open Tuesday through Sunday 12 p.m. until 5 p.m. It is also open during special events at OU and during Meadow Brook Theatre performances through the first intermissions.

Admission is free and the gallery is located in 208 Wilson Hall, 371 Wilson Blvd.