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Born in Antwerp, Belgium, Herlinde Spahr moved to California in 1977 where she graduated in the field of Comparative Literature from the University of California at Berkeley. In the early eighties her favorite medium of expression became stone lithography, the result of a chance discovery of lithographic stones and an old Griffin press at the ASUC Studio on campus. Herlinde Spahr soon set up her own studio, Lithium Press, with a focus on stone lithography. Beyond publishing traditional editions on paper, Spahr has explored more experimental approaches to lithography, including large-scale works printed on Formica, recasting the lithographic stone in plaster and wax, and lately, applying printmaking techniques to create large-scale print-paintings on Formica. 

Spahr's work has been recognized with many awards and her prints are included in major public collections among which are the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Oakland Museum of California, the Morrison Collection at UC Berkeley, the Royal Museum of Antwerp (Belgium), the Prentenkabinet at Antwerp and at Brussels, the Janet Turner Print Museum at the Univ. at Chico, the Worchester Art Museum, the Museum beim Solenhofer Aktienverein (Germany), the Hanoi Fine Arts Permanent Collection (Vietnam) and the Library of Congress, Washington DC. She has been awarded a Fulbright Grant, a Chancellor Fellowship, a Princess Beatrix Scholarship, the Kala Institute Fellowship. She has frequently been invited as an artist-in-residence.

The Bancroft Library of Rare Books and Manuscripts at UC Berkeley houses the extensive correspondence between Roy Ragle and Herlinde Spahr, a master woodcut artist and a lithographer. The collection holds more than 600 handwritten letters with original art and studio proofs that represent a rare document of friendship and exchange between two printmakers in the San Francisco Bay Area. The correspondence spans the period of 1987 through 2014, till a few days before Roy Ragle’s death on December 11, 2014. 

In addition, Spahr has collaborated with the California poet Leonard Nathan on the translation of the poems by the Dutch writer Cees Nooteboom (The Captain of the Butterflies at Sun & Moon Press.) In 1998 she received a nomination for the Pen West Award in Literary Excellence in the category of translation. 

Herlinde Spahr's lithographs are included in the book "The Best in Printmaking. An International Collection" and in "60 Years of North American Prints. 1947-2007" by David Acton (2008.) Her work has been featured in publications such as "The Berkeley Poetry Review", "Occident", "The Wilson Quarterly"," Maatstaf"," Nieuw Vlaams Tijdschrift", the "Journal of the Print World", "Printmaking Today", and "Artweek." A color portfolio documenting the suite of works entitled" Fulgurite" appeared in "The Georgia Review" (Spring 2002.) 

Her involvement with lithography has led Spahr to write a series of articles about the nature of printmaking. Her latest essay, “Hendrik Goltzius: The Tell-Tale Hand” was published in the Journal of the Print World (Fall 2009).  

In her book "Open Studio. Work from 1977 to 1997” Herlinde Spahr notes: "The medium of lithography is dust, the petrified dust of a time when the first birds were taking flight into the sky. The lithographic stone used by the artist is a block of lime one hundred fifty million years old... In a world of shifting values, changing perspectives, refracting visions... what greater teacher than this silent substance, hard and stubborn as stone and yet so exquisitely sensitive that it can record a breath of air..”Cracktal_Compositions.htmlLithocasts.htmlSoot_and_Soul.htmlhttp://eds.b.ebscohost.com/eds/results?sid=ebde7364-9f66-484b-9d80-5699586835dd%40sessionmgr104&vid=0&hid=114&bquery=herlinde+spahr&bdata=JnR5cGU9MCZzaXRlPWVkcy1saXZlGoltzius._The_Tell-tale_Hand.htmlOpen_Studio.htmlshapeimage_1_link_0shapeimage_1_link_1shapeimage_1_link_2shapeimage_1_link_3shapeimage_1_link_4shapeimage_1_link_5

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Herlinde Spahr at the International Center for the Graphic Arts, Kasterlee, Belgium

Photo: Herman Baekelmans

Herlinde Spahr