The View From Halcyon Farm: Prince of Prints

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The Baltimore Museum of Art’s Contemporary Print Fair takes place over this weekend, and it’s one of the major art events in Baltimore.


The Print Fair is the perfect time and place to dip your foot into the collecting arena. The fair offers limited editions, single prints and portfolios by both newly emerging artists and well-established names. Because many of the artists selling their work are at the fair, it’s a great opportunity to talk to them, hear how they created their pieces and get to know the pieces up-close-and-personal. It’s a rare chance for a buyer to talk directly to the artist.

BMA fair

Many of the BMA’s curators will also be on hand to talk about the art and prints.

More than 20 local and national vendors are participating in the fair. Some vendors are representing themselves, and others are galleries that represent a number of artists.

Because prints cover myriad processes, including engravings, etchings, silk-screens, mezzotints and more. When using these methods, the artist has the ability to make one print or numerous prints. Engravings and etchings are usually monochromatic, the ink filling the spaces which have been engraved or etched.


If you’re old, like we are, you might remember the old purple mimeograph machines printing off test papers one by one. That was in the days before Xerox machines!

Screen printing is a little different. Each color is a different screen and each screen must be lined up perfectly so that the print is a seamless field of color. Ink is placed on a screen, parts of which have been blocked and as the ink is drawn across the screen, it’s deposited onto the medium below. The medium can be cloth or paper – think of those concert posters and t-shirts from long ago.


One of the critical parts is making dead certain that the register is correct. We’ve all seen the newspaper when one of the colors is just shifted slightly – that means the register is out of alignment.

Block printing is when the pattern is inked and then stamped onto a surface. This can be done with a number of media, including wood, linoleum or even potatoes!

block print

When you think of block prints, think about beautiful prints from India with all of the paisleys and intricate, intersecting vines, like above. Each block is inked, lined up and stamped.

In conjunction with all of the prints that are going be on display and for sale, there is also a schedule of lectures and demonstrations at the BMA. And on Sunday afternoon, there will be an awards presentation for the artist who has “made a substantial contribution to the imagery, themes and techniques of print-making today.”

While most everything in our collection of prints is antique and vintage, they, too were once contemporary prints!

For more information or tickets, please click here.

The View From Halcyon Farm is sponsored by Halcyon House Antiques, located at 11219 Greenspring Avenue in Lutherville, and open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  For more information, visit the Halcyon House Antiques website or call 410-828-8889.

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