Considered one of the world's Masters of Intaglio, Myers was a renowned professor and innovator in the art of Printmaking.
Malcolm H. Myers
(American, 1924 - 2002)
Malcolm Myers is considered one of the greats in American Intaglio Printmaking. He is widely recognized for revolutionizing the Art Department and developing printmaking at the University of Minnesota, where he began teaching in 1948. As a printmaker and painter, his work has been shown worldwide and can be found in famous collections both public and private.
Myers was a 1940 graduate of the University of Iowa, with a BFA in Fine Arts, followed by a Master of Arts in Watercolor. After a brief stint in the military, he returned to Iowa to work with legendary printmaker Mauricio Lasansky, earning another MFA — this time in Printmaking.
In the following years he would receive two Guggenheim Fellowships, allowing him to work in Bill Hayter’s historic Paris studio Altier 17, and in Mexico City, where he interacted with Diego Rivera and Rufino Tamayo. In the the next decades, Myers taught at the U of MN inspiring countless students and fellow artists, and traveled the world until his death in 2002.
Malcom Myers left behind an incredible number of paintings and prints — a prolific creator in an artistic career spanning more than six decades. Much of his art features lively animal characters, jazz music and musicians, and mythical figures, often blending together aspects of the real and fantastic.
Museum, Public and Corporate Collections:
The Brooklyn Museum, New York, NY
Carleton College, Northfield, MN
Cincinnati Art Museum, OH
Coos Art Museum, Coos Bay, OR
Catherine G. Murphy Gallery, College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, MN
Dennison University Art Gallery, Granville, OH
Hamline University, St. Paul, MN
Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis, MN
Library of Congress, Washington. D.C.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis Public Library, Minneapolis, MN
The New York Public Library, New York, NY
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ
Rochester Art Center, Rochester, MN
The St. Louis Art Museum, St Louis, MO
St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN
Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS
Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA
Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
Weisman Museum, University of Minnesota, MN
Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, KS
Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, France
Jilin University, Changchun, China
United States Embassy, Bonn, Germany
University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland
The American National Bank, St. Paul, MN
Best and Flanagan, Minneapolis, MN
Faegre & Benson, Minneapolis, MN
First National Bank of Minneapolis, Minneapolis, MN
General Mills Incorporated, Minneapolis, MN
North Central Life Insurance Company, St. Paul, MN
Northwestern National Life Insurance, Minneapolis, MN
The Pillsbury Company, Minneapolis, MN
Piper Jaffray, Minneapolis, MN
The Saint Paul Companies, St. Paul, MN
3M, St. Paul, MN
Full Biography: Life and Career
Malcolm Myers, (b.1917-2002)
Malcolm H. Myers was born in 1917, in the Chillicothe-
Lucerne, Missouri area. He went to west Texas as a child, with his father, due to the depression to work in the oil fields around McCamey, Texas.
His family eventually returned to the Wichita, Kansas area in the mid 1930’s. Subsequently, thanks to the patronage of a family friend, Meyers attended Wichita State University for Art, studying under famed Kansan, Clayton Staples. While at university, he also won many Track and Field awards, and was named outstanding athlete in his conference – becoming an alternate for the cancelled 1940 Olympics.
Myers graduated from WSU in 1940 and along with friend Garnet Cox, traveled to the University of Iowa at Iowa City to enroll in graduate school under Grant Wood. Although Wood was no longer there, he still enrolled and got by on odd jobs until receiving a full scholarship the next year, studying with Fletcher Martin, Emil Ganso and Mauricio Lasansky (known as the “the Nation’s most Influential Printmaker"). There he earned his Master of Arts in Watercolor.
Afterward, he and friends joined the US Merchant Marine to support the WW ll effort. He traveled to Catalina Island, California for training and was then sent to Officers School in Sheepshead Bay, New York. There he became an Ensign, but as he was about to get his permanent commission, the war ended. While in New York City, he explored his blossoming love of Jazz music. He went to many Blues and Jazz clubs and saw many greats like Dizzy Gillespie, Mile Davis and Billy Holiday. He liked The Blues and Jazz his entire life and it influenced his work greatly.
Meanwhile, Myers married his longtime Kansas sweetheart Roberta King and after the war they stayed on in New York. There, he had an opportunity to attend the Art Students League in NY but felt that most artists there were not spending a great deal of time on serious art endeavors. He decided to return to Iowa. At Iowa, he met the Argentinean Print Master Mauricio Lasansky, who was there on a Guggenheim fellowship, and eventually worked with Lasansky teaching for two years and becoming a fine printmaker himself.
Then, in 1948, H. Harvard Arnason came to Iowa City, recruiting people to teach in the Department of Art at the University of Minnesota. He hired Myers as well as his close friend Raymond Parker, and the two young artists moved to Minnesota. Myers subsequently started the U of MN printmaking department in Jones Hall, and over the next few years, was instrumental in organizing the B.F.A. program, and eventually the Arts Graduate Program.
In 1950, Myers received a Guggenheim Fellowship and spent almost 2 years in Paris, working in Bill Hayter’s iconic printmaking studio, Atelier 17. It was here that he met Joan Miró, Enrique Zanartu and other artists involved in the art of printmaking. Roberta enrolled in the famous millinery school, Guerre d'Lavigne, where she earned a diploma. The couple lived in the Hotel Perreyve, near the Luxembourg Gardens and traveled extensively in Europe.
Myers was awarded a second Guggenheim Fellowship, in 1954, and spent the year working in Mexico City, Mexico. There he met Diego Rivera and became interested in pre-Columbian art. In Mexico, he renewed his friendship with Mexican painter Rufino Tamayo, whom he had met in Paris at Jacques Desjobert & Sons, a famous lithograph workshop. He created many works – both paintings and prints -- while in Mexico but did not have an easy time with life in the culture of Mexico City.
During the 1960's, Myers became a full professor and led the art department at the University of Minnesota through many transitions and much growth. The Department of Art in Jones Hall was revised, programs were added, and the department was moved into the Naegele building, all while Myers served as the first Chair of the new Art Department (1965-70).
For Myers, the 1980’s were a decade of much travel, including stints in Arizona and New York City which greatly influenced his work. He also retired (becoming Professor Emeritus) and spent summers in the American West, Yellowstone and Phoenix. When Roberta Myers passed away in 1992 Myers stopped traveling, focusing on his art and teaching. In fact, Myers never stopped teaching, conducting two or more classes each semester at the University of Minnesota until his death, at 84, in March of 2002. Myers was remarried to artist Marilyn Jenneman in 1996. She currently resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
During his career Myers created works in all 3 of his disciplines: Painting, Watercolor and Intaglio/Printmaking. He is remembered most frequently as one of the masters of printmaking in the USA. His subjects and art series included: Animals (Rabbits, Fox, Possum…), Circus and Clowns, Jazz, The Wild West, Cowboys and Indians, City Mouse, Mythology, Don Quixote, Wise Guys and Gangsters, Walking his Dog, God and the Devil, Knights and many self-portraits.
In the studio, he was influenced most by the rhythms of jazz, stating, “I change the lines and shapes – usually many times – until I feel some image that I like is emerging. I have been a devotee of progressive jazz for a long time and like to think that my attitude about executing a print has something in common with the improvisational aspects of good jazz music.” Accordingly, unexpected line impressions and thumbprints would often be accepted and incorporated into the work. The artist exhibited a passion for drawing nature at an early age. And those forms would return in his mature work. “I have a deep respect for animals, birds – all living things – which I attempt to convey in many of my prints,” he explained. “I try to show the uniqueness of creatures that I portray. This very possibly may be the influence of my early reading of books about Peter Rabbit, Danny Meadow Mouse, and Blacky the Crow.”