Claire Van Vliet

Claire Van Vliet (1933 -)

Claire Van Vliet is the proprietor of the Janus Press, founded in 1955 and located in Newark, Vermont, since 1966. Janus' publications -- books, pamphlets, and broadsides -- number approximately 100. Many have been designed, illustrated, type-set, printed (sometimes on paper made by the artist), and bound by Van Vliet in a well-equipped studio, printshop, bindery of her own design. Born in Ottawa, Canada, the artist has lived in the United States since 1947. She received her BA degree from San Diego State University (1952) and her MFA degree from Claremont Graduate School (1954), then served printing apprenticeships at a newspaper in Oberursel/Taunus, Germany (1955-1957) and the Pickering Press in Maple Shade, New Jersey (1958-1959), before launching a teaching career at the Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts), the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and privately with many Janus Press apprentices.

Since settling in Vermont, Van Vliet's main concern has been Janus Press, but she has been an artist in residence and lecturer throughout the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and New Zealand. Primarily a publisher of first edition poetry, Van Vliet illustrated several Franz Kafka texts in the 1960s. In the 1970s she was a pioneer in the use of colored paper pulps for book illustration, and more recently she has developed a variety of distinctive non-adhesive book structures.

Van Vliet also has created a significant body of watercolors, drawings, etchings, lithographs, woodcuts, and paperworks, in her own studio and at printmaking and papermaking workshops in the United States, Canada, and abroad, including UM Grafik, Copenhagen; Tandem Press, Madison, Wisconsin; Magnolia Editions, Oakland, California; Twinrocker Handmade Paper Mill, Brookston, Indiana; and MacGregor-Vinzani paper studio, Whiting, Maine. Her primary subject in these works on paper has been the Vermont landscape. However, Van Vliet's landscape interest recently expanded to include the American Southwest, thanks to her receipt, in l989, of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship Award, which allowed her the time and funds to travel. Van Vliet's work has been the subject of about 40 solo exhibitions in the United States, Canada, and Scandinavia.

Ruth E. Fine


Scott, David. Claire Van Vliet--Prints. Burlington, 1971.

Cate, P. Dennis. Claire Van Vliet Printmaker and Printer. New Brunswick, 1975.

Lehrer, Ruth Fine. The Janus Press l955-1975. Burlington, 1976.

Rothe, Wolfgang. Kunst Zu Kafka. Stutgart, 1979.

Fine, Ruth E. The Janus Press 1976-1980. Burlington, 1982.

Taylor, W. Thomas. "Claire Van Vliet's Janus Press," American Craft (February-March 1987), 52-59, 66.

Fine, Ruth E. The Janus Press, 1981-90. Burlington, 1992.

Van der Wateren, Jan. Experimenting with the Book, The Janus Press. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1994.

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