Claire Van Vliet

Claire Van Vliet

Born 1933

Artist Details

Birth Place
Ottawa, Canada
Phonetic Spelling
clair van vleet
Books and manuscripts; Drawings and prints; Painting
Places of Residence
Newark, Vermont
Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, California, 1951–54; San Diego State University, California, 1950
Retrospective Exhibitions

Claire Van Vliet: A Celebration of Paper, Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, Vermont, 2011; Claire Van Vliet and the Janus Press: Celebrating Fifty Years, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., and The Grolier Club, New York City, 2006; The Janus Press 1975-80 (1982), The Janus Press, 1955-75 (1975), and Claire Van Vliet: Prints (1970), Robert Hull Fleming Museum at the University of Vermont, Burlington

NMWA Exhibitions

Bound to Amaze: Inside a Book-Collecting Career, 2018
25 x 25: Artists’ Books from the National Museum of Women in the Arts Collection, 2012
Moveable Feast: The Book as Art, 2008
The Book as Art: Twenty Years of Artists’ Books from the National Museum of Women in the Arts, 2006–07
Book as Art XV, 2004
Insomnia: Landscapes of the Night, 2003
Book as Art XIII: Artists’ Books about Artists, 2001
Book as Art XII: Artists’ Books from the Permanent Collection, 2000
Book as Art: Tenth Anniversary Exhibition, 1997
Book as Art VII, 1994–95
Presswork: The Art of Women Printmakers, 1991
Book as Art IV, 1991
Book as Art I, 1987

About the Artist

Her early exposure to nature heightened Claire Van Vliet’s interest in the outdoors and influenced her desire to celebrate the landscape in her book artwork.

Van Vliet spent her childhood in the area of England near Stonehenge, where her father served in the Air Force. “We had an English nanny, and she took us on a long walk every day…so I was in the landscape a lot. I suspect that those walks were most formative,” she remembers.

The artist lost both parents before turning 14 and was raised by her aunt in California. An exceptionally gifted child, she graduated from high school at 15 before continuing her university education.  In 1955, she moved to Philadelphia to work as an apprentice at Pickering Press. That same year, Van Vliet’s first artist book of wood engravings, The Oxford Odyssey, was published. 

Van Vliet started Janus Press, presently located in Newark, Vermont. The press embodies the age-old tradition of book making, yet it also experiments with innovative book formats and structures. In addition to the more than 90 artist’s books that Van Vliet has published, she has also created hundreds of drawings, prints, pulp paintings, and broadsides.

Van Vliet exhibits and lectures around the world, in universities and museums, and has led multiple book-art workshops. She has been a recipient of many awards and honors, including a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1989. 

National Museum of Women in the Arts