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New York Times reports on passing of UW-Madison Professor Emeritus Colescott

October 11, 2018

Warrington Colescott, an innovative printmaker and emeritus faculty member with UW-Madison’s Art Department, passed away in September, the New York Times reports.

The Times explains how Colescott “deftly navigated the intersection between tragedy and high comedy with biting etchings about civil rights, history, politics and the Internal Revenue Service (which audited him).”

He died on Sept. 10 at his farmhouse in Hollandale, Wis., the Times reports, at age 97.

Warrington Colescott
Colescott joined UW-Madison in 1949, where he taught painting and printmaking for 37 years, the Times reports.

The obituary notes how “Mr. Colescott started out concentrating on painting and silk screens but became fascinated with etching after a year of study at the Slade School of Fine Art in London in the 1950s under his Fulbright grant. His initial etchings were abstract, but they soon evolved to a more figurative look that suited the events and figures he would illustrate.”

The Times adds: “The shift to etching on copper plates — part of the group of intaglio techniques that includes engraving, drypoint and aquatint — transformed his career. But he said the process was physical and time-consuming. ‘Etching is so slow that you have a lot of time to think while you work on your plates,’ he said in a 1995 oral history interview with the University of Wisconsin-Madison.”

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