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Influenced by the renewed European interest in etching, American printmakers experienced a significant revival early in the 20th century. Various intaglio techniques, etching being most popular, were used to document the poor social conditions caused by rapid industrial growth in the early part of the century through the 1960s.
Regionalist artists used lithography to create images celebrating the American rural landscape, though beginning in the Jazz Age the technique was increasing used in urban centers for advertising. During the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) funded arts teachers in an effort to continue the arts during this difficult time period in American history.
A new American attitude developed in the 1950s and 1960s, where the relationship between the printmaker and the artist became more collaborative than in typical European ateliers. Robert Blackburn’s Printmaking Workshop in New York also encouraged a collaborative space for artists and printers to exchange ideas and experimentation.
In the 19th century, American artist Winslow Homer began his career as an illustrator specializing in woodcut prints for publications. After he shifted his focus to painting, he often made etchings of his works, keeping his printmaking skills alive and promoting the importance of the medium
In 1940, British artist Stanley William Hayter left the instability of wartime Europe to establish a printmaking studio in New York. Called Atelier 17, the studio provided artists a place to experiment with various techniques in a collaborative environment
In the 1960s and '70s, American printmaking shifted toward screen printing, as was popular with Andy Warhol, but artists such as David Hockney and Jim Dine kept Intaglio techniques alive