Colescott on Colescott: "My prints and paintings are narratives, both direct and metaphorical. The intent is moral, if your morality is in my ballpark. The method is satire; comedy is OK, but pretty much anything goes if it fits my drawing concept on paper or copper plate."
Browsing through the over 300 listings for Warrington Colescott on the web, a picture of the breadth of his activities and the respect in which he seems to be universally held becomes clear. According to the Arizona State University Art Museum, "Warrington Colescott was Leo Steppat Chair Professor of Art Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he developed the etching/intaglio courses. He held the 'Printmaker Emeritus' award from the Southern Graphics Council and his intaglio prints are represented in most major museums." Randall Berndt, Director of the Wisconsin Academy Gallery, offered a pithy summary of the artist's life and career at the time of a recent show of his work: "Warrington Colescott was born in Oakland, California of parents from New Orleans, and educated at Berkeley. His early family life involved art and culture; the cosmopolitan, outward-looking aspect of his art seems a natural result. The Art Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison was the lure that brought him to Wisconsin and printmaking, a very portable art, made it possible to stay. Prints have been an influence on the style in his paintings and there is a continual dialogue between the two. Narration is at the core of Colescott's art: the source of its journalistic aspect goes back to a childhood fascination with comic strips and to his college student involvement in political and sports cartoons. Humor is the lubricant that smooths the way for barbs aimed at humanity's foibles and institutions' cruelties. The pompous edifice of culture, politics, and current fashion threatens to totter and fall when Colescott renders it with his quirky and beguiling perspective."
Warrington Colescott received four fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship, and has exhibited internationally. He was professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he developed a notable studio in intaglio printmaking and taught for 37 years. Colescott was an Academician of the National Academy of Design, and was named a Fellow of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters in 1988. Colescott was no stranger to national acclaim. Colescott's History of Printmaking series toured nationally in the late 70s and early 1980s and Warrington Colescott: Forty Years of Printmaking, organized by the Elvehjem Museum of Art, circulated nationally in 1988-90. Etched in Acid: Warrington Colescott, a profile of the internationally known Wisconsin artist shown on PBS received a Golden Eagle Award. Colescott's work is included at the the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, the New York Public Library, and the Brooklyn Museum (NY), the National Gallery of Art, the Library of Congress, and The National Print Collection of the Smithsonian Institution (Washington D.C.), the Minneapolis Art Center and the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), the Tate Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the Bibliothèque National, Paris, and numerous other museums in the US and abroad.
Selected Bibliography: Mary Chapin Weaver, The Prints of Warrington Colescott, 1948-2008: A Catalogue Raisonné (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2008); Warrington Colescott, A History of Printmaking (Madison: Madison Art Center, 1979); Warrington Colescott and Arthur Hove, Progressive Printmakers: Wisconsin Artists And The Print (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1999); Richard Cox and Carlton Overland, Warrington Colescott, forty years of printmaking: a retrospective, 1948-88 (Madison: Elvehjem Museum of Art, 1988); Pat Gilmore, Warrington Colescott (Milwaukee: Milwaukee Art Museum, 1996); Debbie Veil, "Warrington Colescott: Between Tragedy and High Comedy," American Artist, May 1978, 60-65, 102-109 .