Glen Earl Alps Biography

Glen Earl Alps




Glen Alps, printmaker and educator, was born on 20 June 1914 in Loveland, Colorado. He attended Colorado State College of Education (today University of Northern Colorado) in Greeley, Colorado, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1940. In 1945, he returned to school at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in 1947. During the summer of 1947, Alps studied with printmaker Mauricio Lasansky at the University of Iowa.

Alps began teaching in the Art Department of the University of Washington while he was still a graduate student. In 1947 the chairman of the department, Walter F. Jacobs, invited Alps to teach classes in watercolor and design as an acting associate of the school. He soon began teaching printmaking, as well. After graduation Alps' teaching career at the University of Washington continued and he received tenure in 1954 and became a full professor in 1962. He was named Professor Emeritus upon his retirement in 1984.

Beginning in the 1950s Alps became nationally and internationally known for his innovations in printmaking and for the development of unique matrices. Alps was one of the first artists to exhibit a “collagraph,” a term he coined, in 1957 at the Brooklyn Museum. Since that time, the technique has been absorbed into the mainstream of printmaking. Other experiments included burnt lacquer and vitreographs (prints pulled from glass plates) on which he collaborated with glass artist and printer Harvey Littleton. Alps exhibited in most of the major print exhibitions throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan from the 1950s through the 1980s.

Alps' influence extended throughout the United States and around the world. He brought major Japanese masters such as Kiyoshi Saito and Jun’ichiro Sekino to Seattle to work in the collagraph medium. In 1961, Alps was invited to produce a series of lithographs at the Tamarind Institute, an atelier known for its own important contributions within the field. One of the most important books written on printmaking is The Art Of The Print by Fritz Eichenberg (Harry N. Abrams, 1976). Attesting to the importance of Alps’ work, the author included his work and working methods in a prominent section of the book.

Glen Alps died in Seattle, Washington on November 3, 1996.