C.A. Seward                     The Prairie Print Makers              Contact /Site Map            


Coy Avon Seward, known to his friends as C.A. or Seward, left behind a broad legacy: that of a skilled illustrator and commercial designer, an inexhaustible mentor and promoter of the arts, and as an author. The effects of these endeavors have endured. Of equal importance was his career as a fine artist and innovative printmaker. During his lifetime his work as a printmaker received national and international acclaim and it continues to be sought after today.


By 1906, at the age of 22, C.A. Seward had begun his career as a commercial artist in his home town of Chase, Kansas. His portfolio and reputation grew quickly. By 1907, he opened his commercial art studio in Wichita, Kansas.   Among his first clients were some of Wichita’s earliest entrepreneurs like A.A. Hyde and his Mentholatum Company and W.C. Coleman with his lighting company.  In 1909 Seward was hired as the Art Editor for Kansas Magazine.  In this capacity he not only designed all the cover art but also began what became another one of his lifelong endeavors, writing about art. By 1910 Seward expanded his design studio to include an art school and renamed it the Southwestern School of Art.  A job opportunity and the needs of his growing family soon inspired him to close this studio and art school to become the Manager of the Art Department for Capper Engraving.  He remained with the Capper  Company for about 8 years. Then another chance arose for him to once again open his own freelance commercial art studio combined with an art school as well as an exhibition and sales gallery. His new Seward Studio was acclaimed by the Wichita newspaper as something one might experience in Greenwich Village in New York. During this time Seward also became very involved with others in founding the Wichita Art Association.  As the first Secretary-Treasurer he worked to develop the exhibition and art class programs. After these programs became established Seward then closed his own school and studio in 1923 to become the Director of Art for the Western Lithograph Company. He held this position for 16 years until his death in 1939 at the age of 54. 

Throughout his life Seward worked as a commercial artist and illustrator by day and pursued his own personal fine art in the evenings and during weekend or vacation sketching trips.  He was a life-long student; he never stopped assimilating new ideas and techniques. He amassed an extensive and varied collection of American, European and Japanese prints as well as books.  He also maintained a vast correspondence with artist friends from coast to coast.  In a letter to the curator at the Smithsonian a Seward thus  aptly noted that he was “mostly self taught.”  He did briefly study with painter, George Melville Stone and cartoonist, Albert Turner Reid at Washburn College. Then for a short time he taught drawing classes to pay expenses while working with Swedish painter, Birger Sandzen at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas.  Influenced by these early mentors, Seward's first pursuit of fine art began with paintings. In these first endeavors he did meet with success. In 1921 he created a large oil painting, “Wichita In 1869” which was exhibited at the annual Wichita “Wheat Show” exposition and he also received a commission to paint a large oil, “The Acropolis,” for the Grand Masonic Lodge at Topeka, Kansas. 

By 1919, Seward began to combine his commercially-honed technical printing knowledge and his skill as a draftsman into the creation of his own print images. It was with this medium that he was able to achieve his goals as an artist.  “The lithograph is the medium for the man who wants to draw,” were Seward’s own words. He quickly developed a strong, deceptively fluid and easy appearing personal style.  For 20 years, until his death in 1939, Seward focused on capturing his observations of the nuances of the landscape around him. As early as 1923, his prints were receiving national and international recognition. His reputation as a fine artist was built on his widely recognized skill as a printmaker, especially in the medium of lithography.  By the end of his life his prints had been exhibited  in solo and juried group shows throughout the United States.

Prints allowed Seward to expand his other goal of making good art available to everyone despite their income beyond his home in Kansas. In 1928 he initiated a national, annual Block Print Exhibition which by 1938 included all printmaking mediums.  In 1930, he became the leading spirit and catalytic founding member of the Prairie Print Makers. This group had a clearly stated goal:  “to further the interests of both artists and laymen in printmaking and collecting.” It quickly became nationally prominent with its’ gift print and exhibition program. Then in 1931 Seward’s seminal book, “Metal Plate Lithography for Artists and Draftsmen,” was published.  Three years later, in 1934 he authored  a guide book on lithography as part of the "Enjoy Your Museum" series.

Through all these years,  Seward continually broadened his work as an arts advocate not just as a founding member of both the Wichita Art Association and the Wichita Art Museum but also the Wichita Artists’ Guild and then by 1932 as the Director and then President of the Kansas Federation of the Arts.  Somehow he also found time to mentor countless up-and-coming artists, providing instruction, encouragement, and supplies during what many later fondly described as “Saturdays at Seward’s studio.” 

The years of the 1920s - 1940s were a zenith period of printmaking in America, and Seward was very much a part of this movement. And in just 54 brief years Seward somehow succeeded so well in his many  endeavors that with his life he influenced  the lives of many generations to come.

Born - 3 March 1884
Chase, Rice Co, Kansas
Died - 31 January 1939, Wichita, Kansas

Titles below  immediately access the listed topics

To View a Photo Biography of   C.A. Seward

Artist & Printmaker
Mentors & Teachers Exhibitions & Awards
Reviews & Publications
Memberships & Commissions

Illustrator & Commercial Designer
Capper Engraving & Publishing Company
Seward Studio
Western Lithograph Company

Business Clients
Other Projects

1930 “Metal Plate Lithography for Artists & Draftsmen,”
1936 “Enjoy Your Museum: Lithographs”

Arts Advocate
1920 Wichita Schools Arts Acquisition Program & the Seward Studio Exhibitions and Classes
1920 Wichita Art Association
   & Wichita Art Museum
1924 Wichita Artists Guild
1930 The Prairie Printmakers Makers
1932 Kansas Federation of the Arts

Charles M. Capps
Lloyd Foltz
Clarence A. Hotvedt
Herschel C. Logan
William "Bill" Dickerson
Bruce Moore
Edmund Kopietzhttp://casewardprintmaker.com/Seward_Photo_Biography/Biography.htmlhttp://casewardprintmaker.com/Seward_Photo_Biography/Biography.htmlhttp://casewardprintmaker.com/Seward_Photo_Biography/Biography.htmlmailto:bthomdes@gmail.com?subject=Seward%20querymailto:bthomdes@gmail.com?subject=Seward%20querymailto:bthomdes@gmail.com?subject=Seward%20queryArtist_%26_Printmaker.htmlhttp://casewardprintmaker.com/Mentors_and_Teachers_and_artist_Friends/Mentors_%26_Teachers.htmlExhibitions_%26_Awards.htmlReviews_%26_Publications.htmlMemberships_%26_Commissions.htmlMemberships_%26_Commissions.htmlhttp://casewardprintmaker.com/Commercial_Artwork/illustrator_%26_commercial_designer.htmlhttp://casewardprintmaker.com/Commercial_Artwork/illustrator_%26_commercial_designer.htmlhttp://casewardprintmaker.com/Western_Lithograph/Seward_-_Western_Lithograph_Co_intro.htmlhttp://casewardprintmaker.com/Western_Lithograph/Seward_-_Western_Lithograph_Co_intro.htmlAuthor.htmlArts_Advocate.htmlhttp://casewardprintmaker.com/Mentor/Mentor.htmlhttp://casewardprintmaker.com/Mentor/Clarence_Hotvedt.htmlhttp://casewardprintmaker.com/Mentor/Herschel_C._Logan.htmlhttp://casewardprintmaker.com/Mentor/Bruce_Moore.htmlhttp://casewardprintmaker.com/Mentor/Ed_Kopietz.htmlshapeimage_3_link_0shapeimage_3_link_1shapeimage_3_link_2shapeimage_3_link_3shapeimage_3_link_4shapeimage_3_link_5shapeimage_3_link_6shapeimage_3_link_7shapeimage_3_link_8shapeimage_3_link_9shapeimage_3_link_10shapeimage_3_link_11shapeimage_3_link_12shapeimage_3_link_13shapeimage_3_link_14shapeimage_3_link_15shapeimage_3_link_16shapeimage_3_link_17shapeimage_3_link_18shapeimage_3_link_19shapeimage_3_link_20shapeimage_3_link_21shapeimage_3_link_22shapeimage_3_link_23shapeimage_3_link_24shapeimage_3_link_25shapeimage_3_link_26shapeimage_3_link_27shapeimage_3_link_28shapeimage_3_link_29

Images on this page (top to bottom, left to right): Seward lithographs - Sunshine and Shadow, Somewhere in New Mexico, and Taos Gate. Seward painting of Kansas Meadowlark, Kansas Day Postcard, and illustration for Western Lithograph Company.  Photographs of C.A. Seward - about age 26 and about age 50.

C.A. Seward

1884 - 1939

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CA Seward and the Prairie Print Makers