Printmakers You Should Know: Norma Bassett Hall

Last year I wrapped up 2015 with a look at the painters and etchers of the Moran family. With a new exhibit opening at the RMAC next month on relief printing, I thought I'd spend a few posts looking at some great woodblock printers. And what better way to start off the new year than with a printmaker I've only just learned about: Norma Bassett Hall (1889-1957).

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Norma and Arthur Hall. Image courtesy of

Originally from Oregon, Norma Bassett studied art at the Portland Art Association, followed by the Chicago Art Institute. She married a fellow student, etcher Arthur Hall, and initially settled in El Dorado, Kansas. During the mid-1920s, they traveled to Europe, and it was during their time in Scotland that Norma was introduced to Japanese woodblock printing through Mabie Royds.

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A Highland Croft, image courtesy of

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Haystack Rock, 1933, color woodblock print. Image courtesy of

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After their European travels, the Halls returned to Kansas, where Norma would become one of the founding members of the Prairie Printmakers. During the 1930s, the Halls relocated to Virginia to be closer to Arthur's family. After World War II, they moved to Santa Fe, setting up shop on Canyon Road. In the 1950s they moved north of Santa Fe to Alcalde, where they opened a small art school.

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October in Santa Fe, image courtesy of

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Aspens and Spruce, image courtesy of

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Laguna Pueblo, image courtesy of
Norma's prints are heavily inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement, with an emphasis on simplified, legible compositions. Most of her scenes are bucolic in nature, focusing on landscapes or country homes. As mentioned previously on this blog, I've always appreciated the Arts and Crafts aesthetic, so I was naturally drawn to Norma's work when I noticed a monograph on her work in the Roswell Museum Library. Given the physical intensity of carving an inking woodblock prints, I can't help but admire her tenacity with this highly demanding medium.

I would love to see the Museum acquire some of her works in the future, as I think she'd greatly enhance an already-remarkable works on paper collection.

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Old Sycamore, 1942, color woodblock print. Image courtesy of

Want to learn more? Of course!