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Paul Landacre

Born: 1893, Columbus, Ohio, United States of America
Died: 1963, Los Angeles, California, United States of America

The Press
1934

Wood engraving on wove Japan paper
Block: 8 1/4 x 8 1/4 in. (21.0 x 21.0 cm)
Sheet: 15 x 10 7/16 in. (38.1 x 26.5 cm)
Mat: 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm)
Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection , 1996.30
Signed: In graphite, lower right: Paul Landacre
Inscribed: In graphite, lower left to lower center: 23/60 The Press
Artist Name: []

Interpretation

Like Armin Landeck's Studio Interior No. 1 (TF 1996.31), this precise wood-engraving by Paul Landacre testifies to his deep affection for his chosen field of printmaking by presenting almost as an abstract composition the powerful forms of its mechanical components. With its solid blacks, meticulous fine white lines, and simplified forms, The Press exemplifies Landacre's distinctive style. The print evolved from several preliminary close-up pencil studies of his nineteenth-century Washington hand press. Landacre received the press in 1932 as a long-term loan from Jake Zeitlin, his Los Angeles graphic arts dealer (and his wife Margaret's employer), and lovingly restored it to working order. Thereafter he used the press to hand-print nearly every impression of his wood engravings, except for large editions and book illustrations. His arms partly crippled from a disease contracted as a young man, he sometimes enlisted aid from Margaret to pull the heavy lever of the press.

In 1934-38, to generate income, Landacre created the Paul Landacre Association, which offered subscribers one print each month for an annual fee of one hundred dollars. As the first print issued by the Association, The Press became one of Landacre's best-known works. Its mechanical subject; clean, simplified forms; and dramatic interplay of lights and darks embodied the streamlined industrial aesthetic of the era. Displayed at the 1938 Venice Biennale, the print was also shown at a landmark exhibition of American prints held at New York's Whitney Museum of American Art in 1942.

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Provenance

The artist
Margo Pollins Schab, Inc., New York, New York
Terra Foundation for the Arts Collection, Chicago, Illinois, 1996

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Exhibition History

L'Amérique et les Modernes, 1900–1950 (American Moderns, 1900–1950), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venue: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, July 25–October 31, 2000. [exh. cat.]

On Process: Studio Themes, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, January 13–March 4, 2001.

America’s Cool Modernism: O’Keeffe to Hopper, Terra Foundation for American Art and the Ashmolean Museum of Art & Archaeology, Oxford, UK (organizers.) Venue: Ashmolean Museum of Art & Archaeology, Oxford, UK, March 23, 2018–July 22, 2018 [exh. cat.]

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Published References

Freshman, Phil, ed. Paul Landacre, Prints and Drawings. (exh. cat., Los Angeles County Museum of Art). Los Angeles, California: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1983. Ill. no. 11, pp. 22–23.

Cartwright, Derrick R. and Paul J. Karlstrom. American Moderns, 1900–1950. (exh. cat., Musée d'Art Américain Giverny). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 2000. Text pp. 9, 61 (checklist); fig. 1, p. 8 (black & white). [specific reference to Terra print]

Cartwright, Derrick R. and Paul J. Karlstrom. L'Amérique et les modernes, 1900–1950. (exh. cat., Musée d'Art Américain Giverny). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 2000. Text pp. 9, 61 (checklist); fig. 1, p. 8 (black & white). [specific reference to Terra print]

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