The Old Print Shop

John Ross

1921 - 2017

John Ross, painter, printmaker, author, and educator, was born in New York City on September 25, 1921. He received a BFA from Cooper Union School of Art in New York where he studied from 1939 - 1948 with artists Morris Kantor and Will Barnet. Ross attended the Parson School of Design for a short time in 1939 and studied at Ecole des Beaux Arts in Fontainebleau, France, in 1949. Upon his return to New York City in 1950, he furthered his art studies at the New School for Social Research and at Columbia University. 

Ross was a Professor and taught studio art at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York, from 1964 - 1986. He designed the BFA program and served as chair of the art department from 1966 to 1972.  Ross also taught printmaking for over 50 years at the New School in New York City. He was a president and longtime member of the Society of American Graphic Artists (SAGA) and was elected Academician in the National Academy of Design in 1983. His accolades include the Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant for Printmaking in 1954; five MacDowell Colony Fellowships from 1977-1983; the National Arts Club Printmaking Award in 1995; the National Academy of Design - Shatalov Prize in 2001; and the Society of American Graphic Artists Award in 2005.  

Ross’s work has been widely shown, including over 60 solo exhibitions.   His work is in the collections of the Boston Public Library, Boston, MA; British Library, London, UK; Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC; Library of Congress, Washington, DC; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; National Academy of Design, New York, NY; Newark Museum, Newark, NJ; Philadelphia Public Library, Phila. PA; Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, DC; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY: among many others.

Ross and artist wife, Clare Romano, co-authored the classic The Complete Printmaker in 1972 followed by The Complete Screen Print and Lithograph (1974), The Complete Relief Print (1974), The Complete New Techniques in Printmaking (1974) , The Complete Intaglio Print (1974) and The Complete Collagraph (1980).  He collaborated with a Baltimore, MD publisher and opened The High Tide Press -working with other artists and creating many of his own exquisite Artists Books and Portfolios.  

“One of the most useful printmaking techniques for my images is the collagraph, which I helped to develop.  The plates for this method are generally made of mat board with gesso adhering paper, fabrics, cardboard and found objects to the mat board base. Razor blades can cut lines and other shapes to place on the base.  From these ordinary materials, I can create city streets, mountains, canyons, pueblo dwellings, oil refineries, skyscrapers, and other constructions, either realistic or visionary.”