Artist featured in the exhibition Texas Women Artists: Selections from Bywaters Special Collections, on the 2nd floor of Hamon Arts Library.
Janet Turner was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1914. Attending nature camps during the 1920s, she developed an early awareness of the outdoors and the beauty nature had to offer. Turner’s interest in the environment continued into her college years where at Stanford University she first studied botany but switched to the history of the Far East in her junior year. In 1936 she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Far Eastern History. In the same year she traveled to China, Japan, Korea, Manchuria, and the Philippines where she became enthralled with Eastern printmaking. Upon her return to the states Turner enrolled at the Kansas City Art Institute where she studied painting under Thomas Hart Benton and lithography under John de Martelly. After completing the course work in 1941, Turner attended classes at Claremont College in California where she studied painting with Millard Sheets and Henry McFee; in 1947 she received her Master of Fine Arts.
Turner’s professional teaching career started in 1948 at Stephen F. Austin State College in Nacogdoches, Texas where she remained until 1956. During her tenure in Texas, Turner’s art career flourished. She had solo exhibitions at the Kansas City Art Institute (Missouri), Santa Barbara Museum of Art (California), and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Texas) and was an active member of the Texas Printmakers. Turner’s work was included in the 1950 exhibition American Painting Today at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. In 1952 she received a Guggenheim Fellowship to experiment with printmaking techniques for making prints of Gulf Coast flora and fauna. Turner received national recognition in 1953 when she was elected an Associate of the National Academy of Design. In 1974, she was a full academician.
During the summer of 1954 Turner returned to Japan where she met Japanese artist, Kiyoshi Saito, a well-known Sōsaku-hanga (‘creative prints’) printmaker. He arranged for Turner to have a one-person exhibition of her prints at the Yoseido Gallery, a venue in Tokyo that specialized in contemporary Japanese prints.
In 1956 Turner left Texas to pursue a doctorate in art education at Teachers’ College, Columbia University. In 1959 she accepted a teaching position at Chico State College in Chico, California. There she founded the school’s printmaking program. Turner continued to teach there until her retirement in 1981. Throughout her professional career Turner collected prints from all over the world in order to introduce students to a wide range of printmaking techniques. Late in life, she left her collection to her college. Her personal collection became the core of the campus museum that bears her name – the Janet Turner Print Museum.
Janet Turner died in California on June 28, 1988.
Image: Iguana I, Relief etching and serigraph, 1976, original dimensions (image): 11 5/8” (H) x 17 5/8” (W) [http://digitalcollections.smu.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/tar/id/148/rec/3 ]
Courtesy of Janet Turner Collection, Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University