Color Linoblock Print, Early 20th Century, Linoleum Block Print, Prints

Ernest W. Watson

Mousehole in Cornwall. By Ernest W. Watson. Color linoleum cut, c.1930. Signed and titled in pencil. Edition 100. 65/100. LINK.

Mousehole in Cornwall. By Ernest W. Watson. Color linoleum cut, c.1930. Signed and titled in pencil. Edition 100. 65/100. LINK.

Ernest William Watson, artist and author, was born in Conway, Mass., Jan 14, 1884. Watson graduated in 1906 from the Massachusetts Normal Art School (now Massachusetts College of Art), Boston, and received an art teacher education degree in 1907 at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York, after a year of study there. From 1908 to 1929, he was a teacher of design, drawing, perspective, and composition at Pratt. Ernest met his wife, Eva Auld Watson when she attended one of his classes there.

In 1915, Watson co-founded the Berkshire Summer School of Art, Monterey, Mass., with Raymond P. Ensign. Watson continued active in the school during summers until 1927. Located at what had been a hilltop farm in Monterey, Massachusetts, the school stayed in existence until 1936.

In 1937, Watson, along with with Ralph Reinhold and Arthur L. Guptill, founded Watson-Guptill Publications, Inc., based in New York City. This was the first publishing firm in the United States to specialize in books that taught artists how to paint, draw, and work in sculpture. The firm also published American Artist magazine, with Watson as editor-in-chief from 1931-1955. Throughout his active career, Watson was deeply concerned with gaining greater attention for American artists, and he devoted a sort-of pioneering zeal to attaining this purpose. For his articles in American Artist, he interviewed more than 200 American artists in their homes or studios. It was Watson’s interview with Andrew Wyeth, a feature article accompanied by reproductions of Wyeth’s watercolors and sketches, reported in September, 1942, that won for Wyeth one of his first national acclamations.

Watson was also a pioneer in printmaking- working tirelessly to hone the craft of linoleum block prints. As he developed new techniques of color printmaking, he shared his knowledge with a book Linoleum Block Printing (1929) and organized traveling exhibits for the display of his lino-block prints. His work was acquired by the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., the New York Public Library, New York City, Brooklyn Museum, Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Albert H. Wiggin Print Collection of the Boston Public Library.

(Excerpted and adapted from “Ernest W. Watson Biography”, at )


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