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Bertha E. Jaques (American, 1863-1941), an enterprising figure, is credited for the first etching ever produced in Chicago. Jaques was already a respected printmaker around the time she founded the Chicago Society of Etchers in 1910. Many of her prints depict shipyards and urban scenes, subjects that were deemed less acceptable for women artists of the era. Although she was interested in botany throughout her life and was an active member of the Wild Flower Preservation Society, it was not until later in her printmaking career that she began to etch botanical subjects. While it is not known when or how Jaques was introduced to the cyanotype, she began using commercially available cyanotype paper to produce photograms of wildflowers that recall Anna Atkins's work. Aligned with the anti-modernist views of the late Victorian Arts and Crafts movement, Jaques's work reflects a reverence for commonplace elements of nature and the beautifully crafted object.


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