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Manneken Press Philip Van Keuren photogravure
Toward What Sun Vol. I
Philip Van Keuren: "Waterfall" (detail), 2019. Photogravure, edition of 121.
Toward What Sun Vol. II

Philip Van Keuren

Born in Dallas, Texas in 1948. Lives and works in Dallas, TX.

He received his B.F.A. (1974) and M.F.A. (1977) degrees in studio art from the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University. He currently serves as Professor of Art. Van Keuren was the director of the Pollock Gallery for the Division of Art at the Meadows School from 1991 through 2012, where he curated a number of notable exhibitions.

Van Keuren attended the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program in New York in 1975 and is a 1978 and 2009 Fellow of The MacDowell Residency in Peterborough, New Hampshire. During the early 1980s Van Keuren constructed architectural models for the renowned American architects I. M. Pei, Henry Cobb and Philip Johnson, among others, and was a visiting artist at Brown University in 1989.

Van Keuren completed a poetry residency at the Vermont Studio Center in March 2007. His book Monody: Selected Poems 1978–2009 was published in conjunction with the exhibition Philip Van Keuren: Forty Years of Works on Paper 1969–2009 at The McKinney Avenue Contemporary (The MAC) in Dallas, TX. As an artist he has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions since 1971, including a one person show at the IPA Gallery/Islensk grafik, Reykjavík, Iceland, in 2011.

American Academy in Rome: Visiting Artist Residency, 2023
Nominee: The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, 2009
Fellow: The MacDowell Residency, Peterborough, NH, 1978 and 2009
Patricia and Jerre Mangione Fellowship, The MacDowell
Residency, Peterborough, NH
Fellow: Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program, New York, NY, 1975

“Toward What Sun?”: Philip Van Keuren at Manneken Press
Philip Van Keuren has been making photographs for many years. His images are prompted by everyday observations that reveal the world as sublimely beautiful while simultaneously unknowable.  With a keen interest in seeing his images realized as photogravures, Van Keuren began working with Manneken Press in 2009 to make photogravure plates from several of his original 35mm negatives.  The results were so spectacular that the project was extended, with new plates made each year.  In 2016 Van Keuren and Manneken Press co-published “Toward What Sun?” Vol. I, the first volume of editions printed from the archive of the more than forty photogravure plates that have been made to date. “Toward What Sun?” Vol. II was published in 2019. Each volume consists of ten photogravures printed in editions of 12. The images are 12 x 8 inches, hand-printed on Hahnemuhle Copperplate paper. Several of the prints from each edition will be made available singly, with the remainder available as complete sets of 10 prints housed in a custom portfolio case with letterpress-printed title page and colophon.

Photogravure is an intaglio printmaking process wherein a light-sensitive gelatin tissue which upon which a film positive has been exposed with high-intensity UV light is adhered to a copper plate and then etched. The result is a high quality intaglio print that can reproduce the detail and continuous tones of a photograph. Photogravure was developed in the 1870’s and became one of the first widely used techniques for reproducing photographic imagery. Photogravure is unique among photo-printmaking techniques in that it can be described as truly photographic; i.e. the photographic image is realized in continuous tones rather than broken up, via a half-tone screen, into dots of white or black that blend visually to simulate a photographic appearance, as in photo-lithography, photo-etching and photo-silkscreen. The photogravure print is printed on paper from the etched copper plate that has been inked and wiped as a regular intaglio plate.

Photographers of the Photo-Secession and Pictorialist movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries prized photogravure for its ability to render a wide tonal range, soft tones and details. The technique later fell into disuse as most photographers utilized the convenient and high quality silver gelatin papers to print their images. Interestingly, the rise of digital photography has sparked a renewed interest in some of the early techniques of photography, and photogravure has been enjoying something of a renaissance in the past 20 years or so.