The Old Print Shop

Matt Phillips


Matt Phillips was born in New York City. He originally was interested in being a poet and studied literature at the University of Chicago. During this time he also studied at the Barnes Foundation, Merion, PA. He then went to Europe to continue his artistic training returning to the United States in 1964 to teach at Bard College, after retiring from teaching in 1987 Matt Phillips dedicated himself to exhibitions and world travel. Over his lifetime Matt Phillips has had over 60 solo exhibitions. His work was shown in: "Singular Impressions: The Monotype in America" - The National Museum of American Art Washington, DC; "The Painterly Print" - Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; "The New American Monotypes" - Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; "The Monotype, An Edition of One: Avery, Prendergast, Walkowitz, Phillips" - Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN; and others. Phillips has received grants and awards by Pollock-Krasner Foundation; Bard College; National Endowment for the Arts; and John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. He died in California on March 1, 2017.

His work is in many museum collections including Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA; Library of Congress, Washington, DC; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; New York Public Library, New York, NY; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, and others.

“I think of my monotypes as colored poems, enclosed in mystery. Matisse once wrote that black is a color. White is too, and all the off whites, their tones and intervals and shapes and spaces, made possible by paper and printing, fascinate me. Ultimately monotype is just another method which allows us to get our work done. It is one form of discreet communication."
Matt Phillips, Monotypes, 1961-1975.

Monotypes are made by drawing or painting with oil paint or printer’s ink directly on glass, metal, plastic, wood or stone and then printed by either hand or press. Usually the first impression is sought, but some artists prefer the second or third more muted and suggestive impression. Since it is a unique print, there are never editions. Tools used are the traditional spoon, brayer or baren. Either an etching or lithograph press can be used, depending on whether a plate or stone is the painted base.

The Old Print Shop has a great selection of monotypes created by Matt Phillips between 1960's and 1970's. During this period he lived in both New York City and Paris. He settled in the New York area upon being named chair of the art department at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson. Phillips is a master of the monotype and an important figure in establishing this creative process as a legitimate art form.