|Life Dates||born 1926|
|Place of Birth||East Lansing, MI, USA|
|Birth Name||Margaret Jean Kettunen|
Raised in East Lansing, Michigan, Margaret Jean (or Mar Jean) Kettunen was slated to become a home economics teacher but shifted course and moved to New York, where she took a job as assistant to *Glamour*’s art editor. Hearing about Atelier 17 through a colleague at Condé Nast, Kett—as she became known professionally—attended Hayter’s classes in the evenings and became a masterful engraver. She won a purchase prize at the 1950 Brooklyn print annual for Heavy Bird and showed in the museum’s next four annuals. Heavy Bird, a relatively large plate for this period, features biomorphic shapes carefully filled with intricately engraved and etched textures. She earned the respect of Hayter, whose terse statement “she is good” counts as rare enthusiasm by the standards of his prose.1 She was the only woman included in a small show of Atelier 17 engravings held at the Lotte Jacobi Gallery in late 1954, surrounded by the men who dominated the field of engraving: Hayter, Joseph Hecht, Roger Vieillard, Pierre Courtin, Leo Katz, and Gabor Peterdi.2 Like so many married women of her generation, however, Kett faded from professional prominence because of family commitments and economic necessity. She moved to Northern California in 1953 and married in 1954. Although she continued to work as a printmaker, she concentrated for some period on raising four children and teaching art at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley.3 Kett worked as a printmaker into her eighties and produced about two hundred plates.
Margaret “Kett” Zegart, oral history by Nancy Emerson, May 1, May 8, and June 20, 2017, Mill Valley Oral History Program.
“College Announces Two New Courses.” Daily Independent Journal. June 16, 1961.
Contemporary Prints from Northern California for the Art in the Embassies Program, 1966-68. Oakland, CA: Oakland Museum, 1966.
Lewis, Mary Nell. “Summer Trails.” Lansing State Journal, August 24, 1949.
Lusk, Kathie Mull. “‘Glamour’ Talk.” Lansing State Journal, July 9, 1950, sec. 14.
“One-Man Show.” Lansing State Journal, October 28, 1951.
- Stanley William Hayter to Peter Grippe, 3 October 1952, Allentown Art Museum, The Grippe Collection, Allentown, Penn. ↩
- Exhibition announcement in Series XIII: Oversized Material, oversize box 3, Lotte Jacobi Papers, University of New Hampshire Library, Durham. ↩
- The Mill Valley Oral History Program, organized by the Mill Valley Library and Mill Valley Historical Society, completed an informative oral history with Kett in 2017, which talks about her life and career after leaving New York for California. ↩