Tuesday, August 14, 2018

jean gumpper - reduction woodcuts


Detail from "Rose Hips."

Detail from "Calligraphic Grasses"

Each one of these large inked impressions came from its own incredibly complex woodblock. The reduction process produces all the colors, all the individual shapes and subtle nuances from a single block. It is an elaborate scheme of design on the part of the print maker. This is rocket science. This would blow your mind if you attempted to do it yourself.

Fortunately all I had to do was look and enjoy what I saw.

The outings put together by the Kansas City Print Society are friendly and engaging. 
You can reach KCPS on their Facebook page CLICK HERE. 

"Tapestry," 20 x 30 inches, reduction woodcut, Colorado-artist Jen Gumpper. Double click to enlarge image. 


Six minute walk through the "Between Water and Land" exhibit. Click on video.



 "Shifting Currents," reduction woodcut and pochoir, 2016



The road trip to exhibit took place Saturday, July  14, 2018
Kansas City Print Society (KCPS) members in attendance: Tim Reimer, Wichita, KS; Karl Marxhausen, Carrollton, MO; Roxie and David McGee, Lawrence, KS; John Mallery, Overland Park, KS; Brucie Hopkins, Kansas City, MO. 
Video and post by Karl Marxhausen.


More Jean Gumpper, Colorado-artist

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Woodcut Society and Alfred Fowler - Katelyn Crawford



"The Spencer Art Library collection allowed me to begin to see this network emerging between Fowler and these artists, between the woodcut society and the artists."       Katelyn D. Crawford



Kate Crawford, John Mallery

Katelyn D. Crawford spoke about the Kansas City Woodcut Society and Alfred Fowler to members of the Nelson Atkins Print Society on Thursday evening, April 27th. Crawford is the Assistant Curator of American Art for the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. Video and transcript were prepared by member Karl Marxhausen.  



John Mallory [JM]:
For me, my focus and start in collecting American Regionalist Art, and this program tonight is kind of exciting for me, it hits my sweet spot. And the prints we are going to see later I think are some of the finest works I have seen in the Nelson’s collection. Some would probably argue with me on that, but that is my opinion. With that being said, I don’t know who is going to start tonight..

Kate Crawford [KC]: I will.

JM: And with that, Kate Crawford. Thank you Kate.

KC: Thank you. I feel like everybody just sat down. And I’ll say you should probably get back up. This is a small group, so that is great. Interject if you have questions. It will be great to be able to let people look at and talk about individual things on this table.


KC: So we're going upstairs after this, take a tour, have a conversation about "The 1930s in Prints" and get to see from the Kansas City Woodcut Society, which is a small selection from our collection, which I am a curator of.
And it contains about thirty woodcut, wood engravings, lino cuts from the 1930s, that were actually given to the museum early in its history. There was a large group were given in 1935, and then a smaller supplementary group were given in 1939. In this specific group of woodcuts, wood engravings and lino cuts, which had really intrigued a number of curators before my time here. Beth Lurey was very interested in this material as was Stephanie Knapp.

KC: And so, when I came to the Museum three years ago I was tasked with, among other things, working on exhibitions in that American works of paper gallery from the collection gallery, this is one of the shows I started to think about.



KC: It is a complex body of work for a lot different reasons. Really exceptional prints, as John said. John [Mallory] and Karl [Marxhausen] are both Woodcut Society experts as well. So, I hope they will interject.

KC: It is an exceptional body of work, but there are a number of artists represented that are not particularly well known. And the Woodcut Society itself is not particularly well known. Really, it has not been particularly well researched    and so, what I found was that a number of things in the Spencer reference library, could help me crack open the Woodcut Society story. And I am going to walk you through some of those tonight. 


KC: The story begins with Alfred Fowler who is the founder of the Woodcut Society. Fowler is somebody who is really invested in woodcuts from the 1920s on. And the Woodcut Society is certainly not his first endeavor in the world of woodcuts. He’s been working on this for a very long time. And so I will hold up for you, the Woodcut Annual For 1925. Which is a Fowler production. Self published. 

KC: And he is putting together these woodcut annuals, soliciting contributions from major sellers on woodcuts, wood engravings, and linocuts, as well as work by contemporary print makers. 
 

Walter Joseph Phillips, British-born Canadian
No photo

3:11 This is a piece by Walter Joseph Phillips, who, and please interject John, Walter Joseph Phillips is an artist who produces one of the earliest commissioned prints done by the Woodcut Society in the nineteen thirties. A 1932 print, actually. It is the second print. We can check with you for confirmation.

John Mallery [JM]: No no. The piece is wonderful.



3:36 KC: It is really wonderful and interesting for a number of ways. But I love seeing this Walter Joseph Phillips here as the frontispiece to the Woodcut Annual For 1925, because this is Walter Joseph Phillips working in color woodcut before he moved to black and white in the 1930s.

KC: And so you have Fowler following the careers of these artists, who may be somewhat less known today. Not so much in the case of Walter Joseph Phillips, but even the other artists that are represented. And he is really maintaining friendships with these artists, maintaining friendships with print curators, making these friendships with other print enthusiasts, including authors and cultural figures who are engaged in the print world. Serving as a place where all this information can be pulled together. To create a community around woodcuts, wood engraving and linocuts, really really printmaking in the 1920s and into the 1930s with the Woodcut Society.


 

Charles Wilkins

 

 Lucian Pissarro, 1863 - 1944



Margherita Callet Carsona



 J.J. Lankes, American, 1884 - 1960


4:34 KC: So I will point out a couple additional things. There is not a Charles Wilkins in the exhibition upstairs, but we have Charles Wilkins in print in the Nelson Atkins group of Woodcut Society prints. And we have Charles Wilkins represented in the 1925 edition. We also have Lucien Pissarro here, which is represented in the Nelson Atkins collection as well. What else do we have? Oh yes, also Margherita Callet Carsona and Elizabeth Norton. Who is represented in very different work in the show upstairs. But it is being collected here by Fowler in the mid-twenties. Oh, and this, J.J. Lankes, who we will get to more about in a minute, is in this print Tranquility House, creating a print of Alfred Fowler’s house. Fowler is developing really close relationships with a number of these artists in the Twenties. And is pulling together information about the historic woodcuts and the contemporary woodcuts. So again they are really creating a community.



5:44 John Mallery [JM]: Kate, one of the things I was really impressed with, when you talk about him establishing this network of scholars and artists and academics. I think what really surprised me was it was a global network. And so, a lot of people think of Kansas City and the Woodcut Society was a Kansas City entity. Well, it was focused here and founded here.   But to think of him communicating with these people in England, Europe, and Australia in the Twenties and Thirties. We think about just picking up our cellphone and calling or getting on the Internet and sending an email, but back in the Twenties and Thirties to maintain these relationships required pen to paper. And some of the prints went out during the war. So, how did you get these things to go out across the Pacific, when the artist was Australian, and get the artwork here ??? So what really fascinated me about Fowler, was what a global network he maintained in that time period. 



KC: Absolutely. He is Kansas City based. But it is not a Kansas City based institution!! One of the things I have learned, just to jump back a little bit, even from the Woodcut Bulletin, which I don’t think he had anywhere else. I think the Spencer Art Reference Library is the only place.

Marilyn Carbonell [MC]: Seven other libraries.


KC: You found these?

MC: I think there is a bibliographic listing in the World Cat. The world’s largest bibliographic network, which libraries belong to. There are seven which report having it. But I did not bother to check the holdings. In other words, this is very rare.,I mean, there are seven libraries out of billions of bibliographic records, this is very rare.

KC: And as John said, it is ephemera. You know, some of these might have been just keeping the two hundred or so members of the Woodcut Society apprised of the goings on. But in one of the early bulletins, you realize that the Vice-Director for the exhibitions of the Woodcut Society in 1933 was actually living in New York City. So, not quite global. Although the artists are in the global reach. But you really have Fowler working with people across the country to organize these commissioned prints, and the exhibitions that the Woodcut Society pulled together. And he is also working with a truly global network of artists. And Fowler, in fact, the print curators for the British Museum and the Victoria Albert Museum are writing a piece for the folios in which his commissioned prints are distributed in the Thirties. So he is reaching out to the network very broadly. 

KC: He is doing that as early as the Twenties, which I think is interesting. Before the Woodcut Society, you have at the end of this woodcut annual the list of Contemporary Woodcuts for the 1924. So he is distributing this publication to artists and asking them to send information about what they are producing annually. So he is meticulously cultivating this network, by which he then found the Woodcut Society.

KC: And then we have the Woodcut Bulletins, which are either rare or exclusively rare. Which you can find in the World Cat. Marilyn, but I believe you.

KC: These were actually unearthed in Beth Lurey’s office when she left in August. Which I think is absolutely wonderful that they were able to land in their proper house at the Spencer Art Reference Library.

KC: But these are a wonderful guide to the annual activities in the Woodcut Society. And I think it was these bulletins that helped me understand the full reach of what the Society is doing. And you’ll be able to see that in the prints upstairs. They are not only commissioning two prints annually in an edition of two hundred,  but they are also circulating an exhibition annually.  And each of those exhibitions contained about a hundred prints and travel coast-to-coast within the United States. Really traveled very extensively.     It showcases works of art by a much broader range of print makers than the commissioned prints obviously can. And what you see I think the commissioned prints evolve. Because the early commissioned prints are being produced by people, like J.J. Lankes and Walter Joseph Phillips, good friends of Fowler’s. As they move on, they are being drawn from that body of artists who are contributing to this exhibition. So you really begin to see the way the Society is cultivating its body of artists, that is has been distributing works by.

KC: In addition to that, the Society had a third aim of its mission which was to develop a collection for a museum. They were really looking to build a permanent collection of woodcuts for a museum. I think, for most of the time they were working on this, they weren’t thinking about the Nelson Atkins. Fowler was really thinking about a local museum, and often acting to open exhibitions every year. He hoped to develop, what actually John Bender, who we will segue way to. Bender is a friend of Fowler’s. What Bender characterizes as the comprehensive collection of woodcuts, to display what woodcut is. In that contemporary moment what is woodcut in the 1930s. Bender really wishes it could be a 15th century woodcut, for instance, say, oh if someone had the presence of mind to do this, with the historical works that I am interested in, it would be such an incredible resource today. So he and Fowler are really looking to cultivated their contemporary moment.





John Bender on Alfred Fowler in his Fine Prints, Vol 1, No. 9, November 1932, pp 28 & 29. [Image for this post courtesy of Kansas City Public Library, Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City, Missouri, accessed October 2012, Karl Marxhausen]


Paula Winchester (PW): So, where did it go?
 
Katelyn Crawfod [KC]: Much of the collection came here. It’s complicated. These are on-going questions for me. But complicated by the fact in that, in 1939 I believe Fowler leaves Kansas City. Is that the date, Karl?

John Mallery [JM]: It’s Thirty-nine, Forties.

KC: We’ll go with thirty-nine. Fowler moved away from Kansas City. So in 1935 a number of those prints are being circulated in the exhibitions are given to the Nelson Atkins. More are given in 1939. 

KC: But I started to wonder whether, when Fowler moved to Alexander-Virginia or Cedar Rapids. I've been looking around to the places where he lived.

Did he continue to collect prints or prints generally?  
And give them to another institution? 

I haven’t found anything yet. 

KC: And the bulletins only go through 1936. So we have a sense of the activity of the Society through 1936. But it is a little more difficult to trace after. There are some news accounts. And then are, again I put John, it shows through 1939. The Society continues in two other locations. There continues to be commissioned prints and accompanied folios, but it is more difficult to track the activity of the Society. Particularly because Fowler is so interested in the world of print making in so many different ways.


John Mallery [JM]: He had multiple print-related societies that he ran. The Miniature Print Society.
KC: The Miniature Print Society he found later in the Thirties.
JM: The Print Connoisseurs Society is another he did. He was trying too distribute prints for all these societies. And I don’t know how he did it. 
 
KC: But I kind of feel, I think he was fortunate. He never seems to have, we were just debating this, he never seems to have two hundred subscribers. Which, I think, is the number of good prints he had to have in every edition. So, as the Thirties move on, he begins to create deals for his subscribers. ‘Well, if you join the Miniature Print Society we will send you some back stuff from the Woodcut Society.’  He is very entrepreneurial that way.


KC: And in the 1920s he is vested in bookplates. And I think that is how he comes to this community of woodcut artists, really through bookplates. We can get to J.J. Lankes, who is a bookplate maker himself. And so I think some of those relationships are being developed by way of the bookplate society. Which is one of his first. And actually when you get up here, has a bookplate for Fowler in this volume.


KC: So these bulletins are incredible in a number of ways. You get a sense of the action in the bookplate society. Like, a list of prints in the second circulated exhibition. Which is really interesting, because it doesn’t exist anywhere else, that I know of. Although it may. I looked through the World Cat, Marilyn.

Marilyn Carbonell [MC]: Well, Yale said LC.
KC: Does it? Well that's great. But the catalogue, I haven't been able to find the catalogue of this exhibition. 

KC:   So even having a list of the prints that were in the exhibition is very useful. Because this corresponds to so much of what is in that two hundred and twelve prints (212) in the Nelson Atkins' permanent collection.

KC: So you can almost begin to reconstruct the exhibition by what the Woodcut Society is circulating. 


 ?1932  ?1933  ?1935  ?1936 



KC: It’s not perfect because Fowler did not actually set aside a copy of every print in these shows or the collection !! You don’t get everything. And some of the bigger artists that he is taking prints from including Claire Leighton, are not sending two prints, so that one could be set aside for the Society. But a number of the other artists are. And so you can actually begin to reconstruct those exhibitions through our permanent collection.



Paula Winchester [PW]: So when it was traveling, the exhibition went out traveling, did it go to art museums or did it, you know back in those days, go to libraries and any place?


KC: They went primarily to art museums and galleries. And so I know that Art Institute of Chicago always took them. There are some institutions, it becomes clear to me just I am reading this. And part of my goal with this was to understand what woodcut is in the 1930s. Because that is a challenge. Of not necessarily what we think of as woodcut today.  And I can talk about that a little more when we get to the artists book. What woodcut is in the 1930s? And what is the community is surrounding those print makers? What are the venues for displaying prints in the Thirties?

KC: They are sending these but they are much more committed in that moment. The Institute of Chicago is one. But the institutions shift from year to year, and John or Karl jump in here if you have more to add. The institutions shifted from year to year but they always traveled from coast to coast.

JM: It is interesting to note during that time period there were other societies that had traveling exhibitions as well. The Prairie Print Makers, the Chicago Society of Etchers had traveling shows. There were a few others. So there seemed to be the trend for prints to travel nationally.

KC: Certain institutions.

JM: Some went to libraries, I think. I know the Society of Etchers had pieces in libraries on the west coast.

KC: Hm.

JM: But it was a very common practice. It wasn’t just limited to the Woodcut Society.


KC: Right. And it is interesting, or something I vetted interest in, and this is worthwhile on account of Walter Joseph Phillips in particular, that in the Twenties a lot of the prints traveling by way of the Society were virtually segregated Black and White and Color. And there is something that Fowler is doing, that is very interesting in the Woodcut Society, is integrating the work of printmakers who are choosing black and white as preferable to working in color.
Which does not seem revolutionary to us today by any means. But I think really was in that moment. So printing traditions were being seen as being in conflict in some instances.

KC: So the Spencer Art Reference Library collection allowed me to begin to see this network emerging between Fowler and these artists. Between the Woodcut Society and some of the artists whose work was represented in the Volume Two binary puritan of the Nelson Adkins. 

KC: And I moved over there, because J.J. Lankes was an important part of that.
But I have to go back to the Woodcut Bulletin, because when I am reading the bulletin of 1932, the second bulletin I believe, it promotes A Woodcut Manual, which is J. J. Lankes' publication. Which we have here, actually from the John Bender Library. That is published in 1932. So, Fowler is leaning heavily on Lankes. Lankes produces the first commissioned print for the Woodcut Society. Which we will see upstairs, but I have an image of here. And he [Fowler] is also promoting Lankes' volume, A WOODCUT MANUAL.



Southern Skies by J.J. Lankes, 1932.
 


[LINK  to A Woodcut Manual, courtesy of http://woodblock.com/encyclopedia/entries/011 04/011 04.html, accessed June 20, 2017]

KC: And this is a really fascinating book. Not only because J.J. Lankes has an incredible personality. But also because how it introduces readers to woodcuts. As compared to how Fowler wants it to be used. Fowler really thinks it is a volume for anybody who is interested in woodcuts, wood engravings, and linocuts. This is a volume for enthusiasts. Whereas, Lankes is really aiming this volume at immature printmakers. And so it is interesting where you land in between. It is a little bit hard to use I think in that regard, but it also very useful for understanding the transitions this medium is undergoing in the 1930s.

KC: And it really is, for a variety of reasons. Lankes had a particular take on printing in color as opposed to printing in black and white. He is really not interested in color printing. And kind of thinks of it as degenerative art in the United States. He thinks Western printmakers will never be able to rival the Japanese printmakers in color printmaking. And so essentially, they should stop trying.  Walter Joseph Phillips would not agree. But I don’t think Fowler would either. And so I pulled out the Walter Joseph Phillips’ manual of color woodcutting from the 1920s. Just by way of contrast.

[LINK to The Technique of the Color Wood-Cut, courtesy of http://www.sharecom.ca/phillips/technique.html, accessed June 20, 2017]

KC: He [Lankes] thinks Western printmakers should not be working in color. He admits through a variety of tools you can use for print making. It really is a how-to manual. Where you can order your gouges from. Where you can order gravers from. Where you can order your blocks from. Where you can get a bundle of Japanese paper that is great for home printing making that you can get for a dollar twenty-five. It is an incredible resource. I’m going to say I wish we could go back and do that. As well as examples of his own work.


KC: But he is doing it with addresses to contact the organizations that provide the best print making tools. So again, I feel like this is contributing to creating that kind of community of print makers. It also suggests how accessible wood cut, wood engraving and lino cut is compared to other print making processes. And how important that was in the Thirties. Because you also get a sense that Lankes is talking to artists who are turning to really print making in that moment, because they can’t afford to do other things. So he talks about things, like having previously made prints using shoe polish on paper that was used to wrap bread in the Twenties. And how that was one of his preferred methods for making prints. Which is hard to imagine for an artist as well-known as J.J. Lankes. But the acceptabilities of materials really comes through. And The Depression can easily be read between the lines in this volume. As we are talking about turning to woodcutting.

KC: You also from this volume I think can begin to reconstruct, as I was saying, the relationship between Fowler and an artist like Lankes by way of his work with bookplates. And then it was interesting for me, to then see Genevieve Taggard having a bookplate created by Lankes in this volume as well. Because she is actually the cultural critic who writes the essay that accompanies Lankes’ print for the Woodcut Society in 1932.



Genevieve Taggard's essay on woodcuts by J. J. Lankes. Double click to enlarge.   [Image for this post courtesy of Kansas City Public Library, Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City, Missouri, accessed October 2012, Karl Marxhausen]


KC: So not only is Fowler reaching printmakers through this relationship but then also the AUTHORS who are authoring the essays that ACCOMPANY the prints for the Woodcut Society. You can just see him building a network of relationships.

21:41 Viewer: Hmm.

21:42 KC: And it is HARD TO UNPICK these relationships, because nobody has really worked on “The “Woodcut Society.” Now Cori Sherman North is. John is. And Karl has. But I feel like we are really it.

21:52 John Mallery JM: Yeah.

21:53 KC: 
 Is there anybody else?

21:55 JM: 
You don’t come across any doctoral dissertations when you are looking. No academic research or publications on the Woodcut Society.

22:03 KC: We are just starting to UNPICK THIS KNOT. So it is interesting to begin to understand these relationships. Again as I have said, the Fowler bookplate. And then there are all sorts of these wonderful things, if you are a lover of prints, in this book that should not be missed. As I said Lankes had a wonderful personality. He has “DON’T” at the end of this book. For instance, don’ts for print lovers. Don’ts for framers and matters. Don’ts to the shipper. Don’ts to the exhibitor.

22:32 JM: Someone needs to.

22:33 KC: Don’t touch the face of prints. (laughter) Don’t roll prints, to Framers and Matters. To the Artist, don’t touch the face of prints. Don’t fail to check up on references when they are given by an unknown person.

22:54 KC: He is giving PRACTICAL ADVICE I think in this as well. As much as you can figure out about the network of artists with which he is working. And again, advertised in the Woodcut Bulletin, so you begin to see how they are working together.




[Image for this post courtesy of Kansas City Public Library, Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City, Missouri, accessed October 2012, Karl Marxhausen]



23:08 KC: I have also pulled another volume from 1932. This is Claire Leighton’s Wood-Engravings and Woodcuts. This is not directly advertised with the Society. Claire Leighton is a very active exhibitor both in the exhibition, also from the Society’s commissioned prints. But I think this volume is incredible, because it further UNPICKS that network of artists who are all corresponding as print makers in this moment. It shows how widely as friends.

[Image for this post courtesy of Kansas City Public Library, Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City, Missouri, accessed October 2012, Karl Marxhausen] 

ALSO  MAY AIMEE SMITH  AND  BIRGEN SANDZEN, next.



23:35 KC: One thing I call your attention to is an artist I did not know a lot about before I was working on this show. May Aimee Smith actually has a piece featured as an example, an exceptional example as use of the multiple tool in wood engraving. On the same page as a Birgen Sandzen, RIVER NOCTURNE. And so an artist I think most of us are probably more familiar with, being used in clear contrast with a woman we are much less familiar with. But SHE is as WELL KNOWN in this moment, and is a friend of Claire Leighton as with Birgen Sandzen. And so again, getting in at some of those connections through these volumes.




[Image for this post courtesy of Kansas City Public Library, Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City, Missouri, accessed October 2012, Karl Marxhausen]





24:11 KC: I will say, this is also an incredible volume for a number of reasons, not the least of which it is that it features reproductions of great prints from this moment. Claire Leighton also takes, this is really a how to as well. A guide for creating prints. She takes photos of her pulling prints and really going through the steps of creating as wood engraving. Which is incredible if you are trying to understand the process, which was something I was up against as I was starting to work on this show.






24:44 KC: This book is also wonderful being a conversation with the J.J.Lankes’ volume. Again you get a sense of how this medium is evolving in this moment. Lankes has one way of defining woodcut versus wood engraving. And ultimately he sees woodcut and wood engraving as a superficial distinction. He thinks they are all woodcuts, one and the same. And he talks about using a particular end grain block of wood to create woodcuts, using end grain block with gouges. That is how he likes to make prints sometimes. 25:10 Where as Claire Leighton has a very clear distinction between woodcut and wood engraving. And she sees herself as a wood engraver. What is amazing to me is, 25:20 perhaps not surprisingly, if I look at her prints, feelings about this, it becomes so obvious visually. And undermines my medium lines on some of my labels. (laughter)

Before I get over to Marilyn, I’ll point to a couple of artist books that I have set out here. Including The Farmer’s Year by Claire Leighton, which is just a beautiful volume to itself. But it is also another cool example of these connections, because two of the prints in Farmer’s Year, Apple Picking and Threshing were actually featured in the Second Woodcut Society exhibition. 

So, again you see Fowler getting the best of the best. It is being featured in a number of venues. This book was published in 1932 I believe. 1933. And in that Second Woodcut Society exhibition as well these prints were featured.

26:20 Something else that was an important theme for the show, that I will mention in the context of these two volumes and West Heller which is an artist book. 26:29 very small by Helen West Heller. Where she pared.

Paula Winchester (PW): Love it.

KC: This is William Carlos Williams. She has American authors from Ben Franklin to Carlos Williams, pared with her wood engraving or woodcut.

Suzanne Geringer (SG): Could you read us that one?

26:49 KC: Sure. And I can pass it around so you can see it. “Many ways, flowing edge to edge. There are clear edges meeting, as though he thought in pity and contention.” And it is a lineman. Which I think we can see another beautiful picture of a lineman upstairs by Jessiejo Eckford.

27:10 KC: Through all of this I get a sense of HOW INTEGRATED WORKS are for these artists. They are all, almost all, using their woodcuts to illustrate volumes. 27:27 As well as stand alone artistic statements. And there is a lot of contention about that, certainly in Claire Leighton’s book. Whether woodcut and wood engraving should be standing on its own as an artist statement or illustrating volumes. It is clearly being worked out in this moment.
I’m not sure if they come to any clean solution. But at the same time she is illustrating volumes of the farmers here. Where she is writing the text. A defense for agrarian life in pre-industrial England. And creating these beautiful wood engravings. So understanding some of those connections, and how they were functioning in the Thirties, was what I was trying to do in this Spencer Library collection. It was a wonderful resource.

28:04 JM: I think that a lot of the artists that gift the commissioned prints were known primarily initially as illustrators.

KC: uh-huh (yes)

JM: I mean, that was research. You know, they showed all the book they illustrated, but here is a STAND ALONE print, and intriguing.

KC: uh-huh (yes)

JM: The other thing I find interesting about the Woodcut Society is that they were in the middle of a major battle in the 1930s with the RISE OF MODERNISM. And so, these works were very successful and popular at the time when many people were embracing modernist IDEALS and PHILOSOPHIES. So, it is really intriguing, these two things drawing on at the exact same time.

28:43 KC: I absolutely agree, and I think along those lines, and along the lines of being contingent between the black and white and color woodcut being undercut by Fowler, and HIS WILLINGNESS to SHOW IT ALL, is that-- he is ALSO embracing modernism. At least with white-line woodcut. We’ll see more about THAT UPSTAIRS. He is really interested in ABSTRACT printmaking, or printmaking that pushes it to the edge of abstraction, or printmaking in that moment. And is circulating that in his exhibitions. As well as, you know, the work of Claire Leighton, which is really pushing things politically or Helen Heller, really pushing things in a Marxist direction. Or, more conditional statements like Walter Joseph Phillips. So, Fowler is very OPEN to a really BROAD SPECTRUM of artists and WHAT THEY ARE CREATING. Which is why, I think, you get such representative example of what is happening in the medium in the thirties. Which is his stated goal.------ END


 


Thirty minutes.




29:38



[Image for this post courtesy of Kansas City Public Library, Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City, Missouri, accessed October 2012, Karl Marxhausen]

(Thursday, April 27th, 6:00 PM, we will meet in the Spencer Art Reference Library. Marilyn Carbonell, Head, Library Services, and Katelyn Crawford, Assistant Curator of American Art, will share the many library resources and show us how they relate to the new exhibit of The 1930s in Prints: A Gift to Kansas City from the Woodcut Society. Then, Katelyn will lead us on an in depth tour to view the prints in Gallery 214. ) email 4/22/2017


building community
spending time writing pen on paper
woodcut manual Phillips and Lankes
fostering interest
seeking out new expressions in woodcut

resources she found at Art Ref Library
not much out there on Society
scratch the surface

Additional photos courtesy of Kansas City Public Library, Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City, Missouri, accessed October 2012, Karl Marxhausen]


Crawford made the case for further investigation. So little is known about Fowler and his contacts through the Woodcut Society.

She recognized Cori Sherman North, John Mallery, and Karl Marxhausen as experts. She invited all in attendance to make use of the wealth of reading materials within the collection of the Spencer Art Reference Library. 
Each person makes their own discoveries. Together, each dive into this subject, will produce more and more knowledge and ADD to the GROWING history. Karl Marxhausen