I bought as many styles and techniques as possible, regardless of the reputation of the artist, because, in teaching printmaking, every new technique is interesting, and different ideas and different styles should interest different students, rather than trying to teach one method and rather than trying to teach my viewpoint. —Janet Tuner, 1988
Dali, Durer, Goya, Hockney, Howgarth, Miro, Rembrandt, Renoir, Tamayo — as many as a thousand different artists…more than 3,000 fine art prints including linocuts, serigraphs, etchings, lithographs and digital prints representing surrealism, German expressionism, impressionism, abstract expressionism, pop, op, photorealism…fine art prints spanning six centuries from more than 40 countries around the world…welcome to the Janet Turner Print Museum collection. How It All Began
Janet Turner was a professor of fine art and art education at Chico State University, Chico (1959–1981) where she began a printmaking program that taught and inspired a cadre of young printmakers.
She began collecting prints in the late 1940’s when she expanded her medium, painting in egg tempura and watercolor, to printmaking. The idea of producing multiple prints in the time it took to create one tempera painting was appealing. Moreover, the production of multiple prints allowed her to exhibit and share her work more easily. She and other women artists created a print club – a venue in which they would meet periodically in one another’s homes to show and talk about their work. Seeing, handling and discussing actual prints representing different approaches to graphic art was both stimulating and educational for Janet. She wanted to offer her students the same opportunity, so she began collecting prints to use in her classes to provide samples for teaching.
Janet Turner collected prints over a span of forty years. She bought prints from established fine art galleries and from the artists themselves. She acquired student prints and prints through the International Graphic Art Society, of which she was an early member, and from other professional groups of printmakers and collectors. The result of her efforts is the unique – because of the number, diversity and breadth (historically and technically) of fine art prints - and very valuable print collection. Housed since 1981 in the Janet Turner Print Museum at California State University, Chico, the collection has been described as one of Chico’s greatest treasures. In fact, Janet Turner’s collection is a local, regional and national treasure. In Janet’s own words,
“there are few places in the country, outside of big museums, that have big collections like mine. Most galleries emphasize certain periods…the present facility makes a nice small gallery, as large, incidentally, as some in other cities and it shows prints better than some galleries I have visited.”
The Collection Today
It was a dream of Janet’s to make art available to everyone – students, teachers and anyone curious enough to seek it out. It was in this spirit that she entrusted her collection to CSU, Chico. The museum curator, staff and Board of Directors work closely with the CSU, Chico Department of Art and Art History and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts to fulfill and carry on Janet’s dream in a number of ways including: mounting as many as seven special exhibits a year; hosting the bi-annual National Print Competition and annual Student Printmaker’s Invitational Exhibition; offering an annual Summer Art Academy; and working closely with the University and area schools to educate students in the art and appreciation of fine art printmaking.