Vanishing X (Monarch Butterfly)
Vanishing X (Monarch Butterfly) is a mezzotint with hand applied color from 2020 by American artist Holly Downing. It is pencil signed, titled, dated, and editioned 1/25 in the lower margin. Vanishing X was printed by the artist on antique-white Rives BFK paper and the platemark measures 2-15/16 x 6-7/8 inches.
Vanishing X (Monarch Butterfly) is from a series of ten mezzotints that feature vanishing species, in this case, invertebrates. The Monarch butterfly is a milkweed butterfly in the family Nymphalidae. It may be the most familiar North American butterfly and is considered an iconic pollinator species. Downing wrote about creating this series: “Getting to know these endangered insects a bit has been somewhat uplifting in this dark time, even though they are at the forefront of the ‘insect apocalypse’.”
Holly Downing, painter, printmaker, and teacher, was born in San Francisco in 1948. She earned her B.A. at the University of California Santa Cruz in 1972. She also studied at the Royal College of Art, London, and earned her M.F.A. from Goddard College where she researched mezzotint technique. She taught art for twenty-three years at the Santa Rosa Junior College and also taught at the University of California Santa Cruz and San Francisco State University.
Downing has received fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; the Greenshields Foundation, Canada; the Arts Council of Great Britain; the Graham Foundation, Chicago; and the San Francisco Phelan Foundation. She is an elected member of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, London. Her work is in the Victoria and Albert Museum; the Ashmoleon Museum, Oxford; the Scottish National Art Gallery, Edinburgh; the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris; the Chi-ba Art Museum and the Nakasatsunai Art Museum, Japan; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; and the Stanford University Art Museum. Downing's mezzotints are featured in The Mezzotint, History and Technique by Carol Wax, 1990.