Our partners in New York City, The Old Print Shop, have a stunning set of floral watercolors by 20th century artist Edith F. Johnston. Not much is know about Johnston, who created during the early to mid 20th century. She was illustrator and co-author (along with Margaret McKinney) of “A Book of Garden Flowers” published in 1941, “A Book of Wayside Fruits” in 1945, as well as “A Book of Wild Flowers” published in 1946. These publications offered rich insight and advice to their readers, with notes on planting windows and care for a multitude of flower varieties. Johnston and McKinney also included light history of each flower, including its use in ancient cultures and any symbolic meanings. Every book featured full-color multi-stone lithographs, after drawings by Johnston.
The original watercolors shown below vary in design and arrangement but all show a propensity towards illustrating with strong and dramatic color palettes. It is possible that several of the watercolors were studies for plants featured in her books. These unique works on paper would make beautiful additions to any natural history collection.
To see more by Edith Johnston, click here.
In preparation for our upcoming landscape show, Resonant Terrain, we have added several lithographs by Richard Florsheim, one of the artists selected for the exhibit, to our 20th century print inventory. With titles like “City Lights”, “Illuminations”, and “Light and Water”, it is apparent the Florsheim was engrossed with and inspired by his surroundings, allowing both the sea and the city to have equal reign over his creative focus. Using large, gestural sweeps of the lithographic pencil over stone and dynamic swathes of color, Florsheim was able to capture the vibrancy of his hometowns of Chicago and Provincetown.
Richard Florsheim was active as a painter, sculptor and graphics artist in Chicago, Milwaukee, Provincetown, and Woodstock, New York. Florsheim was born in Chicago in 1916. He spent his youth and early adulthood studying at the University of Chicago and in New York with artist Aaron Bohrod. His father paid for a lengthy European independent study, where Florsheim exhibited at Salon des Refusés, and the Musée du Jeu de Paume honored him by purchasing one of his paintings, Don Quixote.
Florsheim returned to Chicago in 1939, and began lithography in 1940, exhibiting at the Quest Gallery and working out of a studio on North Avenue. He then enlisted in the US Navy, active in the Pacific Theater as a cartographer. It was at this time that he also obtained patents for his radar plane-spotting technique.
After the war, he resumed his artistic career, exhibiting widely. He helped found the Artists’ League of the Midwest with Artists’ Equity Association of New York. He was assistant director of the Arts Center Association, 1951-52, and taught at the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee from 1949 to 1950, and the Contemporary Art Workshop in Chicago from 1952 to 1963. From 1965 to 1973, he was a board member of the Illinois Arts Council. Florsheim was a member of the National Academy of Design, the Society of American Graphic Artists, the Provincetown Art Association, which he served as Trustee and Vice President from 1962 to 1971, and the Chicago Society of Artists.
We have a new Past/Present post for our readers today, featuring two vividly colored prints of flower bouquets. Both sharing strong compositional value, the selected prints place the bouquets against a striking black background, allowing the pink, yellow, and blue petals to almost pop off the paper.
The older print is a lithograph from the 19th century publishing firm, Currier and Ives. All Currier & Ives lithographs were printed in black and white, and then hand colored after printing. In contrast, the print by 20th century Cuban-American artist Emilio Sanchez is a color lithograph, meaning the color was adding during the printing process, not later by hand. Despite their different applications of color, they both make stunning prints.
The Currier and Ives print continues the tradition of the floral still life, which first flourished in the Netherlands in the 1600s. With an overflowing arrangement of flowers, additional natural elements like eggs and a nest pictured to the side, and the meticulous detail given to both the petals and the woven basket holding the flowers, the Currier print is an ebullient display of abundance in harmonious balance. In contrast, Sanchez has a looser, amorphous approach to the flowers, emphasizing color and form over detail, and opting for a smaller bouquet and sparse vase. Hope you enjoy!
Image on the left: A Choice Bouquet. Published by Currier & Ives, 125 Nassau St. New York. Lithograph, hand-colored, 1872. Image size 8 1/2 x 12 1/2″ (215 x 318 mm).
Image on the right: Florecitas. By Emilio Sanchez. Color lithograph, 1997. Image size 15 3/4 x 8 7/8″ (394 x 227 mm). Edition 50. Signed, titled and numbered in pencil.
The Old Print Gallery is pleased to announce its summer 2014 show, Form, Light, Line: Architecture in Print. This group show of 19 printmakers spans over 90 years of creative expression, with prints by 20th century American masters John Taylor Arms, Martin Lewis, and Armin Landeck coupled with works by cutting-edge, contemporary printmakers. Form, Light, Line opens on Friday, June 20, with a nighttime reception at the gallery from 5-8pm. The show will remain on view until September 13, 2014.
Artists have long found beauty in the strength, durability, and utility of architecture. Form, Light, Line allows viewers to experience the familiar composition of buildings through the artist’s eye- to visually explore how surface captures light, how windows both reveal and reflect, and how dimensional spaces can be flattened and abstracted into planes of light and dark.
Highlights include a trio of black and white graphic serigraphs by Patrick J. Anderson, John Taylor Arms’ meticulous 1927 etching Lace in Stone, Rouen Cathedral, and a 1929 study for a large watercolor, Spiral Staircase, from the Martin Lewis estate. This pen and ink representation of the Queensboro Bridge is a delicate exploration of space and shading. Also on view is an Armin Landek 1941 engraving Rooftop, with accompanying annotated pen and pencil study for the print. The pair reveals the artist’s approach to perspective, as well as sketches of specific architectural elements, like moldings and chimneys.
Selected Artists: Linda Adato, Patrick J. Anderson, John Taylor Arms, William Behnken, Grace Bentley-Scheck, Joan Drew, Richard Haas, Su-Li Hung, Sidney Hurwitz, Armin Landeck, Martin Levine, Martin Lewis, Frederick Mershimer, John Ross, Emilio Sanchez, Art Werger, Steven Yamin, and Alex Zwarenstein.
To see all the prints selected for Form, Light, Line: Architecture in Print, please visit our website.