Print People Connect Past with Present

 In Artists, Martin Saull, Pippin Frisbie-Calder, Teresa Cole

Print People Connect Past with Present

Prints connect people and places in so many ways and I want to share how rewarding those connections can be.  Ann and I value the many friendships we made through our participation with IFPDA’s New York Print Fair, especially our continuing banter with Susan and Bernard Pratt of Pratt Contemporary Art.  Through the Pratts, we met artist and master printer Martin Saull many years ago. Martin and his wife, Paula, visited New Orleans after this year’s IFPDA fair which resulted in our discovering new adventures in and around our own city.

We took a day trip 50 miles up the Mississippi River to visit Whitney Plantation which presents the antebellum South from the viewpoint of the slaves living on the plantation as well as that of the owners. The exhibitions and testimonials of former slaves reveal the reality of a working sugar plantation in the 1800s instead of the romanticized image of the grand pillared house.

We also showed them the printmaking studio at Tulane University and introduced them to Teresa Cole, who heads the department.  Teresa was proud to mention that one of her most talented graduates is Pippin Frisbie-Calder who is staying in New Orleans to pursue a career as a printmaker.  Meeting Pippin in her studio this past weekend was a treat for us as we talked printmaking, climate change and coastal environment. We were quite taken with her large scale woodcuts, mixed media sculptures, and her Extinction project,   Be sure to check out her work at

Pippin mentioned that some of her pieces were currently being exhibited at Crevasse 22. Crevasse 22 is a relatively new private gallery that sustains our cultural heritage and nature through art and education. Leaving her studio, we headed 15 miles downriver for a look.

Grand live oaks, hanging moss, and soaring birds enhance the beautiful surroundings on a small, deep lake forcibly created in 1922 when a natural crevasse or breach in the Mississippi River levee flooded the surrounding homes, farms and businesses. Author and historian John Barry describes the 1922 crevasse here.

Pippin’s work is included in the current Migration exhibition along with other artists concerned and inspired by the unique landscape of South Louisiana.  The outdoor Sculpture Garden invites you to sit, listen, see and connect to the beauty of nature.  A trip to Crevasse 22 is a perfect destination for an autumnal weekend ride in the country, just about 30 minutes downriver from the French Quarter.

The intersecting paths of the New Orleans visit of one British printer who devoted ten years to printing the plates engraved with the flora and fauna seen on Captain Cook’s tour (1768-1771) led two natives of New Orleans to see the reality of a 19th century working sugar plantation along the Mississippi and the beauty of the flora and fauna created by a tragic flood downriver in 1922.  Prints and their people have the power to open our eyes to unexpected vistas.

Earl Retif




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Black and white image of three men.