Elizabeth Delson Collection
Scope and Contents
The collection contains 33 prints by artist Elizabeth Delson—a representative sampling of her work in the print world from the 1960s through the 1980s. The prints are largely color and black-and-white etchings, some of which Delson used in conjunction with an inkless impression, aquatint, or embossing processes. Eight of the prints are part of her Cats Series, while the others carry themes of aquatic life, animals and plant life, bodies of water and nude models. Of particular note are An Apple A Day depicting Adam and Eve and Sun Signs which provides representations of the Zodiac signs.
The donor also provided copies of her print notebooks for the prints included in this collection. The notebooks provided information on each of her works including the processes, when they were exhibited, any awards achieved, and their collection history. The notebook entries are very detailed and establish a numbering system for her prints and paintings, which coincide with her online catalog raisonné and the container list for this collection. The description of the print processes are extensive—noting paper sizes, number of impressions, etc.—and she notes whether there were artists’ proofs made, the price she was selling the prints, and exactly what part of the editions were exhibited at what galleries and when.
- 1961 - 1989
- Delson, Elizabeth, 1932-2005 (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Available by appointment only. Photocopying of materials is limited and no materials may be photocopied or photographed without permission from library staff.
Conditions Governing Use
Researchers wishing to publish, reproduce, or reprint materials from this collection must obtain permission.
Biographical / Historical
Elizabeth Delson, who preferred the name Liz, was a painter and printmaker who concentrated on many subjects including mythology, classical literature, marine life and nature, but also generated work in other areas. She was quoted in the May 1966 issue of Civic News as saying "I am trying to express change – life and death, growth and decay, things beginning and things ending." Delson was born on August 15, 1932 in North Plainfield, New Jersey, the daughter of German immigrant parents, both of whom were chemists. She graduated from Smith College, studied with Philip Guston and Richard Lindner at Pratt Institute, studied printmaking with Gabor Peterdi at Hunter College, studied with Letterio Calapai at the New School and also studied with Krishna Reddy at New York University. She lived with her husband Sidney Delson, first in Brooklyn, and later in East Hampton, Long Island.
Delson printed all of her work herself and had a press in her studio at home—later in her work she owned an etching press built by Charles Brand. She felt very strongly that the act of printing a plate was also a part of the art process and she also took very seriously the act of titling her prints, never giving “untitled” to any of her works. She created editions for the Associated American Artists, won two Audubon Artists Gold Medals and two Pen and Brush Club awards. She did much of her work as etchings, but also created many oil paintings and experimented with engravings, embossing, hand coloring, lithography, and aquatints. Some of her etching work involved relief images created from the plate, but without ink alongside inked etchings tied into the similar theme.
In addition to her interest in printmaking, she was also involved in community service aspects in art. She was cofounder of the Park Slope Annual Art Exhibitions, a charter member of the Contemporary Artists Guild and served on the Board of Directors of the Brooklyn Museum Community Gallery and the Artists Alliance of East Hampton. She died in East Hampton on October 3, 2005 survived by her husband and three children.
3 Linear Feet (1 flat box)
Language of Materials
Collection of 33 original prints by artist Elizabeth Delson, as well as copies of her art notebooks.
Numbers assigned to the prints in relation to Delson’s online catalog raisonné are in parentheses. The prints were organized alphabetically, as donated, with the Cats Series pulled together. "A/P" on this list refers to an artist’s proof copy. Note that not all prints were noted on the print as being part of an edition.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Sidney L. Delson, February 2008
Background material on the artist as well as copies of her notebooks were placed into the Artist’s Information File under Elizabeth Delson. Processed by Chad Leinaweaver, September 2008.
- Chad Leinaweaver
- September 2008
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script