C.A. Seward

1884 - 1939

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Lloyd Foltz 1897 - 1990

 

Biographical Essay by Novelene Ross, former Curator of the Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, KS

Lloyd Foltz was always quick to acknowledge his debt to the initiative and teaching of C.A. Seward, telling one interviewer, “I call him ‘my daddy’ as far as art is concerned.” The relationship of Lloyd Foltz to C.A. Seward and the consequent story of Foltz’s transition from commercial draftsman to artistic printmaker typifies the rise of the fine arts professional in early twentieth century mid-America. Foltz’s inspiration to become an artist derived from an innate talent for drawing. His artistic training consisted of a correspondence course in cartooning, a ten-week course in life drawing at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, and the fortunate happenstance of meeting a master printer and fine arts missionary in the person of his art department supervisor, C. A. Seward, at the commercial printing firm of Western Lithograph, Wichita, Kansas. Seward inspired Foltz and all the young men working under him to aspire to the heroic traditions of printmaking, then gave them practical instruction on his own time.

From these few precious seeds of creative origins, Foltz made himself into an artist. Through experimentation, dedicated practice of his craft, and the maturation of his aesthetic sensibility via gradual exposure to contemporary print production in national competition, Foltz lived the experience of an “arts frontiersman.” Working after hours, he produced more than a hundred fine arts prints, all of them admirably polished in observation and execution, the best of them exhibiting a subtle restraint of “telling” in favor of purely poetic evocations of nature, industrial dynamism, and time.

Of all the Wichitans mentored by Seward, Foltz probably came closest to matching the technical versatility of the master. He produced outstanding art prints in etching, drypoint, aquatint, block print - black & white and color - and lithography.  Foltz further demonstrated the soul of the self -sufficient maker by designing and constructing his own printing presses.  In a 1931 photograph Foltz is shown working at his etching press. For this press, Foltz machined an old street car axel to make the large roller; then he mounted the roller so that it would pivot and move across a stationary bed.

Foltz’s working method typically involved the development of the image in preliminary sketches, including some very finished drawings. The artist once explained that he worked from nature, making sketches on site, but that these immediate records were only a starting point. Foltz adhered to the classical ideal that a finished work of art should incorporate elements of memory and imagination and that the presentation of the subject should be dictated by concern for the beauty and power of formal composition.

Upon leaving Chicago Foltz returned to Topeka where he opened his own business as a free-lance illustrator with an office on the capital’s prestigious south side . His commissions proved diverse but too meager to pay his rent or to support his new ambition to marry a lovely young woman, Elsie Eberhart, of Topeka.  Foltz met Eberhart on a train ride when both were enroute to an Epworth League convention in Baldwin, Kansas.  Foltz, who had been obsessed by locomotive engines since childhood, was destined to conduct the courtship of his sweetheart by train when opportunity sent him to Wichita to accept a job with the Capper Engraving Company in 1924:

…it would seem appropriate to credit the Santa Fe Railroad with having contributed, in a practical way, to our romance. I had no car, so the Pullman sleeping car on the sidetrack near the Wichita passenger station seemed to have been placed there for my convenience. I could board it on a Saturday evening, go to sleep and awaken on the Topeka sidetrack Sunday Morning. The coach shuttled regularly on a nightly schedule between the two cities, enabling me to stroll from Pullman to art department on Monday morning. Of course, I was not so well fixed that I could afford such deluxe service every weekend.

Following his retirement from thirty- four years employment at Western Lithograph, Foltz conducted a successful business (1969-1983) as a free lance illustrator and architectural draftsman, winning commissions from numerous Wichita firms. He began painting in watercolor and oil early in his career and was to become a member of the Kansas Watercolor Society and the Wichita Artists Guild. However, he did not take up painting as his primary artistic medium until about the last ten years of his life. At the age of 88, Foltz won the Southwestern Bell competition to illustrate the cover of the 1986 Bell Telephone directory with a watercolor titled Ah! Kansas.

 
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born - 1897  farm in Flint Hills of Kansas

died - 1990, Wichita, Kansas


Education:

Chicago Academy of Fine Arts


Professional Positions:

1918-1922 draftsman, telephone company

1922-1923 Free Lance Design

1923-1925 Capper Engraving

1925-1965 Western Lithograph

1965-1990 Free Lance Design & Architectural rendering


Exhibitions and Honors:

Founding Member of the

Prairie Print Makers

2 Gift Prints (Ozark Valley for 1935, Ghost Town for1962)


International Printmakers Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA

1927, 1928,  1931-36, & 1938


Chicago Society of Etchers,

28th Annual Exhibition, 1938


Society of American Etchers

19th Annual Exhibition, 1934


New York World’s Fair 1939


1936 Jury Award,

American Block Prints Exhibition,

Wichita Art Association


1929 - 1937

Midwestern (Midwest Artists’ Exhibitions) - Kansas City Art Institute

1929 - oil - Upland Wheat, prints - Still it Stands, Prairie home, Modern Mills, Out of the West, Monongahela

1931 - Bronze Medal, Mountain Village  (image in catalogue)

1933 Rural Line, Village of the Plains

1937 Honorable Mention, Fisherman’s Cove


1968 - Gift Print for Friends of Art, Kansas State University


1992 Retrospective, Wichita Art Museum


Member of:

Prairie Print Makers

Printmakers Society of California

Rocky Mountain Printmakers

Chicago Society of Etchers

Northwest Printmakers

Wichita Artists Guild


Museum Collections include:

Kansas City Art Institute

Wichita Art Museum

Kansas State University

Chicago Art Institute

Spencer Museum of Art

Library of Congress

National Gallery of Art

 

The images below represent only a small portion of the prints made by Foltz.  His primary focus was block prints and thus they represent the largest group  of  the images below.

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