Category Archives: prints and drawings

prints and drawings

The Darts Champion

To make a color lithograph, each individual color in the design must be separated and drawn onto an individual lithographic stone. Then, the stones are printed one after another onto a single sheet, with careful registration.

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired a progressive series of proofs for the well-known lithograph The Darts Champion by Barnett Freedman (1901-1958). This large (590 x 920 mm) print was commissioned by Guinness for its first lithograph series in 1956 to celebrate the publication of Guinness World Records. It was printed at the Curvwen Studio and the proofs kept by Freedman for many years. Emma Mason also used it to illustrate “Who? When? Where? The Story of the Guinness Lithographs” (see: Here’s the series:


Epigraph: He was not unlike a traveler walking into a landscape which may prove mirage.—from Patrick White, Riders in the Chariot.

“The Staglieno cemetery near Genoa was created in the 19th century. It is home not only to those whose bones lie buried beneath, but also to the splendidly ornate display of sculptures erected in their memory. Carved from inanimate lumps of stone, these memorials have become more than the monumental tributes they were originally commissioned to be. Now feathered with a gentle coat of dust, each appears to have taken on a life of its own and out of the melancholy of death comes the comforting notion of a presence that will remain.”—Nazreali Press.

In 2002, a bound volume of Lee Friedlander’s photographs taken in the Staglieno cemetery was published in an edition of 2,000 copies. The duotones were printed by Oceanic Graphics in China and released by Nazraeli Press in Tucson, Arizona. Peter Galassi, former Chief Curator, Department of Photography, MoMA, wrote in the foreword, “Photography likes sculpture. It likes to see how things look from different angles, especially things that don’t move. It likes light falling on surfaces and the way the two become one in the picture. . . . Above all, it likes the way photography, which makes living figures still, awakens figures frozen in stone.” – [Marquand recap Oversize TR658.3 .F75 2002q]

The following year, a special limited edition portfolio of 15 photogravures from the Staglieno series negatives was produced at the LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies at the School of the Arts at Columbia University, New York. The Graphic Arts Collection is fortunate to have acquired copy 10 of the edition of 25 portfolios.

Housed in a red velvet-covered clamshell case with the title embossed in silver, it is a tour-de-force of photographic capture together with expert copperplate printing. Master printer Lothar Osterburg created the copper plates and printed the edition with the assistance of students at the School of the Arts at Columbia University. Each print is signed and titled Staglieno Cemetery, Genoa, Italy.



Lee Friedlander, born in 1934, began photographing the American social landscape in 1948. He was the first photographer to receive the MacDowell Medal for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts (1986), and in 1990 he received a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Award. His photographs are included in major museum collection around the world and there are multiple websites dedicated to his life and work. See:
; and many others.

Lee Friedlander: Staglieno (New York: LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies at the School of the Arts at Columbia University, 2003). Photogravures by Lothar Osterburg from negatives by Lee Friedlander. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2018- in process

Shipping, Boating, Sailing

Within the W. Allen Scheuch II, Class of 1976, collection of cartes porcelaine (trade cards made in Belgium between 1840 and 1888) are groups separated by a specific trade or product. The cards are beautifully designed and printed using metallic colored lithographic inks. Each one is finished with a high gloss by applying a coat of white lead and then, passing the card through steel cylinders. Here is a small selection from the group of shipping companies.

Several are designed and printed by the Belgian landscape painter and lithographer Augustus van den Steene (1803-1870).


16th-century woodblocks

For those not on the Platesblocksstones list, see here the information from Ad Stijnman about these beautiful 16th century woodblocks.

“For those [who don’t] yet know, the website of the Biblioteca de Catalunya shows three woodblocks of two Spanish 16th-century blockbooks:

Dr. Stijnman (PhD University of Amsterdam, present affiliation University of Leiden, Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in London) is an independent scholar for historical printmaking processes, specializing in manual intaglio printmaking techniques. He is also the author of the chapter “Printing Fabric” in Johannes Teyler and Dutch Colour Prints, Ad Stijnman (comp.), Simon Turner (ed.), IV pts (Ouderkerk aan den IJssel: Sound & Vision, in co-operation with The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, 2017), in the series: The New Hollstein Dutch & Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts 1450–1700. Marquand NE674.T49 A4 2017


“The most influential printmaker of the first half of the century.” This is how Michael Brenson described Stanley William Hayter (1901-1988) in the New York Times, May 6, 1988.

Hayter was only 26-years-old when he established the printmaking studio Atelier 17 in Paris, where it flourished until 1940. When the Nazis invaded in September 1939, he was forced to pack what he was able and move the shop to New York City. According to Brenson, when Hayter left France, he left “behind 100 copper plates and a press, which were confiscated by the Vichy Government.”

Both a school and a commercial press, it is hard to think of a major artist of that period who did not pass through Hayter’s workshop at one time or another.

Early in 1939, Hayter conceived of a publication that could be sold to raise money for children left orphan during the war in Spain. He asked the British poet Stephen Spender (1909-1995) for a poem, who sent “The Fall of the City” and then, arranged for Aragon (1897-1982) to translate the poem into French, “Chute d’une cite.”

Next, he convinced eight artists to come to the studio and produce an etching or engraving for the project, in addition to his own contribution. The international group included Joseph Hecht (French, born in Poland, 1891–1951); Dalla Husband (Canadian, 1899–1945); Wassily Kandinsky (Russian, 1866–1944); Roderick Mead (American, 1900–1972); Joan Miró (Spanish, 1893–1983); Dolf Rieser (South African, active in England, 1893–1983); Luis Vargas Rosas (Chilean, 1897-1977); and John Buckland Wright (New Zealander, 1897–1954). I add this here intentionally since many databases, like Princeton’s, have thrown out artists’ nationality as an element for recording and searching.

A reference inquiry led to the pulling and counting of the prints in this portfolio. The etchings and letterpress text were issued unbound in a wrapper with the title Fraternity embedded in one of Hayter’s designs. Since then, many prints have been removed from various copies and sold separately, Kandinsky and Miró in particular, but happily, Princeton’s copy is complete as issued.


Fraternity ([Paris: Atelier 17], 1939). Poem by Stephen Spender, translated by Aragon. Printed at Atelier 17 in an edition of 113 copies. Etchings by John Buckland-Wright, Stanley William Hayter, Josef Hecht, Dalla Husband, Wassily Kandinsky, Roderick Mead, Joan Miro, Dolf Rieser and Luis Vargas. Sylvia Beach Collection 3938.965.336

The Awful German Language

In 1880, Mark Twain (1835-1910) published A Tramp Abroad, about a trip through Central and Southern Europe. The first half covers South-Western Germany, where Twain had issues with the language. A commentary expressing his opinions on German was added as Appendix D: “The Awful German Language.”

Twain expanded on this with an essay that became a wonderful lecture titled Die Schrecken der deutschen Sprache (The Horrors of the German Language), which Twain was often called on to repeat.

German artist and printer Eckhard Froeschlin, who runs Edition Schwarze Seite, was inspired by Twain to create a contemporary fine press edition entitled An Awful German Language (2018), recently acquired by the Graphic Arts Collection.

“I heard a Californian student in Heidelberg,” writes Frieschlin, “say, in one of his calmest moods, that he would rather decline two drinks than one German adjective.“ Twain’s text appears in excerpts, accompanied by mezzotint etchings, which Froeschlin created while traveling in California and New England. Bet his English was perfect.


Electroblock printing, with no electricity

John Leech (1817-1864), Contemplating a Day’s Fishing, Mr. Briggs Gets His Tackle in Order, and Trys the Management of His Running Line, ca. 1860. Watercolor. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2006.02345. sheet: 25 x 27.8 cm.

John Leech (1817-1864), Mr. Briggs & His Doings. Fishing (London, Bradbury & Evans [1860]). Electroblock print. Otto von Kienbusch Angling Collection Oversize 2003-0004F. sheet: 33 x 47 cm.

In the summer of 1862, an exhibition entitled “Sketches in Oil” was held at The Egyptian Hall on Piccadilly in London. Although the designs by John Leech (1817-1864) were fun to see (primarily cartoons for Punch), it was the reproduction process that drew insiders to the show.

The process, Electroblock Printing, had been developed to ingeniously enlarge and transfer images to canvas or lithographic stones or other mediums. Despite the name, the technique required no electricity. An impression was taken from the original wood blocks or other medium onto rubber (or a sheet of caoutchouc), which was then stretched to a larger size and re-transferred to another surface. If a smaller design is needed, the process can be reversed by stretching the rubber before the design is transferred and then, releasing it back to its former size. The hard part was, of course, keeping all sides in proportion.

Leech was quite taken by the process and used it for several books and exhibitions, hand painting the black outline once it had been transferred.

John Leech (1817-1864), Mr. Briggs & his doings. Fishing. by John Leech (London, Bradbury & Evans [1860]). Otto von Kienbusch Angling Collection Oversize 2003-0004F 33 x 47 cm.

John Leech (1817-1864), Mr. Briggs contemplates a day’s fishing and practises with his running tackle, 1860. Electroblock print. Gift of Carl Otto Kretzschmar von Kienbusch, Princeton University Class of 1906. Graphic Arts Collection GC164

John Leech (1817-1864), Contemplating a day’s fishing, Mr. Briggs gets his tackle in order, and trys the management of his running line, ca. 1860. Watercolor. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2006.02345 sheet 25 x 27.8 cm.

Ricardo Baroja y Nessi

The Graphic Arts Collection has only one box marked Spanish prints but when it was retrieved today we found three beautiful drypoints by the Spanish painter, printmaker, and author Ricardo Baroja y Nessi (1871-1953), brother of the novelists Pío Baroja and Carmen Baroja.


None of these early twentieth-century prints is titled but each has Baroja’s printer’s stamp at the bottom corner.

We also have a reprinting (not original) of the magazine Arte Joven (Young Art), which he published together with Pablo Picasso and Francisco de Aís Soler beginning in March 1901. For this project, Baroja used the pseudonym Juan Gualberto Nessi, which was actually his birth name.

For more about the artist’s eventful life, including his film career as a silent movie actor, see:

El sexto sentido (1929 España) with artist/actor Ricardo Baroja y Nessi



Edward S. Curtis: negative / positive / negative / positive

Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952), “Honovi-Walpi Snake Priest, with Totkya Day Painting” from The North American Indian, 1907-1930. Suppl. v. 12, pl. 408. Rare Books EX Oversize 1070.279e

Suffolk Engraving Company after negative by Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952), “Honovi-Walpi Snake Priest, with Totkya Day Painting.” Original glass interpositive prepared for Edward S. Curtis’s The North American Indian, 1907-30, Suppl. v. 12, pl. 408 ([Boston: s.n., ca. 1910]). 39 x 27 cm., housed in light box 57 x 49 x 5 cm. Graphic Arts Collection Vault B glass.

Now available:

When you make a classic photogravure, the first step is to convert the photographic negative into a photographic positive. This is transferred to carbon tissue that is attached to the copperplate and from there, you proceed with the complex creation of an aquatint (intaglio ink print on paper). Negative – positive – negative – positive. The positive is also laterally reversed because the final paper will be face down on the copperplate.

It is easy to forgot that for every negative that Edward Curtis prepared, someone had to print it again as a glass positive before the image could be moved onto the copperplate for etching. It is still an open question whether these interpositives were created on the West Coast or, more likely, in Boston where the Suffolk Engraving Company finished the job with a beautiful photogravure print. See also:
A little history from Jon Goodman:
Richard Benson’s explanation: [worth every minute]

Detail of photogravure.

We have acquired the glass interpositive for plate 408, the Honovi-Walpi Snake Priest portrait and the digital version will soon be available online so you download it. The longer we work with the positive, the more impressed we are with the detail, tonality, and depth of Curtis’s photograph.

Edward Curtis was one of the most important American artists of the nineteenth century and the most celebrated photographer of North American Indians. Over the course of thirty-five years, Curtis took tens of thousands of photographs of Indians from more than eighty tribes. “Never before have we seen the Indians of North America so close to the origins of their humanity, their sense of themselves in the world, their innate dignity and self-possession” (N. Scott Momaday). Curtis’s photographs are “an absolutely unmatched masterpiece of visual anthropology, and one of the most thorough, extensive and profound photograph works of all time” (A. D. Coleman).

Curtis had the Boston firm print 2200 of his images as photogravures for his magisterial The North American Indian, which was hailed as “the most gigantic undertaking in the making of books since the King James Bible” (New York Herald). He devoted the 12th volume to the Hopi, writing of this photograph, “This plate depicts the accoutrement of a Snake dancer on the day of the Antelope dance. The right hand grasps a pair of eagle-feathers – the ‘snake whip’ – and the left a bag of ceremonial meal. Honovi was one of the author’s principal informants.” Curtis’s lifelong project was inspired by his reflection that “The passing of every old man or woman means the passage of some tradition, some knowledge of sacred rite possessed by no other; consequently, the information that is to be gathered, for the benefit of future generations, respecting the modes of life of one of the greatest races of mankind, must be collected at once or the opportunity will be lost for all time.”

Detail of glass interpositive.

Both glass positive and paper print will be on view next summer in the exhibition “Turning Light into Darkness” at Firestone Library, Princeton University.

The Ariel Poems

In 1927, the Curwen Press, Plaistow, partnered with Faber & Gwyer in London to publish a series called The Ariel Poems. Most are four pages with a previously unpublished poem and new printed image from a contemporary artist. No author was involved in the selection of the art and the final booklet (or keepsake) sold for one shilling.

“In his attempt to persuade eminent poets to contribute an Ariel poem, Richard de la Mare was not shy at telling poets that his father, Walter, had agreed to participate. In any case, he had come to know the older poets concerned through his father: in the displayed draft of a letter to Sir Henry Newbolt, for example, he writes that ‘Daddy has promised to let me have a new poem and so has T. S. Eliot’. In 1927, moreover, several of the writers when replying make polite enquiries about how his father was recovering from a recent illness. Rudyard Kipling was not able to help, but ‘A. E’ and W. B. Yeats were, and many other important literary figures came up with short poems for the sequence.”–

“Artists enjoyed the opportunity to work for the Curwen Press, not only for fees paid but because of the care taken reproducing their work. This was particularly true of illustrations reproduced by the pochoir (stencil) process, set up by Harold Curwen in 1925 and continued until 1932. The process was exploited with great skill by E. McKnight Kauffer, but even he acknowledged how much his book illustrations reproduced by pochoir owed their quality to Harold Curwen’s skill in running a department for which he trained the staff so well.” —

Between 1927 and 1931 Faber published thirty-eight poems in the Ariel series and then, in the early 1950s, after a gap of twenty years, it was decided to revive the series. Princeton University Library has a number of these, although not a complete set, spread out between a number of collections.

1. Yuletide in a younger world by Thomas Hardy, drawings by Albert Rutherston (London: Faber & Gwyer, 1927).

2. The linnet’s nest by Henry John Newbolt, drawings by Ralph Keene (London: Faber & Gwyer, 1927).

3.The wonder night by Laurence Binyon; drawings by Barnett Freedman (London: Faber & Gwyer, [1927]). 350 copies. ReCAP 3628.5.398

4.Alone by Walter de la Mare; wood engravings by Blair Hughes-Stanton (London: Faber & Gwyer, [19–?]). No. 68 of 350. Rare Books PR6007.E3 Z99046

5.Gloria in profundis by G. K. Chesterton; wood engravings by Eric Gill ([London, Faber & Gwyer, 1927]). No. 185 of 350. Rare Books 3675.85.339

6.The early whistler by Wilfrid Wilson Gibson; drawings by John Nash ([London: Faber & Gwyer, 1927]). ReCAP 3752.3.331

7.Nativity by Siegfried Sassoon; designs by Paul Nash ([London: Faber & Gwyer, 1927]. No. 18 of 350. ReCAP 3917.75.367

8.Journey of the magi by T.S. Eliot; drawings by E. McKnight Kauffer ([London; Faber & Gwyer, Limited, 1927]). Graphic Arts Collection 2004-4195N

9. The chanty of the Nona by Hilaire Belloc, drawings by Hilaire Belloc (London: Faber & Gwyer,

11.Self to self by Walter De la Mare, drawings by Blair Hughes-Stanton (London: Faber & Gwyer, Curwen Press, 1928).

12. Troy by Humbert Wolfe ; drawings by C. Ricketts (London : Faber & Gwyer, [1928]). ReCAP 3995.18.391

13. The winter solstice, by Harold Monro; drawings by David Jones (London, Faber & Gwyer, 1928?). Rare Books 3862.62.397

14. To my mother by Siegfried Sassoon, drawings by Stephen Tennant (London: Faber & Faber, 1928). Rare Books 3917.75.349.1928

15.Popular song by Edith Sitwell, drawings by Edward Bawden (London: Faber and Faber, 1928). Rare Books 3933.05.373

16.A song for Simeon by T.S. Eliot; drawing by E. McKnight Kauffer (London: Faber & Gwyer, 1928). Graphic Arts Collection 2004-4218N

18. Three things, by W.B. Yeats; drawings by Gilbert Spencer ([London, Faber & Faber limited, 1929]). Rare Books 3999.4.3895.11

20.A snowdrop by Walter De la Mare; drawings by Claudia Guercio (London: Faber & Faber,
192?). Rare Books PR6007.E3 Z99047

22. The outcast by James Stephens; drawings by Althea Willoughby ([London : Faber & Faber, 1929 ). Rare Books 3943.35.369

24. Inscription on a fountain-head by Peter Quennell ; drawings by Albert Rutherston (London : Faber & Faber, [1929]). Rare Books 3902.17.349

26. Elm angel by Harold Monro,. Wood engravings by Eric Ravilious (London, Faber & Faber, 1930). Rare Books 3862.62.332

27.In Sicily by Siegfried, drawings by Stephen Tennant ([London] : [Faber & Faber], 1927). ReCAP PR6037.A86 I575 1930

29.Marina by T.S. Eliot; drawings by E. McKnight Kauffer (London: Faber & Faber, 192?). RHT 20th-125

30.The gum trees by Roy Campbell ; drawings by David Jones (London : Faber & Faber, 1930). Rare Books 3664.55.341

31.News by Walter de la Mare ; drawings by Barnett Freedman (London: Faber & Faber, 1930).
Firestone Library PR6007.E3 N497 1930

33. To Lucy by Walter de la Mare ; drawings by Albert Rutherston (London : Faber & Faber, [19–?]). Rare Books PR6007.E3 Z99059

34. To the red rose by Siegfried Sassoon ; illustration by Stephen Tennant (London : Faber & Faber, [1931?]). Rare Books 3917.75.391

35. Triumphal march by T.S. Eliot ; drawings by E. McKnight Kauffer ([London : Faber & Faber, 1931]). RHT 20th-132

36. Jane Barston, 1719-1746 by Edith Sitwell ; drawings by R. A. Davies (London : Faber & Faber, [1931]). Rare Books PR6037.I8 J36 1931

38. Choosing a mast / by Roy Campbell ; drawings by Barnett Freedman (London : Faber & Faber, 1931). Rare Books 3664.55.325