Claire Van Vliet
23 Sandy Gallery is very pleased to have three extraordinary broadsides by Claire Van Vliet’s Janus Press on consignment from David Abel at Passages Bookshop. You may remember earlier this year when David brought his one-day trunk show to the gallery. It was an amazing selection of fine press books, artist books and broadsides, many of which were long out of print, valuable collectibles. We kept a selection of our favorite broadsides here at the gallery including these three beauties by Van Vliet.
Claire Van Vliet is one of America’s preeminent artists of the book and letterpress, having created some of the 20th-century’s most important fine editions. For decades she has made significant contributions to and innovations in the fields of fine printing, papermaking, bookbinding and printmaking. And as a teacher she has had a profound impact on several generations of aspiring book artists.
According to Wikipedia, was born in 1933 in Ottawa, Canada. She founded Janus Press in San Diego, California in 1955 In the same year she began working on the wood-engravings that she would eventually self-publish. In the mid-1950s Van Vliet traveled in Europe and apprenticed as a hand typesetter. During these travels she taught herself etching while working as a craft instructor at the United States European Headquarters in Germany. For the remainder of the 1950s and early 1960s, Van Vliet taught printmaking, typography and drawing at the Philadelphia Museum School. During those years she worked as a type compositor for John Anderson (eventually at his Pickering Press in New Jersey) and visiting lecturer in Printmaking at the University of Wisconsin. In 1966 Van Vliet moved to Vermont, where she currently resides, and created a permanent home for Janus Press.
Through the years her work has been the subject of several exhibitions, including a 25-year retrospective in 1977 at the Wiggin Gallery at the Boston Public Library and Experimenting with the Book: The Janus Press at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 1994. Her work is housed in many prestigious collections, including The National Gallery in Washington, DC; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England; The Library of Congress, Washington, DC; and Smithsonian Institution. In addition to her many honors, the University of the Arts in Philadelphia named Van Vliet an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts in 1993.