Although the FWMoA has collected artwork by Steven Sorman since 1985, it wasn’t until nearly 20 years later when FWMoA’s Sorman collection began to blossom, thanks to gifts from local collectors and strategic purchases. Sorman’s work had always been a favorite of FWMoA CEO and Chief Curator Charles A. Shepard III since he encountered it as a graduate student at Williams College while helping organize the now-famous 1984 exhibit The Modern Art of the Print at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.
Shepard’s relationship with Sorman continued at his first directorship at the University of Maine Museum of Art, where his first purchase for the collection was a Sorman work. Over the next 20 years, Shepard purchased Sorman work at each museum he directed, and he continued to do so after he took the helm at FWMoA in 2003.
In late 2013, FWMoA began laying the groundwork for this gift, with curator’s visits orchestrated by Associate Curator of Exhibitions Joslyn Elliott to Sorman’s studio in upstate New York to form the scope of what would be the largest acquisition of Sorman’s work by any institution in the world. In June of 2014, more than 230 prints and paintings made by Steven Sorman from 1972-2014 were delivered to Fort Wayne, with more gifts of art promised as the artist continues to create work.
1970, over 80 one- artist exhibitions have featured Sorman’s work in galleries
in Singapore, Sweden and the United States. In the 1970s, prestigious exhibits
included the “Paper as Medium”, Smithsonian Institute; The National Print
Exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum and the 13th International Biennial of Graphic
Art in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia. His work is in the collections of the Stedelijk
Museum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands; The Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney
Museum of American Art, both in New York City; the Art Institute of Chicago,
Illinois; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, among others. Sorman won the
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Merit World Print III Award in 1980, the
Rockefeller Foundation American Center Artist in Residence in Paris in 1982,
and the 2nd Bharat Bhavan International Biennial of Prints Merit Award in 1991
Leaders of the art world, in particular the print community, commend Sorman for his talent and celebrate this gift to the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. Rudy Pozzatti and David Keister, founders of Echo Press in Bloomington, IN, invited Sorman to be one of the first artists to work at Echo Press. “Steve thrived in the collaborative atmosphere and produced work of great scale and complex imagery. These factors will always be assets to his continuous development as he reaches full maturity with a powerful, clear, and unique voice. The Fort Wayne Museum of Art is indeed fortunate to receive the Sorman archives as he is a gifted artist serious in intent who has already produced an impressive body of significant work,” Pozzatti said in a statement.
Amy Simon of Amy Simon Fine Art in Westport, CT, said, “He is a technical master, but unlike many artists who find a comfortable niche, he is always pushing the envelope. Steven is striving for something beyond the material.”