Experiments by American artists from 1960 onwards
23 March – 16 June 2013

It is impressive how an entire generation of artists in the USA is falling for the fetish of mass goods and their media presence. And it is astonishing with what sure instincts these young people turn to the European continent to realise their works and trust solid Swabian craftsmanship. The Domberger print shop in Filderstadt is a shining example of this. For decades, the compositions of American artists were printed there, the various stages of production, handwritten notes and corrections by the artists as well as a wide variety of proofs and originals were collected and preserved.

Thanks to the acquisition of the unique private collection of screen-printing entrepreneur Michael Domberger by the state of Baden-Württemberg in 2009, the Staatsgalerie can now present highlights of this collection to a broad public for the first time. A total of 140 works by renowned American artists of Op and Pop Art, complemented by works by Andy Warhol from the gallery's own collection, illustrate how screen printing began its triumphant march in the second half of the 20th century.

From commercials to art

Many young American artists turned to screen printing in the 1960s. The result surprised them with a sensational colour intensity that equalled that of paintings with oil or acrylic paint. Previously used mainly in commercials, this new printing process soon advanced to become the most important medium of Op and Pop Art. Famous artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein or Keith Haring used further technical possibilities and printed on canvas, foil, metal or plastic. For the painters of Op Art, such as Josef and Anni Albers, and Photorealism, such as Richard Estes, the precision and sharpness of screen printing also offers optimal conditions for the realisation of their ideas.

Experimental phases precede the actual printing, for the transformation of studio designs into the new world of colour has its limits and also demands the greatest sensitivity from the printer. American artists in particular see this as an incentive and an opportunity. Once the test print is in front of their eyes, they correct and change it or comment on it enthusiastically. The exhibition impressively demonstrates this exciting process of creation.

Accompanying publication as a special edition with original silkscreen printing

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue that sheds light on the creation of the serigraphs by Domberger and places the medium, which was new at the time, in its historical context. In addition, Michael Domberger provides insights into his friendly, often unusual relationship with the famous greats of Op and Pop Art.

In addition, a limited special edition with an original silkscreen by Robert Indiana was published.