Michael Mazur ’57 might be the best-known visual artist to have graduated from Amherst. A painter and printmaker, he earned acclaim for reviving the use of monotype prints. Today, his works are in permanent collections around the world, including the British Museum in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
But before that, Mazur was an undergraduate attempting to figure out his life and career. As Senior Resident Artist Betsey Garand explained at a gallery talk during Reunion last week, Mazur’s legacy began with his ambitious senior thesis project, An Image of Salomé.
Influenced by a gap year spent studying art and Italian in Florence, Italy, Mazur’s thesis included 16 hand-carved woodcuts and wood engravings illustrating texts from the Bible, Oscar Wilde, Gustav Flaubert and Stéphane Mallarmé. He made 34 prints of each illustration, and had them bound, with accompanying text, into large, hardcover books. “He printed it all himself,” Garand says, “and it was really quite an accomplishment.”