Last summer I flew to Los Angeles to film a master printer making his last print. Over the course of a 48-year career, Jacob Samuel devised portable tools that enabled him to bring the rigor and depth of old master etching to the studios of contemporary artists. In turn, their experimentation propelled his craft. In this video, as Samuel inks, wipes, and rolls his final print through the press, he reflects on his philosophy, driven by an aversion to pretense and a love of artists. “My goal is to leave no fingerprints,” he says. “All you see is the artist’s work. I’m just another pencil. I’m just another brush. But I want the pencil to be sharpened really well. I want the brush to be sable. And to do that and be completely spontaneous, I trust the materials.”

New Ground: Jacob Samuel and Contemporary Etching is on view at MoMA October 29, 2023–March 23, 2024.