America Prints 1879 – 1979

 From American Prints 1879-1979

Catalogue of an exhibition at the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum. 1980

By Frances Carey and Antony Griffiths

The Prints in this collection are all varied, with altering styles and methods of mark-making, due to the many artists that they collected from. I have picked out a selection that I find most relevant to what I am working on or because I find a piece personally satisfying to look at.

James McNeil Whistler (p22)

Pierrot
Pierrot

The textures in this etching is so simple, and yet Whistler manages to produce a complex scene. The large  foreground is balanced with large house. The etching holds depth with its skilful use of shadows; “Whistler… started hatching his shadows and foregrounds”. Even though the lines are harsh and straight there is still a soft, gentleness to the piece. As if the lines purposefully juxtapose the calm environment as a means of emphasis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Childe Hassam (P28)

The Lion Gardiner House, Easthampton
The Lion Gardiner House, Easthampton

The main reason I selected this piece was because I find the dappled affect of trees really interesting. Its extremely difficult to reproduce, especially with a form underneath the shadows such as the tree in this print. I find it amazing that this is  a etching as Hassam would have had to be so precise with all he marks he made.

 

 

 

 

 

John Sloan (P29)

Nude Reading
Nude Reading

 The lines in this etching are so varied. There is a soft texture to the nudes skin, with soft shadows and the light falling on her. These marks are then imitated in the folds of the bed but there is a contrast to the printing press in the background that has short sharp lines to represent how it is not as smooth as the nude. I also love the calm of the print, produced with the uniform marks that stretch across the page.

 

 

 

 

Martin Lewis (p34)

Little Penthouse
Little Penthouse
Shadow Magic
Shadow Magic
Spring Night, Greenwich Villiage
Spring Night, Greenwich Village
Quarter of nine - Saturdays Children
Quarter of nine – Saturdays Children

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The interesting feature in these piece is the contrast between the light and dark, as well as the feeling that the light is pushing away the dark and the shadows. I’m not sure how Lewis has produced this effect but I believe it is extremely affective when trying to explore positive and negative space. Also, even though the contrast between the light and dark is strong the light affect is still soft and not harsh, or to bright.

Mortimer Borne (P35)

Rainy night
Rainy night

 This drypoint print is slightly different to the others as it is not as photo realistic as the others. When I look at the marks of the others I can see how they relate to the visual world. However, in this print there has a looser style to it, either due to the rain or because this is the style of the artist. I like to think it is because of the rain and so the vision is slightly shifted, with the slightly twisted houses and the shiny affect on the pavement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lawrence Kupferman (P35)

Victorian Mansion
Victorian Mansion

 Very simply enjoy the contrast of this piece and how 3 dimensional this print appears.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charles Sheeler (P36)

Delmonico Building
Delmonico Building

The light really takes over this print, and so it is the shadows that actually gives the shapes in the print. I also find the angle fascinating as it is different to the straight on view that is more frequently seen, as these are taken from photography by Sheeler it makes sense that some of the angles are varied.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Louis Lozowick (P36)

Still-Life with Guitar No.1
Still-Life with Guitar No.1

 This is the print that got me interested in the catalogue. In relation to my project this one has the strongest link because this could be turned into a negative image and would still be a successful print.

 negative image

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reginald Marsh (P38)

Gaiety burlesque
Gaiety burlesque

 There is so much going on in this print. And all the marks and lines create a variety of textures and shapes. I feel like this is a more traditional style for etchings and drypoint, but that may be because this is the style that I am more used to seeing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Rauschenberg (P44)

Spot
Spot

 I find it very exciting to find a new method to produce work, and so here it is really exciting to see a more abstract form with printing techniques. This also applies to the last two prints. These show a more experimental way of printing that means that viewers may be more appreciation the marks, the forms or the printing process rather than focussing on a subject matter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James Rosenquist (P45)

Bunracku
Bunracku

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sol Lewitt (P130)

Lines from corners, sides and the centre to points on a grid
Lines from corners, sides and the centre to points on a grid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cardiff Met Library Code: 769.973 CAR

Carey. F and Griffiths. A, 1980, American Prints 1879-1979, London: British Museum Publication ltd.
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Published by

Jessy Plant

A Brighton born artist, now studying a Fine Art Degree at Cardiff Met Uni.

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