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Death In Venice: Warrington Colescott and Thomas Mann

June 6, 2015 – April 17, 2016

Warrington Colescott, Death in Venice: Aschenbach Aboard, from the portfolio Death in Venice, 1971. Etching, 15¹¹⁄₁₆ x 11¹⁵⁄₁₆ inches (image size). Collection of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Museum Purchase, in memory of Lois Hartshorne.

A leading American printmaker and satirist, Warrington Colescott continues the tradition of Francisco Goya, William Hogarth, and Honoré Daumier. Residing in Wisconsin and long-affiliated with the Department of Art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he is widely known for his innovative use of intaglio techniques. In 1970, Aquarius Press (Baltimore, Maryland; New York) invited him to submit a list of texts he might wish to illustrate for a deluxe livre d’artiste—a tradition of matching author and artist that originated in Paris in the late nineteenth century. Colescott immediately named Death in Venice as his first choice, Thomas Mann’s celebrated novella of 1912 that had first captivated him in college. The following year he completed and saw published a portfolio of ten color etchings illustrating Mann’s text.