I've known Wanda Gág's book Millions of Cats (1928) since I was little, and can still remember the rhythmic refrain "Cats here, cats there, cats and kittens everywhere, Hundreds of cats, Thousands of cats, Millions and billions and trillions of cats." (Gág did love cats!) She won the Newbery Honor Award for this classic book. It was some time later that I discovered that Gág was an artist beyond the illustrations of her books, particularly acclaimed for lithographs, but also with some relief prints. Her images are often very dark, with such sweeping curves and looming shadows that her scenes of ordinary life become lyrical and almost dream-like. I love them!
Look how intricate the shadows are in this wood engraving, even though it's stylized. I love the pattern of all the turned wood pieces in the spinning wheel.
In this linoleum block print, called "Departure," Gág somehow manages to make the scene simultaneously sad and cozy. And again, all those shadows!
Here's one of her beautiful lithographs. I'm sorry it's not a larger, more detailed image, but look how gentle and rich the gradations of grey are, when compared with the relief prints. Lithography is just perfect for the soft snow and the soft twilight of this scene.
And finally, another lithograph, but a bright scene, just so you can see that she didn't do only shadows! But it still has all those curves and that dreamlike quality.
[Pictures: Spinning Wheel, wood engraving by Wanda Gág, 1925, (Minnesota Historical Society Collections);
Departure, linoleum block print by Wanda Gág, 1927, (The Old Print Shop);
Winter Twilight, zinc plate lithograph by Wanda Gág, 1927, (The Tweed Museum of Art);
Spring on the Hillside, lithograph by Wanda Gág, 1935.]