The Old Print Shop

Howard N. Cook


Howard Cook - printmaker, painter, and muralist - was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, on July 16, 1901.  He studied painting and drawing at the Art Students League on a scholarship from 1919 to 1921 and returned to the League in 1922 to study etching under Joseph Pennell. He liked to travel and spent most of the mid-twenties traveling and sketching.  In 1922 he was in Europe, 1923 the Far East, 1925 the Middle East and Europe, and in 1926 worked on a passenger ship that ran between New York and San Francisco.  He then traveled as an illustrator for Forum Magazine to Santa Fe, New Mexico. While in Taos, New Mexico, he met and married Barbara Latham, a fellow New England artist. He had his first one-man exhibition at the Denver Art Museum in 1927.  Over the next two decades, he had over twenty one-man shows in New York, Texas, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

Cook was a master printmaker working in etching, aquatint, lithography, woodcut, and wood engraving. He printed his own images with the exception of the lithographs which were printed by George Miller and other experienced craftsmen. He found visual stimulus in the dramatic skyscrapers and bridges of New York City. From the unusual perspectives in the woodcuts, "The New Yorker" and "Skyscraper," to the shimmering city in the lithograph, "New York Night," one can see that his vision was different than his contemporaries. 

Although he visited New York City often, New Mexico was home. His works from the Southwest are images of pueblos and wonderful rock formations of the region.  During 1932 on his first Guggenheim Fellowship, he studied the art and people of Mexico. During his second Guggenheim Fellowship in 1934, he traveled through the Ozark Mountains and the American South producing a fine body of landscapes and portraits.