I came across this series of woodcut illustrations of Benjamin Franklin’s life, so I thought I’d share them. Charles Turzak (USA 1899-1985) began as a woodcarver, but eventually went to art school, worked for the WPA, and became famous for images of Chicago and woodcut histories, including a biography of Franklin. I think these wood block prints are notable for their large proportion of black. It tends to make them look quite dramatic, which is especially fitting for the scenes of storm and discovery. I find the sky especially interesting in the view of Franklin’s birthplace - half the sky is black and half white, based purely on artistic composition, rather than corresponding with anything in the real world. It balances the white and black walls of the house and makes a better picture than either an all-white sky or an all-black sky.
Benjamin Franklin would be 308 years old today, and he’s still going strong!
[Pictures: Key Experiment, woodcut by Charles Turzak;
Experimenting with Electricity, woodcut by C. Turzak;
The Young Printers Apprentice, woodcut by C. Turzak;
Birth Place - B. Franklin, woodcut by C. Turzak, all from Benjamin Franklin: A Biography in Woodcuts, 1935. (Images from live auctioneers.)]