Vogel Totentanz

Sarah Horowitz, Vogel Totentanz. Etchings and design by Sarah Horowitz (Washington: Wiesedruck, 2018). Copy 15 of 40. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process


The artist writes, “Vogel Totentanz is a bird dance of death alphabet book inspired by Hans Holbein’s Dance of Death woodcut alphabet. After the Black Plague ravaged Europe in the late 14th century, death as inevitable regardless of status or age became a pervasive motif in art and literature.”

“My present-day Totentanz is a reflection of that idea in context of our environmental crisis. Birds are indicator species for overall environmental health and human well-being. The etchings were drawn from specimens at the Cashmere Museum, the Wenatchee Valley College collection, and the Burke Museum in Washington State along with other found remains. Diotima types were used throughout.”


“The text was letterpress printed on Zerkall Book paper by Arthur Larson of Horton Tank Graphics. Claudia Cohen boxed and bound the book. The edition numbers forty, including five deluxe copies. The regular edition is bound in a bird-footprint-etching printed blue paper and housed in a slipcase. The deluxe is bound in full leather, enclosed in a box and includes an additional suite of the etchings.”

Der Totentanz by Hans Ganz and Hans Holbein: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/23775

William M. Ivins, “Hans Holbein’s Dance of Death”: https://www.metmuseum.org/pubs/bulletins/1/pdf/3254072.pdf.bannered.pdf