Frank C. Eckmair (1930-2012) lived most of his life in central New York. He spent his early years drawing and working at his father’s hotel in Gilbertsville, a small village in Otsego County, west of Cooperstown. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of Iowa, where he studied with Mauricio Lasansky, who is considered to be the “Father of 20th-Century American Printmaking.” After teaching public school, Eckmair served in the U.S. Air Force in Korea, Japan, and the northwestern United States. He then received a Master of Fine Arts in printmaking from Ohio University. From 1963 to 1995 he was a revered teacher at Buffalo State College, where he influenced a generation of artists.
His work received its earliest recognition through American Associated Artists (AAA), a program founded to market affordable fine art prints to the American public. Like earlier artists such as Grant Wood, John Steuart Curry, and Thomas Hart Benton, Eckmair created prints of regional landscapes for AAA that had great populist appeal. He was also the artistic director of Birch Book Press, a publisher of hand-crafted letterpress books and art. Considered a master of the woodcut and represented in major collections around the world, Eckmair created haunting works evoking rural life in upstate New York.