Color Woodcut, Early 20th Century, Engraving, Gallery Opening Receptions, Gallery Openings, Landscapes, Prints, Wood, woodblock print, Woodcut

“Ink & Grain” to open in September

Autumn Road Santa Fe. By Norma Basset Hall. Color woodblock, 1928. Signed in pencil by the artist.

Autumn Road Santa Fe. By Norma Basset Hall. Color woodblock, 1928. Signed in pencil by the artist.

The Old Print Gallery is proud to announce its new fall print show, Ink & Grain, which will open on Friday, September 19, 2014 with a free opening night reception from 5-8pm at the gallery. Ink & Grain is a group show, highlighting 20th century printmakers who excelled in woodcuts and wood engravings. The exhibit will remain on view at the Old Print Gallery until November 15th, 2014.

One of the most ancient forms of printmaking, the woodcut was in huge decline in the 19th century, as printmakers turned to other forms of reproductive mediums. Luckily, the 20th century saw a revived and energized artistic expression for woodcuts and wood engravings. These new woodcut artists experimented heavily with technique, in ways both innovative and nuanced. Printmakers, like Werner Drewes and Barbara Latham, incorporated the grain of the woodblock directly into the composition of their prints- surrendering to its complexities while highlighting its unique, undulating patterns. Others, including Gustave Baumann, Leo Frank, Norma Bassset Hall, and Luigi Rist, experimented with new methods of ink and color application, resulting in stylized prints in a bold, modern palate, as well as softer, luminous color prints inked onto thin Japanese paper.

Sea Shell and Carlic. Luigi Rist. Color woodcut, 1947. Signed in ink on the block. Titled and inscribed "150 Edition" in pencil.

Sea Shell and Garlic. Luigi Rist. Color woodcut, 1947. Signed in ink on the block. Titled and inscribed “150 Edition” in pencil.

Wood engravings also saw a resurgence during the 20th century, especially in the form of artist’s hand-made books and commercial book illustrations. The show includes works by skilled wood engravers Clare Leighton, Lawrence N. Wilbur, and John Murphy, all who made a name for themselves as dynamic illustrators and artists.

Digging Potatoes. By Clare Leighton. Wood engraving, 1935. Signed and titled in pencil. Edition 30.

Digging Potatoes. By Clare Leighton. Wood engraving, 1935. Signed and titled in pencil. Edition 30.

Selected Artists: Gustave Baumann, Asa Cheffetz, Werner Drewes, Leo Frank, Antonio Frasconi, Eliza Draper Gardiner, Norma Bassett Hall, Barbara Latham, Clare Leighton, Alessandro Mastro-Valerio, John J. A. Murphy, Luigi Rist, Mabel Royds, Charles Svendsen, Paul Wenck, Lawrence N. Wilbur, and Adja Yunkers.

 

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19th Century Prints, Americana, Early 20th Century, Engraving, Genre, Past/Present, Prints, Wood

Past/Present: Harvest

Today, we are drawing inspiration from the crisp fall air and turning leaves, and are featuring two wood engravings of corn harvesting. Wood engravings are made from the end-grain surface of very hard wood, usually boxwood. Rather than cutting away non-printing areas with a knife ( like a woodcut), wood engravings are made with fine engraving tools which are used to engrave the non-printing areas with incredible precision and detail. It is the surface that takes the ink and prints.

Winslow Homer is known as one of America’s most famous painters, water-colorists, and printmakers. He was born in Boston on February 24, 1836, and was apprenticed to the lithographer, J. H. Bufford of Boston, at the age of nineteen.  Homer started a long career as an illustrator for Harper’s Weekly in the late 1850’s and produced a large body of work during the Civil War, showing the intense and chaotic lives of soldiers and volunteers. After the war, Homer’s prints illustrated simpler times, with scenes of women and children at the beach, families on outings in the country, or sweet and tender indoor moments. The prints were a reflection of the nostalgia for earlier times, a sentiment the artist shared strongly with the American public after the Civil War.

Clare Leighton was an artist, writer and wood engraver, best known for her illustrated books documenting English rural life (The Farmer’s Year, 1933, Four Hedges, 1935), and her recording of life in America. Leighton immigrated to America in 1939, and was inspired by the work ethic and beauty of life in the country, at a time period when industrialization and urbanization were booming. Her prints are among the most celebrated and poignant records of American rural life of their period.

Image on Left: The Last Days of Harvest. By Winslow Homer. Published by Harper’s Weekly.  Wood engraving,  December 6, 1873.

Image on Right: Corn Pulling. By Clare Leighton. Wood engraving, 1952.

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