Universal Limited Art Editions

Before the formation of the Universal Limited Art Editions, printmaking was considered a lower art form – a pursuit unworthy of artists and patrons alike. But because of the vision of Tatyana and Maurice Grosman, founders of ULAE, the best artists of the 1950s and ‘60s experimented with the printmaking medium and pushed it to the highest level of artistic pursuit. An exhibition of 57 prints from the ULAE collection includes prints from 1983 to 1990. Organized by the Yellowstone Art Center, Billings, MT, the ULAE exhibition features works by 11 artists. Bill Goldston, director of ULAE, will conduct a gallery walk of the exhibition on opening day. 

ULAE began as a modest enterprise in the Grosman’s fifth floor walk-up in New York. Artists were invited to experiment with printmaking. Initially, some of the artists were skeptical. Referring to lithography, Robert Rauschenberg commented that it was strange that in the middle of the 20th century that anyone should be drawing on rocks. But Rauschenberg grew to love the process and became one of its leading exponents.

Tatyana established ground rules for the group:

  • Only one artist at a time worked in the ULAE studio.
  • Any time of the day or night an artist wanted to work, a crew of assistants was standing by.
  • Despite the cost, only the best materials were used.
  • Regardless of the reason, delays were unchallenged.

These rules continue to guide ULAE today.

Tatyana sought out master printers. New printing techniques, which encouraged experimentation, were developed. One of the ULAE printers, Zigmunds Priede, is now an art instructor at JCCC, and he helped pioneer new technical processes. One of the prints in the exhibition, by Carroll Dunham, took two years to complete. Titled Full Spectrum, it was accomplished by three printers using seven printings of six lithographic stones and one aluminum plate etching and ten printings from seven silkscreens. “The multi-layered abstraction of brilliant hues, subtle textures and vigorous draftsmanship is only one example of a diverse and rich experience with the printmaking medium the exhibit affords both artist and non-artist alike,” Priede said.

By 1982, both Grosmans had died, but their vision continues. The prints included in the ULAE exhibition reflect some of the most important graphic work of our time.

The gallery guide features an essay by Terry Karson, Curator/Registrar, Yellowstone Art Center.

Now a senior critic in the Yale University School of Art, Carroll Dunham was born in 1949 in New Haven, Connecticut, and graduated with a BA from Trinity College in Hartford in 1971.

Bill Jensen was born in 1945 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jensen received his BFA in 1968 and his MFA in 1970 from the University of Minnesota, and he currently lives and works in New York.

Jasper Johns was born in 1930 in Augusta, Georgia, and studied at the University of South Carolina at Columbia and the Parsons School of Design, New York. He continues to work at his studio in Sharon, Connecticut.

Now based in New York, Julian Lethbridge was born in 1947 in Sri Lanka and was raised in England. He studied at Winchester College from 1960-66 and then at Cambridge University from 1966-1969.

Born in 1940 in Chicago, Illinois, Elizabeth Murray received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her MFA from Mills College, Oakland, California. 

Robert Rauschenberg was born in 1925 in Port Arthur, Texas, and studied at the Kansas City Art Institute, Black Mountain College in North Carolina, and the Art Students’ League in New York.

Larry Rivers was born in 1923 in the Bronx, New York. He studied with Hans Hofmann in the late 1940s, was an integral member of the Chelsea Hotel scene, and was a frequent guest at Andy Warhol’s Factory.

James Rosenquist was born in 1933 in Grand Forks, North Dakota. He studied at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the University of Minnesota, and the Art Students League in New York. Rosenquist is living in Aripeka, Florida.

Susan Rothenberg was born in 1945 in Buffalo, New York. She received a BFA in 1967 from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. She now lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Kiki Smith was born in 1954 in Nuremberg, Germany, and was raised in South Orange, New Jersey. She studied at the Hartford Art School in Connecticut. She is currently based in New York City.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1949, Terry Winters graduated from Pratt Institute in 1971 with a BFA. He divides his time between upstate New York and Manhattan.