[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]
Walter G. Cleveland (born 1940)
“Fish on a Plate”
color etching on paper / 7.75 inches by 9.75 inches (plate size)
“Blueberries on a Plate”
color etching on paper / 7 inches by 7.75 inches (plate size)
During the 1960s the Ferdinand Roten Galleries of Baltimore, Maryland, made the rounds of college campuses selling original art. Today student Unions are visited by purveyors of cheap posters strewn on folding tables to decorate dorm room walls. Roten’s works, by contrast, were commissioned from living artists, from whom they purchased the entire edition — often a hundred prints or more. Sold at rock bottom prices, even for the 60s, the prints were presented well and were often the beginning of a personal collection. These two prints by American artist Walter Cleveland were acquired that way.
Roten’s sales staff consisted of graduate students who drove an art-filled van across America, announcing by poster the day before their arrival. For four hours, morning or afternoon, a wide range of artistic styles could be acquired for as little as $5 or $10. They probably arrived in Agincourt from Drake University in Des Moines and pushed on the Morningside College in Sioux City. These are two of their prints left behind that formed the basis for a small collection that has been donated anonymously to the Community Collection over the years. One was acquired from Roten circa 1965, the other from an unknown later source.
Of Walter Cleveland himself, there is not much to say. One on-line source (though hardly authoritative) offers this summary:
Walter Cleveland, “Orchids” US. Born 1940
Education: Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; Orange Coast College; Pasadena City College. Exhibitions: Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts 1960, 1961; Los Angeles County Art Museum, 1962 ; California State Fair 2 years; Small Images II at California State LA 1967. Purchased by the US Info Agency for Overseas Embassies; Ithaca College Art Museum.
Biographical Information: Born in Santa Barbara and raised in a rural atmosphere where his appreciation for nature was fostered. He enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where he first studied print-making with Morris Blackburn. At Pasadena City College he studied under Shiro Ikegawa and Ben Sakoguchi.