In 1952, Hawai‘i artist Juliette May Fraser, along with Hartley Gurrey and Martha Alexander, taught a graphic arts course at the museum for public school teachers. The 10-week, 2-credit course was part of a museum initiative to improve art education in schools across the territory. The painting course was co-taught by Willson Stamper, Joseph Feher, and John Young.
In this photograph Fraser is demonstrating how to make a plastic etching using the cover page for a print depicting paniolo—Hawaiian cowboys.It is from Ke Anuenue, her book of 20 linoleum prints arranged in pairs that depict parallel scenes from Hawai’i’s past and present. Published by the University of Hawai‘i Press eight months after this photo was taken, the book was recognized by the American Institute of Graphic Arts as one of the outstanding books of that year.
In an archived oral history interview, Fraser recalled the book’s origins—she had been reading about how the demigod Māui roped the sun’s leg to slow it down. “Māui was a hero. I happened to think—we have cowboys here and the cowboy is also a hero and so there was the ancient hero and the modern hero and that is the way the idea started.”
Clustered in the corners of the print are lehua blossoms and curled ferns representing the locales of Hawai‘i’s first ranches. The glyphs she’s printing are cattle brands. The lighter brands near the top of the page were used by ranches during the monarchy; the darker brands were still in use in 1952.
“The plates for Ke Anuenue are linoleum,” Fraser said of her process. “I did my linoleum a little bit differently from most people because I printed some of the low cuts, and that gave the grey shades, the in between shades. Most people use only the top of the linoleum, which gave sharp edges and I could give soft edges and some grays.”
Photo credit for 4.8.2018 enewsletter image of Juliette May Fraser: Francis Haar