Art 425 The Japanese Print

Torii Kiyomitsu I, 1735-1785. The actor Ichikawa Yaozō as Tengawaya Shihei resting on a large chest. Color woodblock print. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2009.00703


Prof. Watsky’s class ART 425/EAS 425 The Japanese Print split their time on Wednesday between the Marquand Library collection and the Graphic Arts Collection. This seminar has been examining Japanese woodblock prints from the 17th through the 19th century, including the formal and technical aspects of prints, the varied subject matter–including the “floating world” of the brothel districts and theatre, the Japanese landscape, and urban centers–and the links between literature and prints. At the end of the class, the students will select a print or two to purchase for the University.

Our session included not only final prints but the tools and techniques used to make them. Scrolls, bound books, and individual prints were examined.

Nicole Fabricand-Person, Japanese Art Specialist showed the famous “whale” book, by Nanki Josuiken from 1794. This was the first time the whale is identified as a mammal. She also talked about Nanshoku ōkagami: Honchō waka fūzoku [The Great Mirror of Male Love: the Custom of Boy Love in Our Land] written by Ihara Saikaku in 1687. Read her wonderful post on the series here:

Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 1798-1861. Half-length portrait of an actor as a sumo wrestler. Color woodblock print. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2009.00746

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892. Geisha seated for her photograph, 1881. Color woodblock print. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2009.00737

Puerto Rican Graphic Arts

Yiyo Tirado Rivera (born 1990), Betancinados, 2016. Xilography.  Collection of Alma Concepcion and Arcadio Díaz-Quiñones.

Inspired by the emblematic figure of Ramón Emeterio Betances (1827-1898), Puerto Rican radical abolitionist and revolutionary. Betances lived in exile in France most of his life and was one of the major leaders of the Grito de Lares (1868), an armed insurrection against the Spanish colonial regime.

This print is one of the highlights of the exhibition Puerto Rican Graphic Arts on view in Aaron Burr Hall, Princeton University, in connection with the 50th anniversary of the Program in Latin American Studies. For more images and additional events, see:



Antonio Martorell (born 1939), Mask, 1979. Screen print and collage. Collection of Alma Concepcion and Arcadio Díaz-Quiñones.

From the portfolio Loas, 1979, based on a text on Afro-Caribbean deities and rituals by Antonio T. Díaz-Royo. This text inspired Atibón Ogú, Erzulí, a choreodrama by Alma Concepción, for Taller de Histriones, a Puerto Rican mime company directed by Gilda Navarra. Set designs, costumes, and body art by Martorell. Music by Emmanuel “Sunshine” Logroño.


Born in 1939, Jose Rosa studied at the Taller del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueño (Graphic Arts Workshop of the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture) run by Lorenzo Homar (1913-2004) and later succeeded Homar as the workshop’s director. As this poster demonstrates, he was a master of screen printing.

The print was later exhibited and reproduced in the catalogue José Rosa: Exposición Homenaje: Obra Gráfica, 1963-1996: Antiguo Arsenal de la Marina Española, Viejo San Juan, Puerto Rico, 29 de abril al 31 de agosto de 1998 ([San Juan, P.R.]: Programa de Artes Plástica, Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, 1998).


Myrna Báez (born 1931), Baile, 1963. Linocut and woodcut. Inspired by traditional Puerto Rican dance and music. Collection of Alma Concepcion and Arcadio Díaz-Quiñones.

Monument to German Poetry

Daily Princetonian advertisement
Thomas Nast (1840-1902), Apollo Amusing the Gods [on the far right-center, Senator Carl Schurz as Mars, god of war] published in Harper’s Weekly November 16, 1872. Wood engraving. Graphic Arts Collection.

This weekend, I was asked “what did the German American politician Carl Schurz (seen here caricatured by Thomas Nast) and George Ehret, the owner of Hell-Gate Brewery, have in common?” The answer is love of the German Jewish poet Heinrich Heine (1797-1856), author of Die Lore-Ley.

These two men joined forces in the 1890s to form the Heine Monument Association to bring the Lorelei Fountain, designed by Ernst Herter (1846-1917) in honor of Heinrich Heine, to New York City. Commissioned for but rejected by the city of Dusseldorf, Heine’s birthplace, Schurz and Ehret were confident they could raise the funds to move the 19-foot monument, sculpted in Tyrolean marble, to Grand Army Plaza in front of the Plaza Hotel, which was still under construction.

Funds were raised but the fountain was again rejected for this prominent site, next rejected by the city of Baltimore, and also rejected for a site on the north shore of Long Island. After several years in a warehouse, Heine’s monument was finally installed at 161st Street and the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, a largely German Jewish community, and dedicated on July 8, 1899.

Unfortunately over the next few years vandals cut off the heads and arms of all three mermaids that sit in the fountain bowl symbolizing poetry, satire, and melancholy. In 1940 the marble was painted black and the fountain moved to the farthest end of the Joyce Kilmer Park, where it was further destroyed with graffiti, trash, and erosion. The city offered to renovate the park if the monument was removed but local activists refused to give it up.

After years of being almost unrecognizable, funds were raised to repair and restore the fountain. The base was hollowed out and that marble used to re-sculpt heads and other body parts for the mermaids. On its centenary in 1999, Heine’s monument was rededicated in its original location, where it is enjoyed today.

translated by Tr. Frank 1998

I cannot determine the meaning
Of sorrow that fills my breast:
A fable of old, through it streaming,
Allows my mind no rest.
The air is cool in the gloaming
And gently flows the Rhine.
The crest of the mountain is gleaming
In fading rays of sunshine.

The loveliest maiden is sitting
Up there, so wondrously fair;
Her golden jewelry is glist’ning;
She combs her golden hair.
She combs with a golden comb, preening,
And sings a song, passing time.
It has a most wondrous, appealing
And pow’rful melodic rhyme.

The boatman aboard his small skiff, –
Enraptured with a wild ache,
Has no eye for the jagged cliff, –
His thoughts on the heights fear forsake.
I think that the waves will devour
Both boat and man, by and by,
And that, with her dulcet-voiced power

See also:

Exhibition Stare Case

Exhibition Stare Case is one of the most famous of all the prints by Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827), undated but thought to have been published around 1811. The scene features the notoriously steep and narrow stair in Somerset House leading to the Great Hall and imagines what might happen if someone tripped on a dog, causing a cascade of bodies (at a time when women didn’t wear underpants). The exhibition upstairs becomes less interesting than the scene on the stair.

Off to the right, one lady makes a marginal attempt to grab the spotlight back from the other women by lifting her long skirt to expose her ankle. None of the men around her, including the artist himself, seem to even notice.

Rowlandson lived close by in the Adelphi and was a regular visitor to Somerset House. According to The Cyclopædia: Or, Universal Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Literature of 1819, between 900-1,200 works were included in the annual spring exhibition, held from late April to early June and attended by over 67,000 visitors.

We assume the crowd is there to see the Spring exhibit, the highlight of the social season, although they might also be attending one of the popular lectures held in 1811, including talks by Henry Fuseli on painting; John Soane on architecture; Anthony Carlisle on anatomy; J. M. W. Turner on perspective; and John Flaxman on sculpture. Or they might also be attending the exhibit of the Society of Painters in Water-Colours, held annually beginning in 1804, where Rowlandson exhibited.

Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827), Exhibition Stare Case, ca. 1811. Hand colored etching. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2014.00789.

UJ3RK5 and other gifts

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired several projects by the Vancouver artist Rodney Graham. The term ‘projects’ is chosen deliberately because Graham is a writer and a photographer, a musician and a filmmaker, a conceptual humorist who continues to experiment with the written, spoken, and sung word. Most of these projects are out-of-print and so, even nicer to receive as donations.

In the late 1970s, when many art school students were torn between punk rock and the visual arts, Graham formed a band with Jeff Wall and Ian Wallace called UJ3RK5 (pronounced “you jerk,” – the five is silent). They had one, surprising hit song, “Eisenhower and the Hippies,” before breaking up. Since then, Graham has continued to mix art on vinyl with art on paper, subverting distinctions of format and genre.

“Graham was captivated by the idea of this interpolation,” wrote Shepherd Steiner. “Stealthy and ingenious, Graham’s interventions into the art of the past revealed an almost cunning impulse to hack into the works of his forebears and wreak mischief therein.”

In The System of Landor’s Cottage, Graham created a fake addendum to a story by Edgar Allan Poe, so popular it has been reprinted several times. Freud Supplement (170 a-170 d) does much the same for Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams.

The artist spent 2000-2001 in a year-long residency at DAAD in Berlin. The year ended with a physical exhibition, accompanied by a conceptual artists’ book rather than traditional catalogue, called Some Works with Sound Waves, Some Works with Light Waves and Some Other Experimental Works. The book and vinyl disc contain lyrics, performance stills, and meditations on Kurt Cobain and Michelangelo Antonioni, along with essays by Martin Pesch, Susanne Gaensheimer and Dirk Snauwert. The cover is designed as a facsimile of the classical LP’s put out by the Deutsche Grammaphone label.

UJ3RK5 (Musical group), UJ3RK5 (Vancouver: Quintessence Records, 1980). Members: Rodney Graham; Jeff Wall; Ian Wallace; Colin Griffiths; Danice MacLeod; Frank Ramirez. Recorded at Little Mountain Sound, December 1979. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2018- in process

Rodney Graham, The System of Landor’s Cottage: a Pendant to Poe’s Last Story ([Toronto]: Y. Gevaert & the Art Gallery of Ontario, 1987). One of 250 numbered copies. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2018- in process

Rodney Graham, Freud Supplement (170 a-170 d) ([S.L.]: Rodney Graham, 1989). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2018- in process

Rodney Graham, Getting It Together in the Country [Multimedia]: some works with sound waves, some works with light waves and some other experimental works (Köln, et al.: Oktagon, 2001). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2018- in process

Grotesk Film

In 1910 publisher J. B. (Jsrael Ber) Neumann (1887-1961) opened the Graphisches Kabinett J.B. Neumann on the Kurfürstendamm in Berlin, where he sold books, prints, and paintings. The shop expanded to Bremen, Düsseldorf and Münich, until Neumann finally emigrated to New York City in 1924. While still in Berlin, Neumann published one of the rarest of the graphic novels by Frans Masereel (1889-1972) entitled Grotesk Film (1921).

Masereel and Neumann would have both seen the popular 1920 black and white silent film, Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) directed by Robert Wiene. The first of many German Expressionist films, it had an enormous influence on the arts of that time including Masereel’s silent novels, Grotesk Film in particular.

The small volume opens with a self-portrait of Masereel waving to an audience of expressionist faces, oblivious to a crocodile biting his foot. This might be a reference to Eugene O’Neill’s The Emperor Jones, which opened in New York City a year earlier and was performed, in part, behind a cyclorama so the actors can only be seen in black and white silhouettes. The plot features a crocodile god who almost devours Jones.

By 1921, Masereel’s fame had spread to the United States where Frank Crowninshield published a full-page section of his 1920 book Idée (The Idea) in Vanity Fair. However, he was never able to obtain a passport to join his friends in New York and spent most of his adult life in Switzerland. Masereel’s final project was the organization of Xylon, the International Society of Wood Engravers. See: Xylon VI: Exposition internationale de gravure = Internationale Holzschnittausstellung Xylon (Zürich: Sektion Schweiz der Xylon, 1961- ). Graphic Arts Off-Site Storage Oversize NE1000 .xX8e

Frans Masereel (1889-1972), Groteskfilm (Berlin: J. B. Neumann, 1921). First and only edition. One of 200 copies on Verge paper. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2018- in process

Henrietta Maria Moriarty, artist and novelist

Henrietta Maria Moriarty (1781-1842), Viridarium: Coloured Plates of Greenhouse Plants, with Linnean Names, and with Concise Rules for Their Culture (London: Printed by Dewick & Clarke, Aldergate-Street, for the Author; and sold by William Earl, No. 47, Albemarle-Street, Piccadilly. 1806). First edition. 50 handcolored aquatint plates, each accompanied with a corresponding leaf of descriptive text. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2018- in process.

In his post Avoiding sex with Mrs Moriarty, garden historian Dr. David Marsh writes that facts concerning Moriarty’s life have been elusive. She traveled in high class circles: the book’s subscription list is headed by Prince Augustus, the Duke of Sussex and the younger brother of George IV and William IV.  The work is dedicated to Lady de Clifford, who also bought five copies.

The plates are mainly copied from Curtis’s Botanical Magazine so it leaves open the question of why this work came to press. Thanks to research by our friends at Marlborough Books, we now have answers about who Moriarty really was. They found a novel by Moriarty, published in 1811 under the title Brighton in an Uproar, and writes:

“This is very clearly an autobiographical work in which she uses the nom de plume of ‘Mrs Mortimer.’ Unfortunately this ‘novel’ also seems to have caused her downfall and imprisonment for slander. This connection has apparently eluded research so in case anyone wants to delve further into the mystery of Mrs Moriarty we thought to give at least an outline of her life.”

In Brighton in an Uproar, Moriarty relates why Viridarium came to be written.

Mrs. Mortimer advertised for two or three ladies to board with her: she succeeded in procuring one; and the aunt of one of the officers belonging to the corps in which her husband had served also came to reside with her. Mrs. Forth was a lady of great accomplishments, aid most pleasing manners: her behaviour to Hubertine and her children was such as rendered her an invaluable friend, and meeting with such an inmate was a great blessing to Mrs. Mortimer in her present distressed situation.

. . . Drawing had always been a favourite occupation with her; and she was advised to publish a botanical work by subscription. She was averse to this as she knew her abilities were not equal to such a task; but as it was expected of her, she immediately set about it . . . Another strong inducement to publish by subscription was the ardent desire which she had to liquidate her late husband’s debts; and in this she succeeded as from her exertion’s she paid them all within two year’s amounting to the sum of four hundred and eighty pounds.

Marlborough’s research continues,

“Henrietta Maria was christened on the 22 February 1781 at Romsey in Hampshire. She was the daughter of Major Benjamin Godfrey of the Inniskilling Dragoons and his wife Henrietta. On the 9th July 1796 she married Matthew Moriarty, Esq., of Chatham in Kent and then a Major in the Marines, she would have been barely 15 at the time of her marriage and presumably this was through the consent of her now widowed mother. Unfortunately he was not a good husband, he left a trail of debt and died somewhat dissolute, and worse leaving his widow and children unprovided for.

In order to clear the debts she wrote Viridarium and later also two novels. . . As a widow Henrietta was not reconciled to her Irish relatives and despite trying to make ends meet by writing she was clearly in financial trouble, worse she seems to have slandered someone and was committed to the King’s Bench prison in December 1813. Her occupation as a boarding house keeper, seems slightly desperate and maybe it is not surprising that she is not acknowledged in print from this time forth except the sad record contained in the 1841 census that she was a ward of the Kensington Union Workhouse followed by her death a year later.”

Seven Princeton Etchings by Louis Orr

Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Louis Orr (1876-1966) moved to Paris in his twenties to study at the Academie Julian. He served in the French Army, married a French artist, became an officer of the French Legion of Honor, and was buried in Nimes, France. Orr’s etchings were the first by an American artist purchased for the permanent collection in the Louvre’s chalcography department.

In the 1930s, during one of his periodic stays in the United States, Orr accepted a commission from the Princeton University Press to etch seven campus views. First advertised in the Princeton Alumni Weekly 35, no. 17 (February 15, 1935), the Princeton portfolio contained “seven new Princeton etchings by Louis Orr, one of the world’s foremost etchers.” Featured buildings included Blair Tower; Class of 1904 Howard Henry Memorial Dormitory; Cleveland Memorial Hall; Cuyler Hall; Nassau Hall; University Chapel; Hodder Hall; and one small cover design showing a detail of Holder archway.

332 sets were printed on Rives paper and sold “at the exceedingly low price of $100,” which could be paid in monthly installments. “In view of the reputation of the artist, the limitation of the edition to 332 sets, and the fact that each etching is signed by Mr. Orr, these beautiful etchings are collectors’ items and should later sell at a premium. It is expected that the edition will be quickly exhausted.”

Louis Orr was born into a family of engravers, the grandson of John William Orr (1815-1887) and great-nephew of Nathaniel Orr (1822-1908). Princeton’s was one of many institutional commissions he completed including portfolios for Dartmouth, Duke, Pittsburgh, University of Virginia, Wellesley, and Yale.

Noa Noa

We pulled the collotype facsimile of Paul Gauguin’s Noa Noa yesterday for the students to study.

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) began writing his travel journal Noa Noa [Fragrance] after returning to Paris from Tahiti in 1893. The text manuscript was given to the poet Charles Morice (1860-1919) while Gauguin kept his original pages with prints, drawings, and other visual material pasted in.

In 1926, a facsimile of Gauguin’s manuscript, now in the Louvre, was created by the German art historian Julius Meier-Graefe and published in collaboration with R. Piper & Co in an edition of 400. It reproduces Gauguin’s handwritten text and all the pasted in prints and drawings in collotype.

Through his many German connections, former curator of Graphic Arts Elmer Adler was fortunate to acquired copy no. 34. Inside the front cover (now moved to Adler Papers CO262), he kept a letter from John Rewald with a brief explanation of the book’s publishing history. It reads in part:

“New York, April 7th ’43. Dear Mr. Adler, Many thanks for your letter. The story of Noa-Noa is at least as complicated as the one of Avant et après. It was written in France, the idea being conceived by Gauguin and his friend Charles Morice. The original edition contains poems by Morice succeeding each chapter by Gauguin, and no illustrations. It was published after the painter’s return to Tahiti and finally almost caused a complete break between Gauguin and Morice in connection with the royalties etc. The original manuscript with the drawings, watercolors, and photographs pasted in was given by Gauguin to [Georges-]Daniel de Monfreid. When Gauguin’s widow succeeded in extorting the Avant et après manuscript from [André] Fontainas, Monfried feared that he, too, would be unable to resist her tears; he hurried immediately to the Louvre and offered Noa-Noa as a gift.

Noa-Noa still belongs to the Louvre-Museum. The Avant et après manuscript was sold by the German publisher, Kurt Wolf (he is now in this country) who had it acquired legally from Gauguin’s widow and ignored that it actually belonged to Fontainas. I have just been informed by the last owners that it has been definitely lost in the way from England to America, thanks to Hitler’s submarines.”

Various facsimiles have been published over the years, several are digitized but not Gauguin’s original pages: Hopefully our friends at the Louvre will digitize it one day.

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), Noa Noa ([München: Marées Gesellschaft: R. Piper, 1926]). Copy 34 of 400, one of 320 copies bound in woven straw cloth. Letter from John Rewald to Elmer Adler, April 7, 1943, about Noa Noa and Avant et après, in Adler correspondence. Graphic Arts Collection Oversize 2007-0082Q

See also:
Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), Noa Noa [Première éd. du texte authentique de Gauguin, établi sur le manuscrtit initial retrouvé. Préf., étude, vie de l’artiste, notes et bibliographie de Jean Loize ([Paris] A. Balland [1966]. ND553.G27 A3 1966

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), Noa Noa (Paris: Sagot-Le Garrec, 1954). Facsimiles of a manuscript in the possession of Berthe Le Garrec, and a letter from Charles Morice to Edmund Sagot (laid in). Marquand Library Oversize ND553.G2 A35 1954f

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), Avant et après, avec les vingt-sept dessins du manuscrit original (Paris, G. Crès et cie, 1923). Marquand Library ND553.G2 A33 1923

Porphyro in Akron

Many of you know Andrew Cahan as an expert in photographic literature but did you know he was also an artist? The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired Hart Crane”s Porphyro In Akron (1980) with three photogravures by Cahan. He was kind enough to tell the story behind this project:

“As a preamble to the genesis of the book, I was living in Brooklyn Heights, having moved there to work as Mary Ellen Mark’s darkroom printer. When my tenure there was over, I started taking some classes at the Center for Book Arts in lower Manhattan.

Around 1978-79, I decided it was time to go back to graduate school so I could have access to the equipment needed to teach myself the photogravure process. I made a few calls to faculty friends at OSU and scored an assistantship in the photo department (prior, I had my BA from there in photo and a year as a resident student with Minor White) so they knew me fairly well and said ‘come back.’

When I landed in Columbus, Bob Tauber had just been hired to start the Logan Elm Press. Somehow we met and I became the first student to work with him. It took me almost a year to make a viable photogravure plate. I had some books which I consulted and doggedly kept at it. The first project was [a] broadside, TO GOUDY w/ LUV. I think I printed 65 or so.

Once that was done and I proved to Bob that I could make a good plate and set the type, etc, he gave me the signal to start Porphryo In Akron. The connections to this poem are as follows…

Hart Crane lived here as a young man, for a short time. I grew up in Akron [and] moved to Brooklyn Heights, as did he in an apartment overlooking the bridge. Walker Evans used three images in The Bridge, so I would too.

The photos are from three locales. The opening image [right] is of the B.F. Goodrich plant in Akron from a nearby hill. The second image [below] was from my apartment window in Brooklyn Heights, looking towards Hart Crane’s apartment. And the final image [top] was made in a club in Columbus on the night of my 31st birthday. I used a 4×5 view camera and a Leica.”

Hart Crane (1899-1932), Porphyro In Akron (Columbus, Ohio: Logan Elm Press, 1980). Three photogravures by Andrew Cahan. One of 100 copies. Graphic Arts Collection Q-000233. Colophon: “Hart Crane wrote this poem in 1920 while he was working in Akron, Ohio. An early draft was included in a letter to his friend Gorham Munson and is now in the Special Collections of The Ohio State University Libraries. Its first appearance in print was in The Complete Poems & Selected Letters and Prose of Hart Crane, Liveright Publishing Corporation, New York, 1966.”

Greeting the dawn,
A shift of rubber workers presses down
South Main.
With the stubbornness of muddy water
It dwindles at each cross-line
Until you feel the weight of many cars
North-bound, and East and West,
Absorbing and conveying weariness, —
Rumbling over the hills.
Akron, ” high place ” —
A bunch of smoke-ridden hills
Among rolling Ohio hills.
The dark-skinned Greeks grin at each other
in the streets and alleys.
The Greek grins and fights with the Swede, —
And the Fjords and the Aegean are remembered.
The plough, the sword,
The trowel, — and the monkey wrench!
O City, your axles need not the oil of song.
I will whisper words to myself
And put them in my pockets.
I will go and pitch quoits with old men
In the dust of a road.