Drawings: a portfolio of 16 offset lithographs by Portfolio

Drawings: a portfolio of 16 offset lithographs by Portfolio

Drawings: a portfolio of 16 offset lithographs



Drawings: a portfolio of 16 offset lithographs

16 lithographs, printed offset 
Image Size
varies upon impression but limited within the paper size of 11 x 8-1/2" 
all pencil signed on support sheet except for Dixon, who signed within the image 
Edition Size
anticipated edition of 100, not completed 
Clinton Adams' American Lithographers pp.161-163 
antique-white Dictationbond by Fox River, tipped on to a sheet of wove cartridge paper 
Eric T. Ledin, Mill Valley 
Inventory ID

DRAWINGS was a collaborative effort by six artists who were students at the San Francisco Art Institute and exhibited together as the " Sausalito Six." The portfolio project was conceived as an effort to raise money to assist the Seashore Gallery of Modern Art in Sausalito, California that showed their work.

The artists, Richard Diebenkorn, James Budd Dixon, John Hultberg, Walter Kuhlman, Frank Lobdell, and George Stillman, worked with offset printer Eric Ledin in Mill Valley, drawing on flexible aluminum and paper plates with grease crayons, the composition being printed in the same direction as the drawing. The artists then glued the prints at the corners (or upper section) to a heavier support paper, which was then signed in pencil. Unfortunately a few of the artists used rubber cement to attach the work and they are usually heavily stained and require conservation. Black construction paper covers were created with a title sheet glued on which read: "Drawings / Dixon / Diebenkorn / Hultberg / Kuhlman / Lobdell / Stillman / Published by Eric T. Ledin Mill Valley Calif."

David Acton, in "The Stamp of Impulse: Abstract Expressionist Prints", describes the confluence of artists and ideas which led to the publication of the portfolio:

"... One day Lobdell gave each of his colleagues paper offset lithography plates. His friend Eric Ledin, who owned a radio and television business, had received an old electric Multilith offset press in lieu of a debt. Ledin set up the machine in the basement of his house in Mill Valley, and as he taught himself to operate it, his friend Lobdell drew on a few aluminum and paper plates. Then he invited his colleagues to participate. Each of the six artists drew two or three plates, which wre printed in Ledin's basement over eight days. They completed seventeen prints in editions of 200 and compiled them in an album, contained in a black paper envelope with a lithographed label. The artists offered the portfolios for sale at some of their exhibitions and in the CSFA bookstore at a cost of one dollar. In the end, the proceeds were just enough to buy a case of scotch and provided a rousing party."

A few portfolios were published in an edition of seventeen: three works each by Diebenkorn, Lobdell and Stillman, two works each by Dixon and Kuhlman, and Hultberg produced four. Hultberg allegedly drew on one plate with butter and the plate broke down after a few impressions were printed. Most portfolios have sixteen images.

By the time the portfolio was printed and published, the gallery had closed and the artists proceeded to try to sell the portfolios for $1.00 apiece. Sales were almost nonexistent and they finally used the proceeds for a party.

Most portfolios were broken up, the artists often gifting their prints to friends, and are hard to find complete. This cover is no longer intact and has a stain on the title sheet from something spilt onto it. The two by Dixon and one by Stillman have residual staining on the support sheet.

The term for the American movement " Abstract Expressionism" was coined in 1946, making this perhaps the first true "Abstract Expressionist" portfolio published in the United States.