Posts Tagged ‘mezzotint

16
Feb
12

Exhibition: ‘The Prints of Martin Lewis: From the Collection of Dr. Dorrance Kelly’ at the Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT

Exhibition dates: 2nd October 2011  – 26th February 2012

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One of the great pleasures of presenting this blog is introducing myself and my readers to forgotten artists. Here we have a dazzling Australian artist who died largely forgotten, especially, it seems, in his native country. He does not deserve this fate!

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How many works does the National Gallery of Australia hold in its collection?

6

Count them … 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

(and none displayed online)

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AGNSW 5, NGV 0

(and none displayed online)

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Tell me, is there something wrong with this picture?

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Many thankx to the Bruce Museum for allowing me to publish the images in the posting. Please click on the images for a larger version.

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Martin Lewis (1881-1962) was born in Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia on June 7, 1881. He was the second of eight children and had a passion for drawing. At the age of 15, he left home and traveled in New South Wales, Australia, and in New Zealand, working as a pothole digger and a merchant seaman. He returned to Sydney and settled into a Bohemian community outside Sydney. Two of his drawings were published in the radical Sydney newspaper, The Bulletin. He studied with Julian Ashton at the Art Society’s School in Sydney. Ashton, a famous painter, was also one of the first Australian artists to take up printmaking.

In 1900, Lewis left Australia for the United States. His first job was in San Francisco, painting stage decorations for William McKinley’s presidential campaign of 1900. By 1909, Lewis was living in New York, where he found work in commercial illustration. His earliest known etching is dated 1915. However, the level of skill in this piece suggests he had been working in the medium for some time previously. It was during this period that he helped Edward Hopper learn the basics of etching. In 1920, after the break up of a romance, Lewis traveled to Japan, where for two years he drew and painted and studied Japanese art. The influence of Japanese prints is very evident in Lewis’s prints after that period. In 1925, he returned to etching and produced most of his well-known works between 1925 and 1935 Lewis’s first solo exhibition in 1929 was successful enough for him to give up commercial work and concentrate entirely on printmaking. Lewis is most famous for his black and white prints, mostly of night scenes of non tourist, real life street scenes of New York City. During the Depression, however, he was forced to leave the city for four years between 1932 and 1936 and move to Connecticut. When Lewis was able to return to the New York City in 1936, there was no longer a market interested in his work. He died largely forgotten.”

Wikipedia entry for the artist

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Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962)
Glow of the City
1929 
Drypoint, 11 ¼ x 14 ¼ in.
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly
© Estate of Martin Lewis

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Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962)
Late Traveler
1949 
Drypoint, 9 7/8 x 11 7/8 in.
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly
© Estate of Martin Lewis

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Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962)
Fifth Ave Bridge
1928
Drypoint , 9 7/8 x 12 in.
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly
© Estate of Martin Lewis

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Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962)
Grandpa Takes a Walk
1935 
Drypoint and sand ground, 8 7/8 x 11 ¾ in.
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly
© Estate of Martin Lewis

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Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962)
Quarter of Nine, Saturday’s Children
1929 
Drypoint, 9 7/8 x 12 7/8 in.
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly
© Estate of Martin Lewis

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Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962)
Shadow Dance
1930 
Drypoint and sandpaper ground, 9 ½ x 10 7/8 in.
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly
© Estate of Martin Lewis

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“The Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut, presents the new exhibition The Prints of Martin Lewis: From the Collection of Dr. Dorrance Kelly from October 2, 2011, through February 19, 2012. Recognized as one of the premier American printmakers of the first half of the 20th-century, Martin Lewis (1881-1962) left an indelible mark on the landscape of the art world. Although not as publicly well known as some of his contemporaries such as Edward Hopper, Lewis was a highly skilled printer who was greatly involved in the artistic scene of New York City during the 1920s and ’30s. This exhibition features more than thirty etchings and several canceled plates by the artist from the private collection of Dr. Dorrance Kelly of West Redding, Connecticut.

The exhibition The Prints of Martin Lewis: From the Collection of Dr. Dorrance Kelly provides a brief biographical account of Lewis and showcases some of the artist’s best technical prints. Lewis was an acknowledged master of the intaglio techniques of printmaking, experimenting with multiple processes including etching, aquatint, engraving, mezzotint, and dry point.

In 1915 he produced his first documented etching, Smoke Pillar, Weehawken. Images like this one documented the scenes of everyday life as they played out in the thriving metropolis around New York City. Lewis portrayed all aspects of city life including dockworkers, skyscrapers, tugboats, and pedestrians – mostly the ladies. He produced magnificent prints that captured the energy, bustle, and occasional solitude of New York. With his move to Connecticut in 1932, Lewis investigated another topic through his printmaking: country life. This firmly entrenched Lewis as a prominent American scene artist, as his prints captured the intersection between the urban and rural environments and shed light on the slowly emerging suburban culture.”

Press release from the Bruce Museum website

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Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962)
Windy Day
1932 
Drypoint, 9 7/8 x 12 in.
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly
© Estate of Martin Lewis

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Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962)
Politics
1936 
Drypoint and sand ground, 9 ¾ x 10 5/8 in.
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly
© Estate of Martin Lewis

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Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962)
Little Penthouse
1931 
Drypoint, 9 7/8 x 6 ¾ in.
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly
© Estate of Martin Lewis

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Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962)
Bay Windows
1929 
Drypoint and sandpaper ground, 11 ¾ x 7 7/8 in.
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly
© Estate of Martin Lewis

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Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962)
Chance Meeting
1940-41 
Drypoint, 10 ½ x 7 ½ in.
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly
© Estate of Martin Lewis

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Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962)
Relics (Speakeasy Corner)
1928 
Drypoint, 11 7/8 x 9 7/8 in.
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly
© Estate of Martin Lewis

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Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962)
Snow on the “El”
1931 
Drypoint and sand ground, 14 x 9 in.
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly
© Estate of Martin Lewis

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Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT
T: 203.869.0376

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Saturday 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday 1 pm – 5 pm
Closed Mondays

Bruce Museum website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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