Drypoint, Early 20th Century, Etching, Gallery Openings, Gallery Updates, Landscapes, Lithograph, Natural History, Prints

FEATHERED

Old Squaws #2. By Frank W. Benson. Etching, 1921. Ed 150. LINK.

Old Squaws #2. By Frank W. Benson. Etching, 1921. Ed 150. LINK.

The Old Print Gallery is pleased to announce its new winter show, FEATHERED, which will open on February 19th and run through April 9th, 2016. FEATHERED will celebrate the beauty, power, and reverence of winged animals, captured in prints. Artists have been forever fascinated by birds and their ability to gracefully navigate the open skies on stretched wings, suspended between earth, sky, and water, hopping from perch to perch. FEATHERED showcases the work of three celebrated natural history and ornithological printmakers from the 20th century- Frank W. Benson, H. Emerson Tuttle, and Stow Wengenroth. Each artist offers a unique, distinctive approach to depicting birds is in their prints, which makes for a varied and compelling grouping on the wall.

The prints of Frank W. Benson (1862-1951), nicknamed the father of sporting art, suggest the perspective of a naturalist and bird hunter. His close and watchful examination of a bird’s flight path and tendencies in the water offer a firsthand record of nature, gleaned not from dead models in a studio, but from a close familiarity of birds in the wild. Captured in Benson’s spare compositions and delicate line work, their vital essence is expressed in the way the birds move through their environment- sunlight and shadows hitting their winged bodies in flight, ripples in water as ducks float through still marshes, traces of a whole flock of birds dotting the horizon.

Aquiline Eagle (Eagle Head). H. Emerson Tuttle. Drypoint, 1937. Ed. 45. LINK.

Aquiline Eagle (Eagle Head). H. Emerson Tuttle. Drypoint, 1937. Ed. 45. LINK.

H. Emerson Tuttle (1890-1946), devoted much of his career to drawing and etching prints of birds, both from life, and using stuffed specimens in his studio. Arresting and commanding, his prints take on the appearance of formal seated portraits. Intricate detail is given to the patterns of feathers, the cock of the head, and oftentimes, the direct gaze of the bird. Tuttle’s prints are unswerving and full of personality- his birds take center stage and are only sometimes supported by a background. Tuttle captures their beauty and dynamism with his drypoint needle, imbuing his birds with almost human-like dispositions.

In contrast, Stow Wengenroth (1906-1978) is known for his landscapes, so his birds appear in their expected and rightful place, perched in mottled tree branches, exploring sand dunes, and in flight, weaving among shadows of trees. Birds play a principal part of his New England landscapes, adding movement and breathing life into his lithographic sceneries.

Breakwater. Stow Wengenroth. Lithograph, 1986. Ed. 50. LINK.

Breakwater. Stow Wengenroth. Lithograph, 1986. Ed. 50. LINK.

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Early 20th Century, Landscapes, Lithograph, Prints

Stow Wengenroth on a Print’s Purpose

A beautiful quote by lithographer Stow Wengenroth, found in the pages of  “The Lithographs of Stow Wengenroth” by Ronald and Joan Stuckey:

Cape Ann Willows   [Rockport, Massachusetts.] Stow Wengenroth. Lithograph, 1947. Image size 8 3/4 x 13 1/2

Cape Ann Willows. Stow Wengenroth. Lithograph, 1947. Image size 8 3/4 x 13 1/2″ (222 x 342 mm). LINK.

“If a little of the pleasure I got from being near those willows in that beautiful spot and if a little of the exhilaration I felt on being out-of-doors on those early September days are conveyed to those who behold the print, I shall have accomplished something for them… It is the season of quiet, of serenity and repose. That time of stillness, of arrested animation, is what I would like the print to convey. Such days are dramatic in their restrain, but they live long in our memories.. The print will serve its purpose well if it conveys to those who see it something of the enthusiasm and pleasure that went into its making.” -Stow Wengenroth (1906-1978).

“The Lithographs of Stow Wengenroth” is a masterful and thorough compendium of his work, process, and writings. As compelling as it is helpful, it would make a great resource for any Wengenroth collector or print enthusiast.

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19th Century Prints, Aquatint, Chromolithograph, Contemporary, Drypoint, Early 20th Century, Engraving, Lithograph, Natural History, Prints, Woodcut

Owl Prints

Throughout history, people have regarded owls with fascination and wonder. Few other creatures have so many varied and contradictory beliefs about them, owls have been both feared and venerated.

In early Indian folklore, owls represented wisdom and helpfulness. As a consequence of their night vision, they were believed to have powers of prophecy- capable of seeing concealed facets of a person or situation and were heralded as powerful predictors of events to come. This symbolism recurs in Aesop’s fables-“The Owl and the Other Birds”- and in Greek myths. In Greek mythology, the Owl was a creature sacred to Athena, goddess of the night who represented wisdom. Athena had a companion owl on her shoulder, which revealed unseen truths to her.

By the Middle Ages in Europe, the owl had become the cohort of witches and the inhabitant of dark, lonesome, and profane places. Its reputation was reduced to a feared specter. An owl’s emergence at night, when others were left vulnerable and blind, linked them with creatures and spirits both mysterious and unknown. Its eerie call signaled a death was imminent or some evil was at hand, its hoot filled people with foreboding and apprehension.

During the eighteenth century, the zoological attributes of owls were detailed through close observation, reducing the mystery that surrounded these animals.

Below are some of our owl prints, available at our gallery in  Georgetown or in shop in New York.

Asio otus (L.).  Waldohreule.  1 Mannchen.  Asio accipitrinus (Pall.).  Sumpfohreule. 2 Mannchen.  [Long-eared Owl / Short-eared Owl].  Published by Gera-Umterhaus. Chromolithograph. 1896-1905. $90.00

Asio otus (L.). Waldohreule. 1 Mannchen. Asio accipitrinus (Pall.). Sumpfohreule. 2 Mannchen. [Long-eared Owl / Short-eared Owl]. Published by Gera-Umterhaus. Chromolithograph. 1896-1905. $90.00

Snowy Owl No. 3. By H. Emerson Tuttle. Drypoint, 1934.

Snowy Owl No. 3. By H. Emerson Tuttle. Drypoint, 1934. $250.00

Pl. V (owl and other birds). By Theodore Jasper. Published by Jacob H. Studer Co., Colombus, OH. Chromolithograph, 1878. From "Popular Ornithology, The Birds of North America" by Jacob H. Studer. $75.00

Pl. V (owl and other birds). By Theodore Jasper. Published by Jacob H. Studer Co., Colombus, OH. Chromolithograph, 1878. From “Popular Ornithology, The Birds of North America” by Jacob H. Studer. $75.00

Subcommittee. Joan Drew. Woodcut, 1968. Edition 32. $350.00

Subcommittee. Joan Drew. Woodcut, 1968. Edition 32. $350.00

Burrowing Owl, Columbian Owl, European Little, Pygmy Owl, Short-eared Owl  PL. 432. John James Audubon. Aquatint and engraving, 1838.

Burrowing Owl, Columbian Owl, European Little, Pygmy Owl, Short-eared Owl PL. 432. John James Audubon. Aquatint and engraving, 1838.

Frank and Bernie.  [Rockport, Massachusetts.] By Stow Wengenroth. Lithograph,1977. $1,200.00

Frank and Bernie. [Rockport, Massachusetts.] By Stow Wengenroth. Lithograph,1977. Edition 100. $1,200.00

Owl No. 1. By Ben Shahn. Lithograph, 1968. $1,200.00

Owl No. 1. By Ben Shahn. Lithograph, 1968. $1,200.00

 

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Contemporary, Early 20th Century, Lithograph, Past/Present, Prints, Woodcut

Past/Present: Rooftop Gardens

Today we have a new P/P post, featuring two prints of rooftop gardens.  Our early 20th century print is by Stow Wengenroth. Wengenroth, although best remembered for his scenes of New England and the water, was actually a native of Brooklyn, NY and depicted the city in many of his prints.  His lithographs eschewed color, instead relying on shadow, form, and lines to produce dynamic scenes. In the print featured below, Wengenroth used long shadows to draw attention to the brick bones of the building. The afternoon light highlights some  fern leaves and eclipses others, giving the plant depth and an unruly volumetric presence. In the top corner, the cluster of rounded pots offers a nice visual respite from the straight, architectural lines found elsewhere in the print.

Our contemporary print is by NY artist Karen Whitman, who, like Wengenroth, printed a rooftop garden scene without the use of color. Instead, she relies on exaggerated and spirited lines, coupled with slightly distorted, full shapes.  Whitman’s prints express an exuberance and playfulness of urban life. The chief source of her inspiration is New York City–its architecture, people and all the other creatures that inhabit this teeming metropolis. She is a master printmaker working in relief printing, and over the last several years, has produced a several fine images using the intaglio process.

On making prints, Whitman states, “My studio is in Woodstock, New York, and my images are of, or inspired by, New York City, to which I have been closely connected all my life. I sketch on location, creating drawings which will become black and white  images. I print them myself with a hand-cranked horizontal proof press from 1914. The press was designed to proof metal type before it was printed on higher speed presses. This method is now obsolete commercially, but it is perfect for printing mounted linoleum blocks. I like the concept of keeping this machine, a masterpiece of mechanical engineering but outdated for what it was created to do, productive in a modern capacity. The result is good old-fashioned contemporary prints with infinite possibilities.”

Image on Left: Roof Garden[New York, New York]. By Stow Wengenroth. Lithograph, 1933. Edition25. 

Image on Right: Rooftop Garden. By Karen Whitman, Woodcut, 2003. Edition 85.

Roof Garden [New York, New York]. Stow Wengenroth, Lithograph, 1933. Edition 25.Rooftop Garden. Karen Whitman. Woodcut, 2003. Edition 85.

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