Before Books It is evident from the printed and collage work in the Erica Van Horn Prints collection at the Beinecke Library that many elements of both the artist’s practice and the primary thematic concerns of her work were present from the beginning of her career. Like much of Van Horn’s later work, her early prints explore the documentation of daily events, the reuse of materials, the role of narrative in visual art, and the various and complex workings of memory. Using a method called chine collé, which allows an artist to add collage elements during the printing process, Van Horn adds unique pieces to each of the prints in an edition: “Since all of my collage elements were found and saved things,” Van Horn writes, “every print became a unique object. . . . I could use the same plates dozens of times and use the exact same method and color in my inking, but the collage elements changed each time. . . . I used the prints as storage for remembering things.” As in her later work, Van Horn’s prints combine image and text in unusual ways, including the incorporation of envelopes, letter forms, and handwritten documents. Foreshadowing the pronounced stitching common in her bookworks, in some cases Van Horn has finished individual prints with handsewn patterns in brightly colored thread. (Beinecke Call Number: YCAL MSS 340)


España, España, España, 1976


Message Written No. 5, 1978


Triangle Letter Series No. 3, 1978


Inventory, 1978


Book Series No. 12, 1978


Mail Monster, 1981


Big Head, 1981


Quote, 1979


Calligraphic Exercise, 1979


Some Buildings: Three Choices, 1980


Bookcase Study for Installation at Franklin Furnace, 1985