Glen Alps - "Untitled" - C. 1952
Glen Alps (1914-1996) "Untitled" , C. 1952
Born in Loveland, CO, Glen Alps received an M.F.A. in 1947 from the School of Art, University of Washington. While still a graduate student in 1945, he began teaching printmaking at the School of Art which he did until his retirement in 1984. This was when all forms of printmaking were still considered a “secondary” art form, once removed from painting and sculpture. He later became the printmaking department-head from (1979-84), making the department into one of the most respected places to study printmaking in the United States.
He made several important contributions to the printmaking world; chief among these were the development of the “collagraph” process, printmaking distilled from the collage, the burnt-lacquered plate concept and the “vitreograph,” prints pulled from glass plates. He also greatly contributed to the legitimizing of the serigraph or silkscreen fine art print, long regarded only worthy of commercial graphics. The collagraph has been embraced by printmakers and became absorbed into the mainstream of printmaking technique.
Alps’ reputation as a printmaker began to emerge in the 1950’s and he quickly became internationally known. He showed work in most major print exhibitions throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. His exposure to Japanese art in 1956 at the Yoshide Gallery in Tokyo, lead to printmaking masters such as Kiyoshi Saito and Jun’ichiro Sekino coming to Seattle to work with Alps firsthand to learn collagraphy. In 1961, Alps was invited to produce a series of lithographs at the Tamarind Institute in Los Angeles, an atelier known for its own important contribution to printmaking, leading to yet another one-man show at the Henry Art Gallery in 1962. That same year he contributed several prints, sculptures and paintings to the Seattle World’s Fair Northwest Art Today and Adventures in Art at the Fine Arts Pavilion in Seattle Center.
Besides his own career in fine art, Alps was a major influence on several generations of art students and artists during his tenure as professor at the UW School of Art. His work is in the permanent collections of many of the world’s leading museums including the Whitney Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, France; Museum of Modern Art, NYC; National Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden, Los Angeles County Museum; Library of Congress and numerous others.