Ink, Paper, Stone: Six Women Artists and the Language of Lithography

On View: October 14, 2022 - February 13, 2023
Release Date: July 11, 2022

Pasadena, CA—The Norton Simon Museum presents Ink, Paper, Stone: Six Women Artists and the Language of Lithography, an exhibition featuring works on paper by six critically acclaimed artists: Ruth Asawa, Gego, Eleanore Mikus, Louise Nevelson, Irene Siegel and Hedda Sterne. Each of them received a two-month fellowship at the famed Tamarind Lithography Workshop, founded by the visionary printmaker June Wayne in 1960. Although they had established their reputations in other media, including painting, sculpture and installation art, all of the artists in this exhibition found that lithography offered fascinating new possibilities for exploring their aesthetic interests. The more than 90 works on view, all created in the 1960s, are part of the Norton Simon Museum collection, which owns a near complete set of lithographs created at the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles.

Ruth Asawa (American, 1926–2013) is best known for her hanging sculptures, created in looped and tied wire. At Tamarind in 1965, she eagerly experimented with a variety of lithographic techniques, to the delight of her printers. Inspired by subjects from the natural world, Asawa brought forth images that combined abstraction with representation. Her work on the stone ranged from delicate, precise floral studies to loose applications with greasy ink washes that favored chance patterns in the printing.

Gertrud Goldschmidt (Venezuelan, b. Germany, 1912–1994), the Caracas-based sculptor and printmaker known as Gego, arrived at Tamarind in 1966. Trained as an architect and engineer, Gego embedded qualities of volume, motion and transparency in her line-based works on paper and in her admired Reticuláreas—weblike, ethereal installations fabricated from wire and metal. At Tamarind, Gego directed her efforts toward eliciting the kinetic sensation that distinguished her other lithographs. She introduced unexpected interruptions, subtle dips and hatchings to her line work on the stone, adding flux as well as a note of whimsy.

Eleanore Mikus’s Tablets, a hybrid form of painting and relief crafted from wood, fiberglass, glue and gesso, received critical acclaim in New York’s art world in the 1960s. Often associated with minimalism because they were reductive and monochromatic, they feature subtly fluctuating surfaces. Their intimations of cast shadows, suggestive of movement, encourage looking and contemplation. Mikus (American, 1927–2017) achieved comparable results with her works on paper by hand-manipulating the material prior to drawing. At Tamarind in 1968, the artist added dimension to her printing papers by folding them and employing a bookbinder’s knife to add horizontal and vertical creases prior to printing her designs.

Louise Nevelson (American, 1899–1988) presented a novel vision for sculpture in mid-century America. Adopting unorthodox materials and processes to create monumental, monochromatic constructions made from wood and found objects, Nevelson demonstrated that women artists, too, could successfully produce large-scale sculpture. At Tamarind in 1967, she continued to challenge convention by printing on shaped papers and placing inked cheesecloth over the stone to impose textural impressions that transferred to the prints. She even hinged select prints together, like assemblages, with the goal of creating three-dimensional environments. Nevelson’s inventive approaches freed her lithographs from their traditional format, expanding expectations of how they should look and function.

Drawing and intaglio printmaking were Irene Siegel’s métier. Trained at the Institute of Design in Chicago, Siegel (American, b. 1932) developed a personal figurative vocabulary informed by experiences from her immediate world—the intersection of life dreams and practical considerations, and the dynamics of the male-female relationship. She adopted a color- and pattern-forward style that she described as “pop-surrealism.” At Tamarind in 1967, the artist found the lithographic process complementary to her architectonic approach to composition. To achieve the crisp edges she desired, Siegel preferred hard-grade lithographic pencils and crayons for their low grease content. She exhausted her implements so quickly that her workshop colleagues nicknamed her the “woodpecker.”

The radically modern character of New York City, where Hedda Sterne immigrated in 1941, inspired her abstract painting. A familiar presence in the city’s art world, Sterne (American, b. Romania, 1910–2011) participated actively in gallery exhibits, a notable circumstance for a female artist at mid-century. Unlike her Abstract Expressionist contemporaries, with whom she was critically linked, her painting style was disciplined and structured. When she reached Tamarind, at age 56 in 1967, her artistic interests became more focused as she turned to the natural world for inspiration. Though she was still interested in evoking the essential features of her subjects through abstraction, Sterne’s lithographs engage with the organic forms of vegetation and the illusory effects of sea and sky.

Describing her folded paper work from this period, Eleanore Mikus advised viewers to pay close attention, for “the more you look, the more you see.” Ink, Paper, Stone explores the significance of that observation in the works of art themselves, as well as in the lives of these groundbreaking women artists, who navigated the complex and competing expectations of an art world in which female achievement was measured by a different set of standards.

Ink, Paper, Stone: Six Women Artists and the Language of Lithography is organized by Gloria Williams Sander, Curator at the Norton Simon Museum. It is on view in the Museum’s lower-level exhibition wing from October 14, 2022 through February 13, 2023. A series of virtual and in-person public programs will be offered in conjunction with the exhibition. Details will be made available in early fall.

Press Contacts

Leslie Denk
(626) 844-6900
[email protected]

Emma Jacobson-Sive
(323) 842-2064
[email protected]


Press Kit


Request Images

High-resolution images from the exhibition may be obtained by filling out the form below.


Related Links

Visit the Exhibition page.

Images for the Press

Ruth Asawa's 1965 lithograph Desert Plant

Ruth Asawa (American, 1926-2013)
Desert Plant, 1965
Lithograph, 1st state
Sheet: 18 x 18 in. (45.7 x 45.7 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Anonymous Gift
P.1967.20.134
Artwork © Estate of Ruth Asawa

Ruth Asawa's 1965 lithograph Plane Trees II

Ruth Asawa (American, 1926-2013)
Plane Trees II, 1965
Lithograph
Sheet: 22 x 30 in. (55.9 x 76.2 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Anonymous Gift
P.1966.07.124
Artwork © Estate of Ruth Asawa

Ruth Asawa's 1965 lithograph Poppy

Ruth Asawa (American, 1926-2013)
Poppy, 1965
Lithograph
Sheet: 30 x 20-1/2 in. (76.2 x 52.1 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Anonymous Gift
P.1966.07.135
Artwork © Estate of Ruth Asawa

Gego's 1966 lithograph titled 5 X Gego #4

Gego (Venezuelan, 1912-1994)
5 X Gego #4, 1966
Lithograph
Sheet: 11 x 11 in. (27.94 x 27.94 cm.)
Norton Simon Museum, Anonymous Gift
P.1968.27.101
© Fundación Gego

Gego's 1966 Untitled lithograph

Gego (Venezuelan, 1912-1994)
Untitled, 1966
Lithograph
Sheet: 32 x 23 in. (81.28 x 58.42 cm.)
Norton Simon Museum, Anonymous Gift
P.1968.27.190
© Fundación Gego

Gego's 1966 lithograph "Untitled #4"

Gego (Venezuelan, 1912-1994)
Untitled #4, 1966
Lithograph
Sheet: 18-1/2 x 12-1/2 in. (46.99 x 31.75 cm.)
Norton Simon Museum, Anonymous Gift
P.1968.27.183
© Fundación Gego

Eleanore Mikus's 1968 lithograph Tablet Litho 2

Eleanore Mikus (American, 1927-2017)
Tablet Litho 2, 1968
Lithograph
Paper: 36 x 24 in. (91.44 x 60.96 cm.)
Norton Simon Museum, Anonymous Gift
P.1969.092.439
© Eleanore Mikus

Eleanore Mikus's 1968 lithograph Tablet Litho 6

Eleanore Mikus (American, 1927-2017)
Tablet Litho 6, 1968
Lithograph
Paper: 20-1/4 x 14 in. (51.44 x 35.56 cm.)
Norton Simon Museum, Anonymous Gift
P.1969.092.444
© Eleanore Mikus

Eleanore Mikus's 1968 lithograph Tablet Litho 9

Eleanore Mikus (American, 1927-2017)
Tablet Litho 9, 1968
Lithograph
Paper: 32 x 23 in. (81.28 x 58.42 cm.)
Norton Simon Museum, Anonymous Gift
P.1969.092.443
© Eleanore Mikus

Louise Nevelson's Untitled lithograph from 1967

Louise Nevelson (American, 1899-1988)
Untitled, 1967
Lithograph
Overall: 36-1/2 x 52 in. (92.7 x 132.1 cm); Each: 36-1/2 x 26 in. (97.7 x 66.0 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Anonymous Gift
P.1969.092.346-347
© Estate of Louise Nevelson / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Louise Nevelson's Untitled 1967 lithograph

Louise Nevelson (American, 1899-1988)
Untitled, 1967
Lithograph
36 x 48-1/4 in. (91.4 x 122.6 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Anonymous Gift
P.1969.092.348-349
© Estate of Louise Nevelson / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Louise Nevelson's untitled 1967 lithograph

Louise Nevelson (American, 1899-1988)
Untitled, 1967
Lithograph
36-1/2 x 57-1/4 in. (92.7 x 145.4 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Anonymous Gift
P.1969.092.344-345
© Estate of Louise Nevelson / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Irene Siegel's 1967 lithograph Hollywood Nap (Bliss Suite I)

Irene Siegel (American, b. 1932)
Hollywood Nap (Bliss Suite I), 1967
Lithograph; (One from a suite of four prints)
Paper: 23 x 34 in. (58.4 x 86.4 cm.)
Norton Simon Museum, Anonymous Gift
P.1971.7.045
© Irene Siegel

Irene Siegel's 1967 lithograph Untitled Suite

Irene Siegel (American, b. 1932)
Wedgewood (Untitled Suite 1), 1967
Lithograph
Paper: 18 x 15 in. (45.7 x 38.1 cm.); Image 14-1/2 x 12 in. (36.8 x 30.5 cm.)
Norton Simon Museum, Anonymous Gift
P.1969.092.321
© Irene Siegel

Irene Siegel's 1967 lithograph titled Zap (Ogg, Zog, Zap and Xis III)

Irene Siegel (American, b. 1932)
Zap (Ogg, Zog, Zap and Xis III), 1967
Lithograph
Paper: 21-3/4 x 30 in. (55.25 x 76.2 cm.)
Norton Simon Museum, Anonymous Gift
P.1969.092.319
© Irene Siegel

Hedda Sterne's 1967 lithograph Untitled (Metaphores and Metamorphoses I

Hedda Sterne (American, b. Romania, 1910-2011)
Untitled (Metaphores and Metamorphoses I), 1967
Lithograph
Paper: 20 x 20 in. (50.8 x 50.8 cm.); Image: 14 x 14 in. (35.6 x 35.6 cm.)
Norton Simon Museum, Anonymous Gift
P.1967.20.272
© 2022 The Hedda Sterne Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Hedda Sterne's 1967 lithograph Untitled (Metaphores and Metamorphoses IX)

Hedda Sterne (American, b. Romania, 1910-2011)
Untitled (Metaphores and Metamorphoses IX), 1967
Lithograph
Paper: 20 x 20 in. (50.8 x 50.8 cm.)
Norton Simon Museum, Anonymous Gift
P.1967.20.280
© 2022 The Hedda Sterne Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Hedda Sterne's 1967 lithograph Untitled (The Vertical Horizontals IV)

Hedda Sterne (American, b. Romania, 1910-2011)
Untitled (The Vertical Horizontals IV), 1967
Lithograph
Paper: 21-3/4 x 14 in. (55.2 x 35.6 cm.); Image: 11 x 6-3/4 in. (27.9 x 17.1 cm.)
Norton Simon Museum, Anonymous Gift
P.1967.20.284
© 2022 The Hedda Sterne Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

0 items selected

About the Norton Simon Museum

The Norton Simon Museum is known around the world as one of the most remarkable private art collections ever assembled. Over a 30-year period, industrialist Norton Simon (1907–1993) amassed an astonishing collection of European art from the Renaissance to the 20th century, and a stellar collection of South and Southeast Asian art spanning 2,000 years. Modern and Contemporary Art from Europe and the United States, acquired by the former Pasadena Art Museum, also occupies an important place in the Museum’s collections. The Museum houses more than 12,000 objects, roughly 1,000 of which are on view in the galleries and gardens. Two temporary exhibition spaces feature rotating installations of artworks not on permanent display.

Location: The Norton Simon Museum is located at 411 W. Colorado Blvd. at Orange Grove Boulevard in Pasadena, Calif., at the intersection of the Foothill (210) and Ventura (134) freeways. For general Museum information, please call (626) 449-6840 or visit nortonsimon.org.

Connect with Us: Visit us online for information on our many virtual programs, or stay connected through our social media channels.

  nortonsimon.org

instagram new logo  @nortonsimon

Twitter   @nortonsimon

FB   /nortonsimonmuseum