C.A. Seward

1884 - 1939

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The common link between all of the Charter Members of The Prairie Print Makers was C.A. Seward.  December of 1930 must have thus been a treasured moment for him when all of his long-time Kansas artist friends gathered for the first official meeting of The Prairie Print Makers.

In 1907 Seward taught drawing classes at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas while studying painting with Birger Sandzen.  From this point they developed their lifelong friendship and mutually shared goal of promoting art in Kansas. After Seward moved to Wichita he got busy promoting Sandzen’s work and as a result Sandzen had his first exhibition outside of Lindsborg in 1909 at a gallery and paint shop in Wichita.  This small exhibition of Sandzen’s work proved fortuitous for another Wichita artist, local banker and painter, Ed Davison. After viewing this small exhibition of Sandzen’s work, Davison traveled to Lindsborg to meet Sandzen.  This visit led to the Davison’s also traveling to New Mexico and developing ties like Seward and Sandzen with the members of the New Mexico art colonies. Later, when Seward was serving on the Board of the Wichita Art Association one of the first exhibitions he organized for the Association was that of work of Birger Sandzen.  The ledgers and records which Sandzen kept throughout his life reveal the ongoing and supportive role that Seward played in promoting Sandzen’s work and aiding him in his printmaking efforts.

Ed Kopietz met Seward when he was still attending high school in Wichita.  Seward hired him to do small design projects.  Together they had a small exhibition of their work at a gallery in about 1920.  Seward introduced Kopietz to Ed and Faye Davison and with their financial support Kopietz was able to leave Wichita to study at the Chicago Art Institute. At the time of the first founding meeting of the Prairie Print Makers, Kopietz had just been selected as the Director of the Minneapolis School of Art.

Leo Courtney was on the staff at the Capper Engraving Company in Wichita when Seward joined the firm as the Director of the Art Department in 1910.  They became best friends and shared a strong mutual interest in Native American Cultures and Kansas History.  Photos of them document several of their trips to western Kansas and New Mexico.  In the fall of 1938 when Seward became terminally ill and decided to sell his collection as a means of providing for his wife’s future, Courtney  held the sale at his art shop.

Charles Capps, Lloyd Foltz and Clarence Hotvedt were all hired as staff artists after Seward took on the directorship of the Art Department at the Western Lithograph Company in 1923. All three had received formal training in Chicago, Foltz at the Chicago Academy of Art and Capps and Hotvedt at the Chicago Art Institute.

Arthur Hall and his wife, Norma Bassett Hall did not live in Wichita but in nearby El Dorado and later Howard, Kansas. Like Kopietz, Capps and Hotvedt they had both studied at the Chicago Art Institute. They became acquainted with Seward through their shared interest in art and printmaking.  Arthur often joined the “Saturday Sessions at Seward’s Studio” and both were frequent visitors at the Seward home.  A group of drawings in one of Seward’s sketchbooks are from the area around the Hall’s home in Howard, Kansas. Norma designed the logo used by The Prairie Print Makers.

One day Seward visited his friend Bob Aitchison at McCormick Mather (now McCormick-Armstrong) Printing Company and they had a discussion about prints and woodcuts.  Herschel Logan, one of Aitchison’s staff members, overheard the conversation and asked his boss about Seward and woodcuts.  Aitchison was well aware of Seward’s interest in mentoring young artists and thus suggested that Logan visit Seward.  As a result that very evening Logan visited Seward in his home studio and that experience led to his life-long work with woodcuts.

C.A. Seward and Carl Smalley, had been friends for at least 24 years on the day of the founding meeting. Several stories exist for how and when they met. They had grown up in adjacent counties and both of their families raised race horses. So it is possible that they met at a county fair as young boys. This story in turn gives validity to another story that says they went to the 1904 St. Louis Exposition together. What can be documented is that in 1906,  at the age of 22, Seward designed the Smalley Seed Catalog.  Smalley went on to become an art and book dealer, eventually converting his family’s seed store in McPherson, Kansas, into an art gallery and for a brief time operating an art gallery in Kansas City.  Smalley met Birger Sandzen through one of his gallery customers and soon his primary focus became selling the work of Sandzen and putting together the annual art exhibition and sale for the McPherson High School, and also circulating print sale exhibitions throughout Kansas. In addition to Sandzen’s work, Smalley also offered the work of contemporary American and some European printmakers in his galleries. Seward and Smalley collaborated many times by exchanging exhibitions. By 1929 Smalley’s work as a book publishers representative required such extensive travel that he was spending most of the year on the West Coast. No one knows if the initial intention was to have an actual Honorary Member category for The Prairie Print Makers. The only known Honorary Member was Smalley. Both Seward and Sandzen had a long friendship with Smalley but he was not known to be a friend of any of the other founding members. The story is told, that Carl Smalley surprised everyone when he arrived at Sandzen’s studio during the founding meeting.  Charter Member Lloyd Foltz, during an interview in the 1980’s, explained that Sandzen was such a polite individual that he spontaneously extended the membership invitation to Smalley.  Shortly after this initial meeting Smalley moved permanently from McPherson, Kansas, to the West Coast and remained there the rest of his life. In a memoir Smalley wrote for Sandzen’s daughter he makes no mention of the Prairie Print Maker organization, confirming the happenstance nature of his election and position as the only Honorary Member of the Society.

The Prairie Printmakers - 10 Charter Members

Images on this page, (top to bottom & left to right): Photo of the 10 Charter members on December 10,1930, logo and annual gift print folder. Photo of C.A. Seward, photo of Sandzen & Seward, photo of Birger Sandzen, photo of Leo Courtney and also Courtney and Seward, Norma Bassett Hall, Arthur Hall, Charles Capps in his home studio, Herschel Logan in his home in California and print dealer, Carl Smalley.

Sources:  Seward, Foltz, and Hall family papers including news clippings and letters, Foltz, Capps, and Logan interviews of 1980, Barbara Thompson O'Neill and George C. Foreman, The Prairie Print Makers, Topeka: Kansas Arts Commission, 1981 and the Sandzen Memorial Gallery, Lindsborg, Kansas.

   Charter Members            Artist Members                Annual Gift Prints Artists_Member_2_2.html../casewardprintmaker.com/Annual_Gift_Print.htmlshapeimage_6_link_0shapeimage_6_link_1shapeimage_6_link_2

Click on photos below to view more information.

Arthur Hall

Herschel Logan

Carl Smalley

Charles M. Capps

Leo Courtney

Birger Sandzenhttp://livepage.apple.com/

C.A. Seward


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CA Seward and the Prairie Print Makers

Clarence Hotvedt


Lloyd Foltz


Norma Bassett Hall

Edmund Kopietz