Art for the Asking: 60 Years of the Graphic Arts Loan Collection

Professor Herwin Schaefer’s Transformative Idea

This GALC program started 60 years ago in 1958 after Herwin Schaefer, Professor in the Decorative Arts program at UC Berkeley, suggested the Library invest in a print collection instead of reproductions of paintings. Prints are relatively inexpensive when compared to paintings, because the artist makes and sells about 30 to 50 copies of each. The works—whether in the form of lithographs, etchings, woodcuts, or other media—are hand-printed from pictures cut, drawn, or etched on wood, stone, or metal by the artist. Because of this, Professor Schaefer declared that the university could assemble a collection of works touched by the hand of the artist and make them available to students, which would support a meaningful extension of the University’s art teaching program. Professor Schaefer and Professor Hart travelled to San Francisco, New York, and Europe to personally select and purchase prints for the collection in its formative years.

Items located in this exhibit case:

1) Letter dated June 10, 1958 from Executive Director of IGAS Theodore Gusten to University Librarian Donald Coney about the shipment of the 50 prints to the UCB Library, and an acknowledgement by Coney that the prints were received.

2) A purchase receipt dated August 17th, 1959 from the Ackermann & Sauerwein Gallery in Munich, Germany for the Picasso etching, Frauenkopf Nach Rechts.

3 & 4) An Exhibition of Prints, the first catalog of prints for the GALC in 1958.

5) Photograph of library staff with prints from the first exhibition. The prints in this photo are King and Demagogue by Max Beckmann (left), Marie the Acrobat by Fernand Leger (center), and Mountain Climber by Misch Kohn (bottom).

6) Print Rental Service: A Study pages 18 & 19. This was a report published in 1964 by the International Graphic Arts Society on establishing print rental collections in institutions of higher learning. This is opened to the section on UC Berkeley.

7 & 8) Pages 1 and 4 of a report on the GALC by University Librarian Donald Coney that was sent to Theodore Gusten, the Executive Director of the IGAS on January 3, 1961.

9) Poster for the first exhibition of the GALC in 1958.