Draw happiness from oneself, from a good day’s work, from the light it can bring to the fog which surrounds us. Think…”that was the best time”
The earliest print technique, woodcut first appeared in China in the ninth century. Arriving in Europe around 1400, it was originally used for stamping designs onto fabrics, textiles, or playing cards. By the 16th century it had achieved the status of an important art form in the work of Albrecht Dürer and other Northern European artists.
During the first decade of the twentieth century German Expressionists sought to recover a German tradition and to register a thread of continuity with their late Gothic and Renaissance artistic heritage – taking inspiration from late Gothic artists like Durer, Baldung, Cranach, Altdorfer and Grunewald. It was in part a reaction against Impressionism’s emphasis on atmospherics and surface appearances, and against the rigidity of academic painting, stressing instead the emotional state of the artist, subject and also viewer. In addition to the Germanic tradition they were also inspired by Van Gogh, Munch, Gauguin, Cezanne and African and Oceanic art.
The use of the term Expressionism seems to date from around 1911, although the De Brucke movement had been established in 1905 and was holding exhibitions till 1913. Another movement: der Blaue Reiter was formed in 1911 as a loose collection of artists interested in abstraction. Other groups included the Berlin and Munich Secessions, the Red Group, the November Group and the New Artist’s Association. Among the publications were Der Sturm and Die Aktion. Many of these groups and publications had socialist of communist ideals.
They adopted woodcut as a primary artistic vehicle. Their starkly simplified woodcuts capitalized on the medium’s potential for bold, flat patterns and rough hewn effects. At the same time the flexibility of woodcut as a medium encouraged individual approaches and novel techniques from the Brücke’s vigorous cutting to the Blaue Reiter’s abstracted forms. They exploited the medium’s capacity to convey and disseminate innovative ideas, depicting wide ranging themes in a diversity of formats, catering to different audiences.
A change occurred with World War I. The horror of the war and the chaotic years of the Weimar Republic (1919-33) led to introduction of a sharply satirical tone in the work of many of the artists. Many of the artists went on to join new movements like Dada and Neue Sachlichkeit and continued to work until well after World War II.
Shane Weller ‘German Expressionist Woodcuts’ Dover Publications New York, 1994
MOMA Expressionist exhibition website
See also Wikipedia article on Expressionism
Bawden is famous for his large-scale linocuts, which are masterpieces of design: bold inventive images, focussing on the basic characteristics of a subject, as seen in ‘Brighton Pier’ (1958), ‘The Pagoda, Kew Gardens’ (1963) and ‘Nine London Monuments’ (1966), which nevertheless are incredibly complex in their execution. He was experimental within a traditional medium and could create texture through a mixture of paint-stripper and use of wire brush, supplemented with an almost painterly application of ink on a roller. He might also cut small blocks to generate localised areas of colour within a print.
• 1903 Born at Braintree, Essex, the only child of Edward Bawden (ironmonger) and Eleanor Bawden (nee Game). His parents were Methodist Christians. A solitary child he spent much time drawing or wandering with butterfly-net and microscope.
• 1910 at the age of seven he was enrolled at Braintree High School. Later his parents paid for him to attend the Friends’ School at Saffron Walden
• 1919-1921 on leaving school at 16 he attended the Cambridge Municipal Art School (now Anglia Ruskin University).
• 1922 awarded a scholarship to the Royal College of Art School of Design in London, where he took a diploma in illustration until 1925.
• 1932 he married Charlotte Epton, who had been a fellow-student at the Royal College.They would have two children – Joanna (b. 1935) and Richard (b. 1936)both of whom would become artists. At first the couple lived in a flat in Hammersmith, but soon moved to a Georgian house in Great Bardfield, Essex, only a few miles from Braintree, where Bawden was born.
• 1970 After the death of his wife in 1970, Bawden moved to the nearby town of Saffron Walden, where he continued to work until his death.
• 1989 He died at home on 21 November, aged eighty-six.
• drawings of cats by Louis Wain,
• illustrations in boys’ and girls’ magazines
• Burne Jones’s illustrations of Malory’s Morte d’Arthur.
• Aubrey Beardsley,
• Richard Doyle,
• William Morris and other Victorians.Here he met his fellow student and future collaborator, Eric Ravilious fellow student and collaborator in London
• Paul Nash his teacher in London
By 1925 Bawden was working one day a week for the Curwen Press (as was Ravilious and their former tutor, Nash), producing illustrations for leading accounts such as London Transport, Westminster Bank, Twinings, Poole Potteries and Shell-Mex.
In 1928, Bawden was commissioned by Sir Joseph Duveen at the rate of £1 per day to create a mural for the Refectory at Morley College, London with Ravilious and Charles Mahoney. The mural was opened in 1930 by former Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, at the time leader of the opposition, having ended his premiership in 1929.
In the early 1930s he was discovered by the famous Stuart Advertising Agency, owned by H. Stuart Menzies and Marcus Brumwell. At this time Bawden produced some of his most humorous and innovative work for Fortnum & Mason and Imperial Airways. It was also in this period that Bawden produced the tiles for the London Underground, which were exhibited at the International Building Trades Exhibition at Olympia in April 1928.
1930s Following his move to the country began to paint more, in addition to his commercial design work, developing his watercolour technique. Most of his subjects were of scenes around Great Bardfield. He held an exhibition of his Essex watercolours at the Zwemmer Gallery in 1934, and another show of his paintings was held at the Leicester Galleries in 1938.
In 1938 he collaborated with John Aldridge, who also lived in the village, on a range of wallpapers, intended to be printed commercially, but from lino blocks handcut by the designers. The project left little other time for other work during the year, and war intervened, before the papers could go into production.
During the Second World War, Edward Bawden served as official war artist, first with the British army in France, and then, following the army’s evacuation from there, in the Middle East.He made many evocative watercolour paintings recording the war effort in Iraq. Some show the unique life led by the Marsh Arabs in southern Iraq, particularly their dwellings made of reeds.
While living at Bardfield he was an important member of the Great Bardfield Artists. This group of local artists were diverse in style but shared a love for figurative art, making the group distinct from the better known St Ives art community in Cornwall, who, after the war, were chiefly dominated by abstractionists.
In 1949 Bawden provided illustrations for the book “London is London – A Selection of Prose and Verse by D. M. Low”.
During the 1950s the Great Bardfield Artists organised a series of large ‘open house’ exhibitions which attracted national press attention. Positive reviews and the novelty of viewing art works in the artists own homes (including Bawden’s Brick House) led to thousands visiting the remote village during the summer exhibitions of 1954, 1955 and 1958. As well as these shows the Great Bardfield Artists held several touring exhibitions of their work in 1957, 1958 and 1959.
Bawden’s work can be seen in many major collections and is shown regularly at the Fry Art Gallery in Shelford, Cambridgeshire.
You Tube video of her work
Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012) was an African-American graphic artist and sculptor. She is best known for her depictions of the African-American experience in the 20th century, which often had the female experience as their focus. Her work is a mixture of abstract and figurative in the Modernist tradition, with influence from African and Mexican art traditions.
Catlett was more concerned in the social messages of her work than in pure aesthetics. “I have always wanted my art to service my people — to reflect us, to relate to us, to stimulate us, to make us aware of our potential.” She was a feminist and an activist before these movements took shape, pursuing a career in art despite segregation and the lack of female role models. “I don’t think art can change things,” Catlett said “I think writing can do more. But art can prepare people for change, it can be educational and persuasive in people’s thinking.”
Her printwork was mostly woodcuts and linocuts and are recognized, mostly because of her work 1947-1966 with the Taller de Gráfica Popular, a famous workshop in Mexico City dedicated to graphics arts promoting leftist political causes, social issues and education. At the TGP she and other artists created a series of linoleum cuts on prominent black figures as well as posters, leaflets, illustrations for textbooks and materials to promote literacy in Mexico. Her linocut series “The Black Woman Speaks,” is among the first graphic series in Western art to depict the image of the American black woman as a heroic and complex human being. Her work was influenced by the Harlem Renaissance movement and the Chicago Black Renaissance in the 1940s and reinforced in the 1960s and 1970s with the influence of the Black Power, Black Arts Movement and feminism. Her posters of Harriet Tubman, Angela Davis, Malcolm X and other figures were widely distributed.
In the 1950s, she shifted primarily to sculpture. Her sculptures are known for being provocative made of a variety of materials such as clay, cedar, mahogany, eucalyptus, marble, limestone, onyx, bronze and Mexican stone (cantera) . Much of her work is realistic and highly stylized two and three dimensional figures, applying the Modernist principles (such as organic abstraction to created a simplified iconography to display human emotions) of Henry Moore,Constantin Brancusi and Ossip Zadkine to popular and easily recognized imagery. Her subjects range from sensitive maternal images to confrontational symbol of the Black Power, as well as portraits of Martin Luther King, Jr., Harriet Tubman and writer Phyllis Wheatley, believing that art can play a role the construction of transnational and ethnic identity. Her best-known works depict black women as strong and maternal. The women are voluptuous, with broad hips and shoulders, in positions of power and confidence, often with torsos thrust forward to show attitude. Faces tend to be mask-like, generally upturned. Mother and Child (1939) shows a young woman with very short hair and features similar to that of a Gabon mask. A late work “Bather” (2009) has a similar subject flexing her triceps.
Catlett acknowledged her artistic contributions as influencing younger black women. She relayed that being a black woman sculptor “before was unthinkable…..There were very few black women sculptors – maybe five or six – and they all have very tough circumstances to overcome. You can be black, a woman, a sculptor, a print-maker, a teacher, a mother, a grandmother, and keep a house. It takes a lot of doing but you can do it. All you have to do is decide to do it.”
She was born and raised in Washington, D.C. to parents working in education, and was the grandchild of freed slaves. her grandmother told her stories about the capture of blacks in Africa and the hardships of plantation life. Her father died before she was born, leaving her mother to hold several jobs to support the household.
Her interest in art began early. As a child she became fascinated by a wood carving of a bird that her father made. In high school, she studied art with a descendant of Frederick Douglass.
Catlett did her undergraduate studies at Howard University although it was not her first choice. She was admitted into the Carnegie Institute of Technology but she was refused admission when the school found out she was black. At the time the idea of a career as an artist for blacks was far-fetched, so she did her undergraduate studies with the aim of being a teacher.While at Howard, Catlett’s professors included artist Lois Mailou Jones and philosopher Alain Locke . She also came know artists James Herring, James Wells and future art historian James A. Porter .Her tuition was paid for by her mother’s saving and scholarships that the artist earned, and she graduated with honors in 1937.
At the graduate program of the University of Iowa she studied drawing and painting with landscape artist Grant Wood, she entered as well as sculpture with Henry Stinson. Wood advised her to depict images of what she knew best, so Catlett began sculpting images of African-American women and children. However, despite being accepted to the school, she was not permitted to stay in the dormitories, requiring her to rent a room off campus.One of her roommates was future novelist and poet Margaret Walker .
Catlett graduated in 1940, one of three to earn the first masters in fine arts from the university and the first African-American woman to receive the degree. Later in life, Catlett donated money to the university to found the Elizabeth Catlett Mora Scholarship Fund, which support African-American and Latino students studying printmaking.
In 1946, Catlett received a Rosenwald Fund Fellowship to travel to Mexico and in 1947, she entered the Taller de Gráfica Popular, a workshop dedicated to graphic promoting leftist social causes and education. There she met printmaker and muralist Francisco Mora, who she married in the same year. In 1948, she entered the Escuela Nacional de Pintura, Escultura y Grabado “La Esmeralda” to study wood sculpture with José L. Ruíz and ceramic sculpture with Francisco Zúñiga . During this time in Mexico she became more serious about her war and more dedicated to the work it demanded. She also met Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and David Alfaro Siqueiros .
She worked with the Taller until 1966, but the fact that a number of its members were Communist Party members, as well as her first husband and her political activism such as her arrest in 1949 while protesting during a railroad strike in Mexico City, brought her under surveillance by the US embassy. She was eventually barred from entering the United States and declared an “undesirable alien” unable to enter to country to visit her ill mother before she died.In 1962, she renounced her American citizenship and became a Mexican citizen. Catlett regained her American citizenship in 2002.
Catlett remained an active artist until her death at her studio/home in Cuernavaca on April 2, 2012 at the age of 96.
edited from Wikipedia
See also many other videos of interviews about her political role and life.
Margaret Taylor-Burroughs (1915 – 2010), also known as Margaret Taylor Goss, Margaret Taylor Goss Burroughs or Margaret T G Burroughs; was an African-American artist and writer, with her efforts directed toward the exploration of the Black experience and to children, especially to their appreciation of their cultural identity and to their introduction and growing awareness of art.
Many of here linocuts have become iconic images of the American Civil Rights movement. In many of Burroughs’ pieces, she depicts people with half black and half white faces.
In The Faces of My People Burroughs carved five people with different skin tones staring at the viewer. One of the women is all black, three of the people are half black and half white and one is mostly white. While Burroughs is attempting to blend together the black and white communities, she also shows the barriers that stop the communities from uniting. None of the people in The Faces of My People are looking at each other, and this implies a sense of disconnect among them.On another level, The Faces of My People deals with diversity. An article from the Collector magazine website describes Burroughs’ attempts to unify in the picture. The article says, “Burroughs sees her art as a catalyst for bringing people together. This tableau of diverse individuals illustrates her commitment to mutual respect and understanding”.
My People: there are four different faces – each of which is half white and half black. The head on the far left is tilted to the side and close to the head next to it. It seems as both heads are coming out of the same body – taking the idea of split personalities to the extreme. The women are all very close together, suggesting that they relate to each other. My People focuses on a common conflict that all the women in the picture face.
Birthday Party: here both black and white children are seen celebrating. The black and white children are not isolated from each other; instead they are intermixed and mingling around the table together waiting for birthday cake. An article published by The Art Institute of Chicago described Burroughs’ Birthday Party and said, “Through her career, as both a visual artist and a writer, she has often chosen themes concerning family, community, and history. ‘Art is communication,’ she has said. ‘I wish my art to speak not only for my people – but for all humanity.’ This aim is achieved in Birthday Party, in which both black and white children dance, while mothers cut cake in a quintessential image of neighbors and family enjoying a special day together”.
She also helped to establish many art establishments and opportunities for artists promoting civil rights.
She helped found the South Side Community Arts Center in 1939 to serve as a social center, gallery, and studio to showcase African American artists.
She is credited with the founding of Chicago’s Lake Meadows Art Fair in the early 1950s. At its inception there were very limited venues and galleries for African American Artists to exhibit and sell their artwork, so she launched the Fair, which rapidly grew in popularity and became one of the most anticipated exhibitions for artists, collectors and others throughout the greater Chicago area. After a brief hiatus beginning in the early 1980s, it was resurrected by Helen Y. West in 2005 – and another of Margaret Burroughs’ legacies lives on.
Margaret and her husband Charles co-founded what is now called the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago in 1961. The institution was originally known as the Ebony Museum of Negro History and Art and made its debut in the living room of their house at 3806 S. Michigan Avenue in the Bronzeville neighborhood on Chicago’s south side, and Taylor-Burroughs served as its executive director for the first ten years of its existence. She was proud of the institution’s grass-roots beginnings: “we’re the only one that grew out of the indigenous Black community. We weren’t started by anybody downtown; we were started by ordinary folks.”Burroughs served as Executive Director until 1984 and was then named Director Emeritus, remaining active in the museum’s operations and fundraising efforts.
Edited from Wikipedia.
See also the many You Tube videos on her legacy to the Civil Rights movement, interviews with her before her death and reading her poetry.
Walter Claude Flight (born London 1881 – died 1955) also known as Claude Flight or W. Claude Flight was a British artist who pioneered and popularised the linoleum cut technique. He also painted, illustrated and made wood cuts.
Influenced by Cubism, Futurism and Vorticism, his work expressed dynamic rhythm through bold, simple forms. His linocut prints show his interest in depicting speed and movement.
Flight was a fervent promoter of the linoleum cut technique from the time he first used it in 1919. He felt by promoting the use of the cheap and easily obtained new material he was making it possible for the masses to be exposed to art. He saw in it the potentiality of a truly democratic art form.
Flight had tried a number of different careers before settling on art. He had kept bees, farmed and also had tried engineering before studying art at Heatherley School of Fine Art from 1913–1914 and from 1918. Flight exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1921, in Paris in 1922 and in London at the R.B.A. from 1923. He also exhibited regularly at the Redfern Gallery and abroad.
Flight was a member of the Seven and Five Society in 1923 whose members included Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth. He was a member of the Grubb Group in 1928. He collaborated with Edith Lawrencewith whom he had an interior design business, taught at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art from 1926 and wrote and organized exhibitions on linocuts. His pupils included various now-famous print artists such as Lill Tschudi,Cyril Power, Eileen Mayo and Sybil Andrews.
He produced over 64 different prints and published 9 books on linocutting.
List of works
- Seaside Cove watercolour on paper
- On a Backwater watercolour, black and coloured crayon
- Beach Scene watercolour on paper
- Park, 1922 watercolour and chalk on paper
- Policeman holding up Traffic linocut
- Speed circa 1922 Edition: 50
- The Paris Omnibus 1923 Edition: 50
- Swing Boats circa 1924 Edition: 50
- Le Pont Voluntré, Cahors, Lot 1924 Edition: 50
- Le Barque sur la mer (Trawler at Sea) circa 1925 Edition: 50
- Summer circa 1926 Edition: 50
- Summer, Four Seasons circa 1926
- Descent from the Bus 1927 Edition:
- Brooklands 1929 Edition: 50
- Persuasion circa 1930 Edition: 50
- Love on Ice 1930 Edition: 50
- Breaking Waves, circa 1931 Edition:50
- The Conjurer circa 1933 Edition: 50
- Swiss Mountains circa 1934 Edition: 50
This print resulted from a Swiss summer holiday made by Flight and Edith Lawrence in 1933. They stayed as guests of Lill Tschudi at her family home in Schwanden.
- Book Animal Vegetable or Mineral Published by Oxford University Press, London
- Book Lino-cuts : a handbook of linoleum-cut colour printing Published by John Lane, the Bodley Head, London; 1927)
Clifford S Ackley ed British Prints from the Machine Age: Rhythms of Modern Life 1914-1947 Thames and Hudson 2008
Lill Tschudi (1911–2004) was a Swiss artist associated with the Grosvenor School of Modern Art.
Lill Tschudi was born at Schwanden, Glarus, Switzerland. As a girl she saw an exhibit of linocut prints by Austrian artist Norbertine Bresslern Roth, and decided that she also wanted to be a printmaker.
Tschudi officially studied at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art from 1929 to 1930. From 1931 to 1933, she lived in Paris and studied with André Lhote, Gino Severini, and Fernand Léger. She returned to Switzerland in 1935, and lived mainly with her sister’s family (her sister Ida Tschudi-Schümperlin was also an artist).
Tschudi would produce over 300 linocuts in her career, exhibiting in London with Claude Flight and other printmakers. Her typical subjects included athletes, such as skiers and cyclists, transportation scenes, workers, and musicians. A wartime side project with her sister Ida involved printing illustrations for “Glarner Gemeindewappen,” a booklet of the municipal coats-of-arms for the Canton of Glarus, in 1941 (this booklet is now considered rare and quite valuable). Her 1933 print “Ice Hockey” was used for the cover illustration of Margaret Timmers, Impressions of the 20th Century: Fine Art Prints from the V&A Collection (Victoria & Albert Museum Publications 2001).
Tschudi died in Switzerland in 2004, age 93. Her work was featured in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s joint 2008 exhibit, “British Prints from the Machine Age: Rhythms of Modern Life, 1914–1939.” Prints by Grosvenor School artists, including Tschudi, proved popular at a 2012 auction in London. Her works were part of another exhibit in spring 2013, “The Cutting Edge of Modernity: An Exhibition of Grosvenor School Linocuts” at the Osborne Samuel Gallery in London.
Clifford S Ackley ed British Prints from the Machine Age: Rhythms of Modern Life 1914-1947 Thames and Hudson 2008
Women artists: Sybil Andrews
Sybil Andrews (19 April 1898 – 21 December 1992) was an English printmaker best known for her modernist linocuts.
Life in England
Born Sybal Andrews in Bury St Edmunds, Andrews was unable to attend art school after finishing secondary school as her family lacked the funds to pay for tuition. Andrews first apprenticed as a welder and worked at an airplane factory during World War I, where she helped in the development of the first all-metal aeroplane for the Bristol Welding Company.During this period she took an art correspondence course and after the war returned to Bury St Edmunds where she was employed as an art teacher at Portland House School. In 1922 Andrews attended Heatherley’s School of Fine Art in London. She began producing and exhibiting linocuts from 1921 until 1939, working frequently with her informal partner Cyril Power. She also helped in the establishment and became the first secretary (1925–1928) of the The Grosvenor School of Modern Art. With the beginning of World War II, Andrews resumed work as a welder for the British Power Company, constructing warships. Here she met Walter Morgan, whom she married in 1943.
In England one of the largest collections in public ownership is held by St Edmundsbury Borough Council Heritage Service Bury St Edmunds. This collection includes a number of early water-colour paintings, executed while the artist was still living in Suffolk.
Life in Canada
In 1947 she and Morgan moved to Canada and settled in Campbell River, British Columbia. Sybil Andrews was elected to the Society of Canadian Painters, Etchers and Engravers in 1951 when her linocut Indian Dance” was selected as the presentation print. In 1975 while working as a teacher and focusing on her practice she completed one of her major works”The Banner of St Edmund.” It is hand embroidered in silks on linen and was first conceived, designed and begun in 1930. This banner now hangs in the Treasury of the St James Cathedral in the town of her birth.
The Glenbow Museum in Canada houses the majority of her work with a collection of over 1000 examples of Andrews’ works, including all of her famous colour linocuts and the original linoleum blocks, oil paintings and watercolour, drawings, drypoint etchings, sketchbooks, and personal papers. In recent years her works have sold extremely well at auction with record prices being achieved primarily within Canada.
In 2015 an exhibition was held at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Canada, “A Study in Contrast: Sybil Andrews and Gwenda Morgan”, comparing and contrasting the fellow Grosvenor School artists.
List of works
- Fleece, 1988, colour linoleum cut.
- Coffee Bar, 1952, colour linoleum cut.
- Mowers, 1937, colour linoleum cut.
- Storm, 1935, colour linoleum cut.
- Racing, 1934, colour linoleum cut.
- Speedway 1934, colour linoleum cut.
- Tillers of the soil, 1934, colour linoleum cut.
- Bringing in the boat, 1933, colour linoleum cut.
- Mother and Son, 1932, colour linoleum cut.
You Tube video
Clifford S Ackley ed British Prints from the Machine Age: Rhythms of Modern Life 1914-1947 Thames and Hudson 2008