Pressed for Time: Five Centuries of Prints from the Jack May Collection

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864–1901)
May Milton, 1895
Color lithograph, 31 ½ x 22 ½ inches
Collection of Jack May

Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery
January 19–April 29, 2021 

The Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery was pleased to present Pressed for Time: Five Centuries of Prints from the Jack May Collection. Curated by Vanderbilt students in conjunction with the Immersion Program and HART 2775 History of Prints students under the direction and leadership of Professor David H. Price, this exhibition of more than sixty works drawn from the private collection of Nashville collector Jack May to explore the diverse and fascinating history of printmaking.

Jack May’s interest in the subject originated in 1951, when he took a class on prints during his final semester at Yale College. The class was so inspiring that it turned out to be a course that never ended. Over the next 70 years, the Jack May Collection has evolved into an impressive anthology of the history of western prints. With works by artists such as Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Francisco Goya, Honoré Daumier, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Henri Matisse, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Mary Cassatt, Pablo Picasso and Edward Hopper, the collection is as varied as it is extensive.

Pressed for Time was curated by Cainie Brown, Chloe Davis, Peter Stidman, Sarah Treadway and Professor David H. Price, with assistance from students in HART 2775, History of Prints: Harrison Denman, Christopher Elliott, Sophia Moak, Courtney Rehkamp, Daniel Rodriguez, Won Jun Seok and Margaret Sturm. Jack May generously made his collection available for the curators, who met weekly with Prof. David Price throughout the summer and fall of 2020 to produce this exhibition. Organized in six thematic sections—A History of Art, People, Places, Society, Painters and the Print, and Comic Ink—Pressed for Time documents the extraordinary breadth of the Jack May Collection as well as a special affinity for social critique, satire and humor.

Jack May has enjoyed the companionship of fellow print lovers as he formed his collection, especially his wife, Lynn May (BA’60, MEd’82), and his sister, Betsy May Stern, as well as his father, Dan May (BA’19). This exhibition is a testament to, and celebration of, the May family’s dedicated collecting efforts and vast knowledge of print art, as well as their multi-generational relationship with Vanderbilt University.