Mauricio Lasansky, Quetzalcoatl, 1972, intaglio, 78 1/8 x 36 1/8 in., gift of the Van Meter Company, in memory of Russell W. Lemley, 75.1, © The Lasansky Corporation.
Mauricio Lasansky is one of the most important and innovative printmakers of the twentieth century. Born in 1914 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he studied art in his native city. By the age of 22, Lasansky had already won numerous international prizes for his work and was appointed director of an art school in Cordoba, Argentina. In 1943, Lasansky was awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship—the first of five he has won during his career—and used the fellowship to visit the United States, where he spent more than a year studying the extensive print collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. He also worked at Stanley William Hayter’s famous Atelier 17 printmaking studio. In 1945 he was invited to teach at the University of Iowa, where he quickly set about reinvigorating the printmaking program. With Lasansky’s guidance, this program quickly gained international attention. Lasansky remained the head of the department until 1984 and today many of his students are well-known artists and teachers, and the University of Iowa printmaking department continues to be widely recognized.
Lasansky’s images explore aspects of the human condition—from the innocence of children and the love of family to the unthinkable horrors of war. The Lasansky Collection of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art consists of more than 250 works that span the length of the artist’s career.