Since its creation in 1999 the University of San Diego’s Print Collection has served as a primary repository for prints from the fifteenth century through the present day. Located in the Hoehn Family Print Study Room, which was established in Founders Hall in 2007, the Print Collection strives to represent the history of printmaking as well as its presence in contemporary artistic practice. Long misunderstood as a secondary art form, printmaking is featured at the University of San Diego an independent artistic medium in its own right, worthy of celebration at the heart of a collection and a dedicated exhibition program.
The gift of Francisco Goya’s Disasters of War in 1999 was the catalyst for the Print Collection’s formation. Generously donated by Robert and Karen Hoehn, the Disasters of War were soon joined by another series of ambitious prints, Georges Rouault’s Miserere, a series of fifty-eight prints also given to the collection by Robert and Karen Hoehn. Through the Hoehn’s generosity, the Print Collection has grown to include other monuments of printmaking such as Jacques Callot’s Miseries of War, Hendrick Goltzius’s Passion series, examples of devotional prints by Rembrandt van Rijn, and prints by Stanley William Hayter, which were acquired together with the original copper plate matrix.
The John Petersen Memorial Fund and the Burgundian Fund, both funds created by donations from groups of individuals, have enabled further acquisitions of old master prints. Gifts from faculty members such as Bill Kelly, Duncan McCosker, and other anonymous donors have further enhanced the collection with additions of modern and contemporary prints. Art world professionals Armin Kunz, Lowell Libson, and James Bergquist have enriched the collection with prints including engravings and etchings from the circle of Peter Paul Rubens, examples from the printmaking collaboration between David Lucas and John Constable, and contemporary engravings by Anton Würth. British-born printmaker Ian Tyson donated a large group of prints published at his Tetrad press as well as artist proofs of his own work.
In the last few years, gifts of prints including examples by Albrecht Dürer, Marcantonio Raimondi, and Paul Gavarni have been donated by Cleveland-based Robert Getscher and Harry Wilkinson, who have further supported the teaching mission of the Print Collection through long-term loans. Local printmaking enthusiasts Norman Leitman and James Lasry have added prints and printmaking tools to enrich the pedagogical capabilities of the collection. Exhibitions have been enhanced by gifts from individuals like San Diego-based print collector William Hudlow, whose gift of American prints has allowed a temporary exhibition to have a permanent legacy in the collection. An endowment established in 2013 by the Legler Benbough Foundation has given students an opportunity to participate in the selection of prints for acquisition, an activity that will continue with this support on an annual basis.
In the years ahead, the Print Collection aims to continue expanding to fulfill its role as a worthy reflection of the history and continued relevance of printmaking. Further acquisitions of prints in all media from all time periods and from all national schools will help attain this goal.