From 1964 until 1981 I worked at Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE), Tatyana (Tanya) Grosman's printmaking studio in West Islip, Long Island, which she had founded in 1956. Ironically, I got the job because I was a poet. In 1964, Mrs. Grosman felt the studio needed a secretary, and since she was European (Russian), and of a certain age, her idea of a "secretary" was Rainer Rilke working for Auguste Rodin
— and so she felt that ULAE's secretary should be a young poet. The only American poet she knew personally was Frank O'Hara (who had collaborated with Larry Rivers on her first project) whom I also knew, and Frank, knowing that I needed a job, recommended me.
ULAE was in the forefront of the American 'print renaissance' of the '60s and '70s. Between 1957 and 1967 Mrs. Grosman invited Larry Rivers, Jasper Johns, Grace Hartigan, Robert Motherwell, Fritz Glarner, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Rauschenberg, Lee Bontecou, Jim Dine, Barnett Newman, James Rosenquist, Marisol, and Cy Twombly to add the dimension of printmaking (lithography and etching) to their oeuvre.
As it happened, the position turned out to be much more than secretarial, and it was tremendously inspiring to be around these artists and their work. At ULAE, art mattered, it was not merely a "commodity." Being there added immeasurably to my literary sensibility.
Tony Towle at ULAE
Buckminster Fuller, Tony Towle and printer John Lund
Tony Towle, studio manager Bill Goldston and Robert Rauschenberg
Tony Towle, Larry Rivers and Tatyana Grosman
Fritz Glamer and Tony Towle
Fifth Stone, Sixth Stone,
a portfolio of six etching-and-aquatints by Lee Bontecou
with text and a poem by Tony Towle, printed in an edition of 33; contained in a cloth-covered box with original soft-ground etching by
the artist on the cover. Public
collections: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the New
York Public Library, the Art Institute of Chicago.
Tony Towle and artist Lee Bontecou Fifth Stone, Sixth Stone
In the early '80s, Towle collaborated with artist Jean Holabird on four series (43 editions in all) of hand-colored "postcard"-themed etchings with hand-written text/poetry. A number of these are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Berlin's Staatliche Museen.
Tony Towle and artist Jean Holabird
Etching 1 Etching 2 Etching 3 Etching 4
Art Related Publications
“A Few Selected Memories of Tanya Grosman and ULAE,” Proof Positive: Forty Years of Contemporary
American Printmaking at Universal Limited Art Editions, The Corcoran Gallery
of Art, Washington, D.C., 1997. Exhibition catalogue.
25 Jahre Universal
Limited Art Editions (piece translated into German), Düsseldorf Kunsthalle,
1981-82. Exhibition catalogue.
“Rauschenberg: Two Collaborations – Robbe-Grillet &
Voznesensky,” The Print Collector’s
Newsletter, Vol. X, No. 2, May-June 1979.
“Essay” for Contemporary
American Prints from Universal Limited Art Editions: The Rapp Collection,
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 1979. Exhibition Catalogue.
“Two Conversations with Lee Bontecou,” The Print Collector’s Newsletter, Vol II, No. 2, May-June 1971.
“Jim Dine’s Universal Limited Art Editions
Lithographs,” Exhibition Catalogue for Galerie Mikro, West Berlin, 1970.
From 1979 to 1989 wrote gallery reviews for Art in America and Arts.