Butterfly B is a color intaglio from
about 1965 by American artist Tom S. Fricano. It is pencil signed and titled
and inscribed Artists Proof. It was
printed by the artist on ivory wove paper and the platemark measures 22 x
Fricano’s colors and the textural aspect of his imagery are very compelling. He employed multiple techniques for Butterfly B using broad, almost gestural, stokes of color to create the reddish wings. He placed his subject against a darker, striated background which the butterfly visually floats above. Fricano also explored the theme of the butterfly in etching and monotype. In his 2000 review of Fricano’s show “Transformation: The Nature of Abstraction” at the University of Judaism, Josef Woodard wrote: “As an artist of restless creative instincts who seeks to work diligently at an idea or medium before moving on, Fricano works up variations on different visual themes….he’s from the school of modern artists for which exploratory impulse is its own reward.”
Thomas Salvatore Fricano, painter, printmaker, sculptor,
and teacher, was born in Chicago, Illinois on October 28, 1930. In seventh
grade, he received a scholarship for weekend art classes at the Art Institute
of Chicago. Students had to apply themselves to earn a scholarship and Fricano
received a yearly scholarship until he graduated from high school. He enrolled
at Bradley University in Peoria on scholarship where he studied painting and
was introduced to printmaking by John Ihle, Dow Mitchel, and Ernest Freed. He
received his BFA degree from Bradley and his MFA degree at the University of
Illinois, Urbana in 1956.
Fricano returned to Bradley as an instructor in printmaking, teaching between 1958 and 1963. He moved to Southern California and taught at California State University at Northridge from 1963 until his retirement in 2000. He was a visiting artist at numerous colleges throughout the United States, including Ohio State University, the Art institute of Chicago, and the Cranbrook Academy. He received a Fulbright scholarship in 1960 and used it to study in Italy. He also received the Louis Comfort Tiffany Residence Grant in 1965 and a John S. Guggenheim Memorial fellowship for 1969-1970.
A highly creative printmaker, Fricano pushed the edges of printmaking techniques and studied the combination of intaglio and screenprinting. He created assemblegraphs by combining cut outs with found objects that would fit on the bed of the press. His printmaking classes covered intaglio, screenprinting, and lithography.
Tom Fricano’s work is represented in the collections of the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin; the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; The Coos Art Museum, Coos Bay, Oregon; the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum, Michigan; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; the Fullerton College Art Department Permanent Collection, San Simeon, California; the Seattle Art Museum, Washington; the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; and the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.