Barry Moser Biography

Barry Moser




Printmaker, illustrator, designer, and educator Barry Moser was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on October 15, 1940. He attended Auburn University (1958 - 1960) and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (B.S., Art Education, 1962). He put himself through college as a Methodist preacher and intended on pursuing the cloth; however, his interest in art and teaching soon became his focus and he took a position at the Williston Academy in Easthampton, MA. Through this he was introduced to framer and print collector Louis Smith, who subsequently introduced him to Leonard Baskin, under whom he would then study printmaking. In 1970 he did his graduate work at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA and took art courses with Fred Becker and Jack Coughlin at Hampshire College in Amherst.

After establishing a small printing press at Williston in 1968, Moser began printing illustrated books and in 1970 he officially named his studio Pennyroyal Press, publishing his first portfolio of etchings, titled The Death of Narcissus, that year. To support his endeavor, he developed a subscription program, offering first editions of his published works at a deep discount to patrons who donated $500 to his press. His work attracted the attention of rare book collectors, bookshop owners, and others, allowing Moser to eventually leave the academic world and focus on Pennyroyal. As well, he formed a professional working relationship with printer Harold McGrath, who would work with Pennyroyal on its most ambitious projects.

Moser's work as a woodengraver and publisher gained notice over the next decade and by 1980 he had garnered commissions from major publishing houses to create various series of livre d'artistes, including an edition of Moby Dick that would include 100 engravings, published by Arion Press in San Francisco, and an edition of Alice In Wonderland, published by the University of California, Berkeley, that earned him the American Book Award in 1983. In 1979, he was approached by the Book of the Month Club to illustrate its inagural book for their "American Past" series, The Body of John Brown by Benet, which proved to be a critical success. Pennyroyal Press would eventually go on to print the Pennyroyal Caxton Bible, an illustrated version of the world's most famous writing published in 1999, and the only 20th century version to feature one artist's illustration of every book of both the Old and New Testements.

Pennyroyal Press and Moser's individual printmaking endeavors continued to find success, garnering several awards and honors. He is a member of the National Academy of Design (Assoc. Academ. 1984; Academician, 1994); the Boston Society of Printers (Honorary); and the Society of Wood engravers, London (Honorary). He has exhibited throughout the U.S. and abroad, and continues to live and work in Massachusetts.

A complete CV and extensive list of exhibitions can be found at his website.