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Norma Bassett Hall
(Oregon, 1889 - 1957, New Mexico)

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Norma Bassett Hall and her husband, Arthur Hall, were among the founding members of the Kansas-based Prairie Print Makers. The group of artists formed the printmakers' society on Dec. 28, 1930, in the Lindsborg studio of Birger Sandzen. Not only was Mrs. Hall the only woman in the group, she also was the only one to establish a reputation exclusively through color prints, at first with her woodcuts, and later, her serigraphs. At different times, her work was featured in issues of American Artist, American Magazine of Art and the Print Connoisseur.

Her early interest in drawing and painting eventually led to three years of study at the Portland Art Association. After graduation, she taught art in small schools and accepted private pupils. In 1915, she enrolled at the Chicago Art Institute. In 1920, she returned to Portland, established a studio, and taught in the high school.

Possibly the most important impetus to Hall's development as a printmaker occurred during a two-year trip to Europe between 1925 and 1927. In Edinburgh, she met and studied with Mable Royds, wife of the English etcher E.S. Lumsden. Royds introduced her to the Japanese method of printing woodcuts on rice paper with transparent watercolors, rather than the opaque oilbase colors she had employed up to that time. Following this initial exposure, Hall adopted this method exclusively for her color blockprints. Her distinctive images were printed using as many as six or seven colors, each of which required a separate, hand-cut, hardwood block. In later years, she duplicated the effect to a certain extent in her serigraphs, which were created during the years the Halls lived in New Mexico.

During their brief stay in Kansas, the Halls lived in the small southeastern community of Howard. Their travels and periodic changes of residence provided Norma with a wide range of subjects for her prints, including European, Kansas and Southwestern images.


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Late 19th and early 20th century American art with an emphasis on the 1930s since 1977
international fine print dealers association