Exhibition Explained: A Passion for Prints: The John Bonebrake Donation

John Bonebrake was a beloved member of the museum’s affiliate group, The Print Club of Cleveland for 40 years. Through his Print Club experience, he had amassed more than 1,000 prints, which he both gifted and bequeathed to the museum upon his death in April 2011. A Passion for Prints: The John Bonebrake Donation offers both an education to printmaking and a look into the variety of prints that Bonebrake collected. The exhibition is on view through January 29, 2012 in the museum’s prints and drawings galleries. Bonebrake’s University Circle apartment was a living art gallery.

John Bonebrake's Living Room

He decorated his home floor to ceiling with his printed treasures. They could be found in every room. He even turned his closets into mini galleries. Even under the bed in his guestroom, drawers full of prints could be found. Curator of Prints Jane Glaubinger spent several hours with Bonebrake to record his memories about his collection. “He was an architect and he started his collection by collecting images of buildings,” Glaubinger said. “It grew to include Japanese prints and just images he liked. His collection was diverse, although he concentrated on the 19th and 20th centuries. The general idea was if he liked it, he bought it." Glaubinger developed an exhibition that would both educate visitors about printmaking and Bonebrake’s interest areas. He enjoyed the work of French printmaker Henri Rivière and his donation of these works filled a gap in the museum’s print collection.

Thirty Six Views of the Eiffel Tower. 1902. Henri Rivière. Color lithograph.

Bonebrake loved France and studied there the summer before his senior year at Western Reserve College. Bonebrake also enjoyed the social aspects of the Print Club. The Print Club was his family and during a 2008 trip to Buffalo, the group celebrated his 90th birthday during dinner. If you’re interested in joining the Print Club, Glaubinger says there are a few openings. Visit the web site for more info. -- Kesha Williams


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