Here’s another artist I can’t find much about, but whose work pleases me greatly. (Yet more confirmation that good art and art world fame are not synonymous.) What I can discover about Jim Edd Spencer (c. 1905-1944) is that he was from Kansas City , and his primary work consisted of linoleum block prints of Kansas City and Independence, Missouri. The Kansas City Public Library apparently has a collection of his work, but it isn’t digitized for me to look at on-line, much to my disappointment. The few pieces of his that I did come across I like very much.
Here are two pieces from a series on granaries that apparently had at least 11 prints. I like the mix of black and white and texture; I like the swooping lines of the sky behind the straighter lines of the architecture; I like the mix of black outlines and white outlines; I like the slightly whimsical quality to the shapes that I’d expect to be stark and severe.
You can see that Spencer fits into that Depression-era style in which so many artists created block prints between the two world wars, but Jim Edd Spencer definitely has his own, charming style to contribute and I wish more of his work were in the public eye. Perhaps he never made very much -- after all, he died pretty young. Still, he’s another artist who deserves more appreciation.
[Pictures: Granary 1, linoleum cut by Jim Edd Spencer, 1934;
Granary 2. linoleum cut by Spencer, 1934 (Images from 1718 Holly Street).]