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Julius J. Lankes (American, 1884-1960), Noon Hour, 1931, woodcut on paper, image 9 3/8 x 11 1/8 inches, Joel and Lila Harnett Print Study Center, University of Richmond Museums, Gift of Sheila and Wynne Hutchings in memory of Elaine Legere Whitaker, H2012.12.49, © Estate of Julius J. Lankes, photograph by Taylor Dabney
Nov 12, 2013
throughJan 26, 2014

Julius J. Lankes, Survey of an American Artist

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Julius J. Lankes, Survey of an American Artist is on view November 12, 2013, through January 26, 2014, in the Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art, University of Richmond Museums. Julius John Lankes (American, 1884-1960) was an illustrator, woodcut artist, author, and professor. The exhibition is drawn from the collection of the University of Richmond Museums’ Joel and Lila Harnett Print Study Center, as well as from the estate of the artist and several private collections. Lankes achieved national recognition for his masterful woodcut prints and his depictions of landscapes, natural objects, and buildings. The artist is also known through his legacy of illustrations in books, periodicals, bookplates, and greeting card designs.
About the Artist
J. J. Lankes, born in Buffalo, New York, in 1884, graduated from the Buffalo Commercial and Electro-Mechanical Institute in 1902 and worked as a draftsman specializing in patent drawings prior to his studies at the Art Students’ League of Buffalo and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School.  By the early 1920s, Lankes was known for his mastery of the woodcut and his commissioned works started appearing in magazines.
About the Exhibition

From 1932 to 1939, Lankes taught at Wells College, Aurora, New York, where he continued to freelance in commercial genres — bookplates, illustrations, greeting cards, and commemorative commissions.  By 1941, he was elected to the National Academy of Design, and two years later he was hired as an instructor at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Langley, Virginia, where he headed the technical drawing division.  In 1950, he relocated to Durham, North Carolina, where he lived until his death in 1960. Lankes had a career spanning almost forty years, creating some 1,400 woodcut designs.

The Joel and Lila Harnett Print Study Center’s collection holds approximately 1000 prints, drawings, publications, woodblocks, and other items created by the artist as well as ephemera connected with his work.  Most of the pieces were given to the museum by J. B. Lankes, the artist’s son.

This retrospective exhibition brings together for the first time the largest concentration of the oeuvre of Lankes ever assembled. Its comprehensive representation of woodcuts and other works show the breadth and depth of his artistic vision and his interaction with the cultural milieu of his time. Particular emphasis is given to early influences, woodcutting technique, evolving social conscience, depictions of contemporary and historical subjects, and connection with various artist and authors. Highlights of the exhibition include woodcuts, etchings, paintings, drawings, personal diaries, watercolor sketches, bookplates, book covers, greeting card designs, and much more.

Organized by the University of Richmond Museums, the exhibition is curated by Welford Dunaway Taylor, Professor of English and the James A. Bostwick Chair of English, Emeritus, University of Richmond. The exhibition and programs are made possible in part with funds from the Louis S. Booth Arts Fund. A catalogue, published by the University Museums, is available.


Past Programming
Monday, November 11, 2013, 7 to 9 p.m.
7 p.m., Camp Concert Hall, Modlin Center for the Arts
A Simple and Direct Medium: Woodcuts and Printmaking in the Era of J. J. Lankes” Kate Meyer, Assistant Curator, Works on Paper, Spencer Museum of Art, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas
8 to 9 p.m., Reception and viewing of the exhibition Julius J. Lankes, Survey of an American Artist
Harnett Museum of Art, University Museums
Julius J. Lankes, Survey of an American Artist