Marüshka prints of the 1970s

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Above are two delightful works by Marüshka, the print company that beginning in 1974 melded the style of Japanese woodblock prints with Pop Art to eventually dominate dentist offices, hotel rooms, corporate headquarters, and finally thrift stores around the United States. From Collectors Weekly:

At Marüshka, linen or cotton canvas would be silkscreened by hand, stretched, and fitted to a wood frame, and then sold for $24 apiece. Company founder Richard Sweet, who passed away in 2007, had a rather sweet notion to democratize art and make it affordable to the public...

“It was a cheap way for people to decorate, really,” (says Randy Smith, who had Sweet as a high-school teacher in 1971, started with Marüshka in 1974, and now owns the company.) “A lot of them ended up in hotels, public buildings, or hospitals. Dick couldn’t see any reason why art would have to be expensive and why it would have to be framed. A big part of his concept was to avoid the expense of framing. He preferred how it looked anyway, more simple than frilly.”

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