William P Carl says, dealing in fine art has always been my "raison d 'être." And since graduating from Colgate University with a degree in art history and doing graduate study in Library Science he has followed his dream. He worked in the Wiggin Print Room at the Boston Public Library and seven years at Childs Gallery in Boston. Long time "Keeper of the Prints" at the Boston Public Library, Sinclair Hitchings, and later print curator of prints at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Cliff Ackley, were his mentors. Carl specializes in American, Dutch, Belgian and French prints 1880-1950 and he notes that it was Cliff Ackley who introduced him to modern Dutch printmaking.
Carl started his business in 1983 but sold his first print in 1976. He is a private dealer residing in Durham, NC where collectors may view his inventory by appointment. He travels and has booths in 5-7 print fairs each year which are his main source of exposure. He is a member of the International Fine Print Dealers Association and considers the IFPDA Print Fair his most important fair. Other fairs which Carl regularly attends are the San Francisco Fine Print Fair, McNay Print Fair, (San Antonio), Portland Fine Print Fair, Minneapolis Print and Drawing Fair, and the Capital Art Print Fair. Carl maintains a large and comprehensive website where one can view hundreds of works of over 500 artists. Furthermore, he updates his website on a weekly basis to keep his clients abreast of the newest acquisitions. Museums here in the U.S. and abroad are a significant part of his client base.
Carl purchases almost all of the prints in his inventory. Of the over 500 artists he shows he only works with three living artists, Charles Donker (Dutch) and Jakob Demus (Austrian) and Grietje Postma (Dutch). Fine prints are mainly purchased wherever he can find them with his primary sources in the U.S. However over the last twenty years his interests have expanded and he now buys in Holland, Belgium and France. In the mid 1980s he visited a print gallery in Amsterdam on Nieuwe Spiegelstraat and was amazed at the works of Dutch artists done 1880 - 1940s. He began buying their works. He progressed to Belgium where he collected works by artists done between the wars. In his travels he made connections with important European dealers and collectors and purchased not only fine prints but also books. He continues to bring his finds to the U.S. to introduce these works to his American clients.
While print dealing is the only profession Carl has ever known he is also a collector. His personal collection includes drawings and prints by contemporary Americans including Michael Mazur, Sidney Goodman, Jim Dine, Sigmund Abeles and others. He says he responds to artists who can draw, something that is apparent in both his inventory for sale and his personal collection.
Today, printmaking has primarily progressed to the making of digital prints. Digital printmaking is now the dominant medium taught in the art departments of most schools. The current emphasis on digital printmaking dims the importance of quality etching, engraving, lithography and silk screens. This highlights the importance of works sold by William Carl. Furthermore his job is made more difficult as scarcity increases the efforts of his search for new inventory. He is only one of a very few fine print dealers working in this market today. Carl's approach is one of scholarship, integrity, knowledge, perseverance and the love of collecting.