Kreeger Museum Highlights Influential Printmaker Lou Stovall

In early February 2022, the Kreeger Museum in Washington launched an exhibit featuring the works of printmaker Lou Stovall. Available until April 30, the collection is titled “On Inventions and Color.”

Curator Danielle O’Steen shared her vision for featuring Stovall’s work at the Kreeger. “By bringing together an exhibition on Lou Stovall’s prints and his collaborations with artists at the Workshop, I wanted to show the important history of his printmaking as an essential chapter in Washington’s art and cultural history,” she said.

In a press release, Director of the Kreeger Museum Helen Chason said of the exhibit, “We are honored to present this significant exhibition by master printmaker Lou Stovall and proud to continue The Kreeger Museum’s long tradition of presenting and supporting Washington artists.”

The pieces range from large, vibrantly-colored prints to more intimate, finely-rendered screenprints. The exhibition also includes intricate drawings and experimental monoprints. 

Describing some of her favorite pieces, O’Steen said, “My favorite piece is the first work by Stovall in the show, Little Love from 1971, which we’re borrowing from the American University Museum at the Katzen Art Center.” 

“The work is small, only 15 inches tall, but it packs a punch with a tree-like form in the center that seems to swoop upward with rich fields of orange colors and expressive dabs and smears,” O’Steen continued. “The bright colors are contrasted by a fine network of lines defining the branches and shaded trunk. It is an early example of Stovall’s experimental approach to screenprinting,” she said. 

In 1968, Stovall founded a screenprinting studio called Workshop, Inc. The studio’s goals, according to the “On Inventions and Color” exhibition press release, are “to reach new audiences, connect with political movements, and create opportunities for a diverse group of artists.” 

Stovall has collaborated with a number of artists to expand their work into prints. Some of these artists include Elizabeth Catlett, Gene Davis, Sam Gilliam, Jacob Lawrence and Robert Mangold. 

In a press release, O’Steen remarked, “Lou has had such an incredible impact on the arts in Washington, in creating this vibrant, artistic hub around his Workshop.” 

O’Steen added in an interview, “I hope visitors to the exhibition will gain a new appreciation for screen printing, as a process that we often think about primarily in the context of commercial printing. Stovall takes this printmaking process into such remarkable and innovative directions.”