Additional Material

Archive for the ‘WPA’ Category

John Wilson, 1922-2015

January 27th, 2015

Sculptor, painter and print maker John Wilson passed away on January 26.  Wilson made his life in Boston, graduating from graduating the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston with highest honors  in 1945 and received a bachelor’s degree in education from Tufts University in 1947.  With a traveling on fellowship from the School of the MFA, Boston, Wilson studied with Ferdinand Leger in Paris.  In 1950, a John Hay Whitney Fellowship took him to Mexico where he pursued his interest in  mural making.  His 1986 bronze bust of Martin Luther King stands in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, DC.  The Boston Globe quotes his wife, Julie: “Essentially, he felt that his main objective as an artist was to deliver a message to people about black dignity, about racial justice, about poor people trying to get a better deal in life.”

We are honored to share 2 important lithographs, Dialogue, 1955 and Urbanites, 1964 by the excellent John Wilson

John Wilson Dialogue 1955, lithograph

Dialogue 1955, lithograph

John WIlson Urbanites 1964, lithograph

Urbanites 1964, lithograph

 

A rare work by Raymond Steth

October 18th, 2014

Heaven on a Mule c . 1940 is one of Raymond Steth’s best loved works.  Steth depicts a deeply moving narrative of a devout African American farmer and his family.   This poignant image was taken from a folk tale showing a poor family standing on a hill wearing cloth wings in the hope of being taken to heaven.  They’ve brought their few possessions and have made wings for their mule and dog. Steth rewards them with ghost-like angels.  Steth’s work was rediscovered in the landmark 1993 exhibition and catalogue, Alone in a Crowd, which was organized by David and Reba Williams  to share their thoroughly researched collection of prints by African American artists.  The exhibition traveled throughout the USA and brought about new appreciation for an important group of artists who’d been largely forgotten.  We are very pleased to offer this excellent work by a master storyteller.

Raymond Steth, Heaven on a Mule c. 1940 lithograph

Heaven on a Mule

Letterio Calapai’s 1946 Underground

July 24th, 2014
Letterio Calapai Underground, 1946

Letterio Calapai Underground, 1946

Underground by Letterio Calapai (1902-1993) is a dynamic work that shows a keen awareness in the methods of Stanley William Hayter’s Atelier 17, incorporating a combination of engraving, soft ground and aquatint techniques.  Calapai’s vivid reaction to the crush of people commuting on the subway at 42nd Street is well matched to the rich surfaces and charged engraved lines.  The subject brings to mind the social realist works of the WPA prints of the 1930s which Calapai knew first hand from his work in the New York print shop.  It is also interesting to consider this work in the context of Benton Spruance’s 1937 series of lithographs, The People Work.  Views to multiple levels of trains and spaces bring to mind the imagined 18th Century interior Prison etchings of Giovanni Battista Piranesi.  In Calapai’s hands the space is flattened out, and a sense of folded space is created by forced angles.  We are above and below the action, seeing it all simultaneously.

 

Important works by Beauford Delaney noted

September 19th, 2013

We were recently contacted by Paris-based blog, Les Amis de Beauford Delaney asking about our holdings of works by Delaney (1901-1979). We have two superb examples: a 1946 pastel from his New York period and a 1962 canvas from Delaney’s celebrated Yellow series which was made in Paris.
Beauford Delaney exhibited at Philadelphia’s Pyramid Club in 1947. There he met Dox Thrash, an active member of the club who served on the exhibtions committee. To read more of our Delaney’s, click on the link to Les Amis.

http://lesamisdebeauforddelaney.blogspot.com/2013/09/where-to-find-beaufords-art.html

Beauford Delaney, Untitled (grape motif), pastel

Beauford Delaney, Untitled (grape motif), pastel

Philadelphia’s WPA print workshop: Raymond Steth

September 4th, 2013

Raymond Steth, born 1917, Norfolk, Virginia; died 1997, Philadelphia, began working in the graphics division of the WPA/FAP in Philadelphia in 1938. Here he worked with Dox Thrash, inventor of the Carborundum mezzotint. In addition to Thrash’s new technique, Steth produced a fine group of lithographs with Social Realist themes that document his intimate knowledge of city life as well as the rural South. Wrapping Tobacco is a rare example of Steth exploring Depression-era life in Virginia’s Tobacco fields. Steth infuses his prints with a profound emotional that places them amongst the very best works produced for the WPA.
Steth later studied at the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, the Philadelphia College of Art, where he later taught. He co-founded and directed the Philographic School of Art from 1948-1953. His remarkable prints are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Library of Congress, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institution.

Wrapping Tobacco, lithograph, c. 1940

Wrapping Tobacco, lithograph, c. 1940

Collections

November 16th, 2012

Additional Contemporary and Modern artists as well as our collections of African American, Atelier 17, and WPA artists will be featured on this page.