About Modern Gothic: The Etchings of John Taylor Arms

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About Modern Gothic: The Etchings of John Taylor Arms

The museum recently opened an exhibition viewing selected works by John Taylor Arms (1887–1953), one of the most important American printmakers of the first half of the 20th century. Trained as an architect, he spent most of his 40-year career documenting Europe’s great Gothic churches.

“He was a very religious man and his printmaking was a very spiritual process for him,” said Jane Glaubinger, Curator of Prints.

Glaubinger says that the exhibition is a unique opportunity to see some very beautiful and interesting prints depicting a variety of subjects. In order to appreciate the exquisite detail of Arms’s work, visitors will be provided with magnifying glasses which will enhance their experience.

The exhibition includes one of the artist’s diaries. Arms meticulously recorded his daily activities and his printmaking process. He often worked 18 hours a day and once spent 2,000 hours to complete just one print. Inspired by medieval craftsmen he made his own tools, mixed the printing ink himself, and carefully chose the paper for each print. In 1927, the Print Club of Cleveland commissioned Arms to make a print for them. He visited the museum that year to hold a printmaking demonstration for the group.

The museum’s exhibition of about 60 prints, drawings, and copper plates surveys Arms’s career as a printmaker and highlights large gifts from Print Club members Carole W. and Charles B. Rosenblatt and from the artist’s granddaughter Suzanne Taylor Arms and great-granddaughter Jenny Horning.

The exhibition also includes the artist’s tools and studio guest book. Many artists and well-known people, like Helen Keller, visited and signed their names sometimes leaving comments and sketches too. You can view the entire guest book online @

-- Kesha Williams