Paul Herrera lecture at Reed College on Father Catich!

Free and open to the public
The Calligraphy Initiative of the Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery Reed College was honored to welcome Paul Herrera to present a one-hour illustrated lecture about the life and work of Father Edward M. Catich (1906–1979). As an undergraduate, Herrera began training with Father Catich in 1967, and after a period of military service, he worked as Catich's inscription cutter and calligraphy seminar assistant until the time of his death in 1979. At that point Herrera was invited to teach Catich’s classes at St. Ambrose, and continued in this role until 1989.

The Reverend Edward M. Catich was a leading authority on the Roman Imperial letter form, as found on the Trajan Column in Rome. The Trajan Inscription has been generally regarded by paleographers, calligraphers, and others interested in the letter arts as the finest example of Roman monumental lapidary inscription, and is accepted as the basic model of the Roman alphabet.

Father Catich began his paleographic and epigraphic research on the inscription in 1935 as he studied for the priesthood in Rome. After his ordination in December 1938, he returned to Rome many times over the course of his life to gather materials, which he published in two groundbreaking works: Letters Redrawn from the Trajan Inscription (1961) and Origin of the Serif (1968).

A highly regarded author, stone cutter, calligrapher, photographer, musician, liturgical artist, historian, and lecturer, Father Edward Catich taught at St. Ambrose College in Davenport, Iowa (now St. Ambrose University) for over forty years. Father Catich is familiar to the Portland calligraphy community because of his relationship with Reed College professor Lloyd J. Reynolds (1902–1978 and Reed 1929–1969). At Reynolds’ invitation, Catich produced two lapidary inscriptions that are now part of the permanent collection of the Portland Art Museum, as well as several carved inscriptions on the Reed College campus, including the lintel of Eliot Hall. Catich also trained Reynolds’ successor at Reed College—calligraphy instructor Robert Palladino (Reed, 1968–1984).

Photo: Father Edward Catich carving the lintel of Eliot Hall on the Reed College campus in 1960 using Trajan Roman capital letters. Courtesy of the Special Collections Department, Eric V. Hauser Memorial Library, Reed College.

Paul Herrera comes to Portland as a speaker at the TYPECON conference, August 21–25, 2013.

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