Detroit Institute of Arts Acquires the Stewart & Stewart Archive

The print archive of Stewart & Stewart, a printer and publisher of fine art prints since 1980, has been acquired by the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) for the museum’s permanent collection. The Stewart & Stewart Archive represents more than forty years of printmaking and publishing in Michigan. It brings 199 newly acquired prints together with seventeen prints previously in the DIA’s collection for a total of more than two hundred prints by thirty-four artists. 

Established in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan in 1980 by Master Printer Norman Stewart and his partner and wife of 53 years Susan Stewart, Stewart & Stewart produces primarily screenprints and more recently archival pigment prints, in collaboration with artists of national and international renown. The artists include Jack Beal, Richard Bosman, Nancy Campbell, Susan Crile, Martha Diamond, Connor Everts, Janet Fish, Sondra Freckelton, Jane E. Goldman, Keiko Hara, John Himmelfarb, Sue Hirtzel, Yvonne Jacquette, Hugh Kepets, Catherine Kernan, Daniel Lang, Don Nice, Mary Prince, Jonathan Santlofer, Jeanette Pasin Sloan, Hunt Slonem, Steven Sorman, Richard Treaster, and Titus Welliver.  Also represented are Detroit area artists Judy Bowman, John Glick, Dennis Guastella, Clinton Kuopus, Ann Mikolowski, Jim Nawara, Lucille Procter Nawara, Mel Rosas, Norman Stewart and Paul Stewart. 

Over the decades, the prints by Stewart & Stewart have been featured at the DIA in two focus exhibitions and two commissioned print editions. Ellen Sharp, then Curator of Graphic Arts, curated the exhibition Collaboration in Print, Stewart & Stewart Prints: 1980-1990 (1991), celebrating the first ten years of publications. In 2005, Nancy Sojka, then Curator of Graphic Arts, organized The Art of Screenprint (2005) with the associated catalog, Collaboration in Print, Stewart & Stewart Screenprints 25th Anniversary. The DIA Graphic Arts Council (now Friends of Prints, Drawings and Photographs) commissioned Stewart & Stewart to create two limited editioned prints: Treille, 1996, by Janet Fish and Mirage, 1982, by Norman Stewart. In May 2021, the long relationship between the DIA and Stewart & Stewart culminated in the acquisition of the Stewart & Stewart Archive, making the museum a unique resource for the study of a significant chapter in the history of American printmaking.

"I am absolutely delighted to welcome the Stewart & Stewart Archive to the DIA,” says Clare Rogan, Curator of Prints and Drawings, “Norm and Susan have together created more than forty years of the most sophisticated printmaking. Starting in the 1980s, Norm expanded the technical range of screenprinting by using transparent inks to create an incredible range of precise color choices, as many as 4,000 distinct permutations. The precision and attention to color have appealed especially to Neo-Expressionist artists like Richard Bosman and Photo-Realist painters including Janet Fish, Sondra Freckelton, and Jane E. Goldman. The Stewart & Stewart Archive represents Norm and Susan’s more than forty-year contribution to the arts in both Michigan and the United States.”

The Stewart & Stewart Archive prints will be viewable online on the DIA website and by appointment in the Ina M. Clark Study Room at the DIA. This will preserve the Stewart & Stewart Print Archive as a cornerstone in American printmaking for posterity.

Stewart & Stewart invites artists to do their most inspired work in the Oakland County countryside setting not far from Wing Lake. The studio was originally the former gardeners’ cottage of the Book Estate, later purchased by Edsel Ford during the Depression. The Stewarts purchased the cottage in 1972 after moving from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and repurposed the home as a guest house and studio in 1980. Stewart & Stewart’s first print collaboration was with international artist and Norman’s fellow Cranbrook Academy of Art alumna, Keiko Hara. Hara was chosen as the first artist because she would extend the limits of what was possible in screenprinting.

The DIA primarily serves Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties, and the Stewarts have ties to each of them as well as a long history with the DIA. Norman and Susan Stewart were both born and raised in Detroit, Wayne County, and both attended Saturday morning youth art classes at the DIA. They first met in their high school art room at Paul K. Cousino High School, Warren, Macomb County. They now live and work in Bloomfield Hills, Oakland County.