C.A. Seward

1884 - 1939

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Images on this page ( left to right, top to bottom):  photo of Capper Engraving staff, Seward (far right), Seward’s backyard studio in about 1935, Western Lithograph Company Building -(photograph from the WSU Library Photo Archives) photograph of Western Lithograph staff members -C. Capps, Lloyd Foltz, OrlanVoth, Clarence Hotvedt & Loren Kennedy (private collection) and a linocut print of Seward by one of his “students”, Herschel Logan, a Charter Member of the Prairie Print Makers.

 

Seward - Mentor

Seward’s advice to his reader in his museum guidebook on lithographs (Enjoy your Museum IIG: Lithographs) provides insight into why he was such a skillful teacher and mentor.  Respect for the individual artist’s style, medium, and message must have been Seward’s own personal teaching mantra.


“To gain the full enjoyment of a lithograph we must approach it with the zest of the adventurer - not caring whether the artist belongs to the Mid-Victorian period, the ultra-modern, or the so-called conservative.  Let neither subject matter, technique or any other deterring suggestion raise a finger of caution at your approach, for after all it can be neither technique, subject matter, nor the individuality of the artist alone which moves you to admire any print.”


Even just a quick glance at the prints created by five of his best known students immediately reveals that Seward was a master teacher. His students did not imitate their teacher rather they produced their own images and only Dickerson and occasionally Foltz chose to work with Seward’s favorite print medium, lithography.


He taught technique and craftsmanship, and most definitely enthusiasm for new discoveries and perfection.  Clarence Hotvedt expressed this quite elegantly when in a 1964 lecture about Seward he said, “If our activities have gone into a decline in the printmaking field it is a tribute to Seward.  Blame it on the craze for abstract art if you will or the disinterest on the part of Art Juries in the more representational forms of art but a lot of it is due to the fact that we no longer have Seward to push us into action.”


Hotvedt, Foltz, Capps and Dickerson were among those artists in Wichita who turned to Seward for mentoring.  Foltz in later interviews fondly remembered “Saturdays at Seward’s studio”  “These were glorious years wherein C.A. and I along with Chili Capps, Courtney, Bill Dickerson and others experimented with lithographs, etchings, and blockprints.  There were also Hotvedt, Logan and Arthur and Norma Hall getting together on many occasions up to our chins in printmaking.” Logan described his first experience with making a print during an interview for a catalog about all of the founding members of the Prairie Print Makers. His story described how by chance he overheard a conversation one day when Seward was visiting his boss, Robert Aitchison at McCormick-Armstrong Company.  Their discussion was about woodcuts, a term which was unfamiliar to Logan.  When Logan asked Aitchson what a woodcut was, he suggested that Logan could learn from Seward, and that same evening he went to Seward’s studio.  Logan explained that this ”was the beginning of an enduring friendship with this gentle and modest man.”  The catalog further documents that despite his exposure to other means of expression through association with Seward and the others, Logan made only a single lithograph and a few drypoints. The main body of Logan’s work was produced between 1921 to 1938  for he confessed,  “With the passing of my wonderful friend, my interest in the graphic arts further declined.” 


Today, it is impossible to imagine how many artists would have turned to Seward for instruction or advice.  For despite his full time job as Art director at Western Lithograph and his volunteer efforts as the secretary of the Wichita Art Association and the treasurer of the Wichita Public Library  Seward managed to find time to respond and assist all of the artists who contacted him.  Among the Seward papers that remain is a series of letters advising New Mexico based Ken Adams on how to make a lithograph as well as a response to a man in prison who wants to learn printmaking.

C.A. Seward as Mentor & Teacher

click on the name below for more information about these Wichita, Kansas based artists who were mentored by Seward


Lloyd Foltz

Charles M. Capps

William Dickerson

Herschel C. Logan

Clarence A. Hotvedt

Edmund Kopietz









Seward’s efforts as a mentor and promoter extended far beyond Kansas. Some of  Seward’s correspondence with other artists still exists. To view these letters click on the letter below.




 

Herschel Logan

William “Bill” Dickerson

Clarence A. Hotvedt

Charles M. Capps

Lloyd M. Foltz

Seward’s home studio

A plaster bust & a lithograph were the end result of collaborative effort between Seward & Bruce Moore. Click here for more informationBruce_Moore.htmlBruce_Moore.htmlBruce_Moore.htmlshapeimage_4_link_0shapeimage_4_link_1

1926 Christmas gift to Seward from “the Gang” a book with illustrations by American illustrator, Dean Cornwell

Herschel Logan