About The Artist
Frances Swigart Steg creates original work, both prints and paintings. She personally prints and signs each limited edition. These are traditional intaglio and relief prints, not reproductions. Most are on handmade paper, often water colored. Her paintings are oil on gold, silver, and copper leaf on wood. Atelier Frances Swigart has been a source for the designer, architect, and collector for 40 years.
From childhood she knew that art was her passion. Her undergraduate mentor was Sadie Irvine, who taught Frances at the Sacred Heart Convent in New Orleans. Frances received her BFA from Newcomb Art School of Tulane University. Her painting teacher was Ida Kohlmyer. She learned etching from James Steg, whom she married many years later. After graduating, she worked in the graphic art department of her father’s Advertising agency. Later while teaching at the Hunter Museum of Art and the University of Tennessee, she started publishing her etchings with TransArt in Atlanta. On returning to New Orleans, she began printing from her own Atelier. On her father’s first visit to the studio, he was surprised to find a press like the press his father had used. Frances’s grandfather had died before she was born, yet both chosen the same medium for their art.
Recently, mentored by Mario Villa, she is painting large format works on silver leaf.
"I am an artist to the core. That is how I spend my life. I enjoy the traditional methods with no third party interpretation such as a camera. I care about availability of fine original art to all who appreciate it. Etchings can be editioned, while coming directly from the artist hand. They have an extraordinary surface, so visually rich. While continuing to print, I have recently begun large format painting on silver leaf. My hand finds a close relationship between manipulating the metallic surface of traditional leaf on wood with oil paint and the surface of the copper plate with oil based inks. I enjoy the play between work on very large surfaces and quite small.
About The Atelier’s Press
The press came to New Orleans "down river" on a clipper ship, more than 150 years ago, from New York. It printed bank notes in New Orleans during the era of "King Cotton".
Having no gears, extreme pressure is applied by the hand of the master printer to the plate by five levers incorporated in huge wheel, 6 feet in diameter.
Presses of this kind are still in use through out the world. Engravers of money and the etchers of fine art cherish them.
The image of the press is the embossed on each etching as the atelier chop.