"Wabasca Portage" is a color collagraph from 1976 by American printmaker John Ihle (1925-2002). It is from his "Canadian Series" and is pencil signed, titled, editioned IV/V, and inscribed in the lower left corner: "Canadian Series 1976 Plate 3." It was printed by the artist on Arches paper measuring 22-1/4 x 22-3/8 inches. The reference is North Dakota 53.
During the 1968 and 1969 academic year, Ihle was Visiting Artist at the University of Alberta and in the 1970s he began the "Canadian Series" comprised of collagraphs. Wabasca, also known as Wabasca-Desmarais, is a hamlet in northern Alberta, Canada, within the Municipal District of Opportunity No. 17. The name Wabasca originates from the Cree word 'wapuskau', meaning "white rapid," the name for the Wabasca River.
Printmaker and educator, John Ilhle was born in Chicago in 1925. A recipient of the GI Bill, he enrolled in 1946 at Illinois Wesleyan University where he studied under Francis Chapin. During the summer of 1949, he enrolled at the University of Iowa to study printmaking with Mauricio Lasansky. He returned to Wesleyan in the fall and received his B.F.A. in 1950. Ernest Freed, Professor at Bradley University and a Lasansky student, viewed Ihle's graduate show and offered him graduate assistance at Bradley. Ihle became Freed's graduate assistant and earned his M.A. in 1951.
In 1952, Ihle moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and, in 1955, he joined the faculty of San Francisco State University where he was appointed to full Professor. He was an active supporter of printmaking and participated in the Bay Printmakers and the California Society of Printmakers. He was awarded the 1998 Distinguished Artist Award from the California Society of Printmakers.
Ihle's work is represented in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Library of Congress, New York Public Library, Northwest Museum of Arts + Culture, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and the National Gallery of Art.