Steven Sorman: Only When
Although the FWMoA has collected artwork by Sorman since 1985, it wasn’t until nearly 20 years later when FWMoA’s Sorman collection began to blossom, thanks to gifts from local collectors and strategic purchases. Sorman’s work had always been a favorite of FWMoA CEO and Chief Curator Charles A. Shepard III since he encountered it as a graduate student at Williams College while helping organize the now-famous 1984 exhibit The Modern Art of the Print at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.
Shepard’s relationship with Sorman continued at his first directorship at the University of Maine Museum of Art, where his first purchase for the collection was a Sorman work. Over the next 20 years, Shepard purchased Sorman work at each museum he directed, and he continued to do so after he took the helm at FWMoA in 2003.
In late 2013, FWMoA began laying the groundwork for this gift, with curator’s visits orchestrated by Associate Curator of Exhibitions Joslyn Elliott to Sorman’s studio in upstate New York to form the scope of what would be the largest acquisition of Sorman’s work by any institution in the world. In June of 2014, more than 230 prints and paintings made by Steven Sorman from 1972-2014 were delivered to Fort Wayne, with more gifts of art promised as the artist continues to create work. This exhibition includes selected works from FWMoA’s extensive collection of the Steven Sorman archives.
About the artist
Steven Sorman is renowned for his complicated printmaking processes that result in lush and complex surfaces. Sorman’s prints are extremely detailed and full of vivid color.
Since 1970, over 80 one- artist exhibitions have featured Sorman’s work in galleries in Singapore, Sweden and the United States. In the 1970s, prestigious exhibits included the “Paper as Medium”, Smithsonian Institute; The National Print Exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum and the 13th International Biennial of Graphic Art in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia. His work is in the collections of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands; The Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, both in New York City; the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, among others. Sorman won the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Merit World Print III Award in 1980, the Rockefeller Foundation American Center Artist in Residence in Paris in 1982, and the 2nd Bharat Bhavan International Biennial of Prints Merit Award in 1991 (Bhopal, India).