May 19, 2017

Block Printmakers Zorach

        To end the A-Z Challenge with a bang, I have for you today a Two-for-the-Price-of-One deal.  William and Marguerite Zorach were an art power couple who were among the first artists to introduce cubism, fauvism, and European modernist styles into American modernism.  William (Lithuania/USA, 1887-1966) was actually given Zorach as his first name at birth, but it was changed when he went to school in the USA.  He and Marguerite (USA, 1887-1968) adopted Zorach as their family name when they married in 1912.
        Neither was primarily a printmaker, although William Z did somewhat more, but I have selected a couple of pieces from each of them.  You can see that they share a style.  Compare these first two pieces, one by each of them, yet with the same white on black, the same breaking up of the nude bodies into defined areas of musculature, the same tipped narrow oval heads, and even the same circle-within-a-diamond shape in the upper center.  My husband D is not an artist, and I’m fascinated by the idea of what it would be like sharing art so intimately with a life partner.  However, this level of similarity may be sharing a little too much for me!  I think I like a little more personal variation.
        Here’s one by William Z.  I like the way mother and child are embracing, and I like the fish in the stylized water, but what I like best is the view of Provincetown, Massachusetts in the background, with its waterfront houses, mounding trees, and Pilgrim Monument tower on the high ground.  (The tower, which was completed in 1910, was only six years old when William Z printed this image.)  There’s something rather funny going on with the sail, which appears to be transparent except at the very top, but I don’t mind; I think it succeeds in suggesting a sailboat just fine, and I like being able to see the buildings.
        And here’s one by Marguerite Z.  It’s much later than the others, and was made as a Christmas card, so I’m guessing Marguerite Z viewed it as more casual than the “real Art.”  This impression is also imperfectly printed, as you can see on the ziz-zaggy triangle in the middle.  However, I find the leaping deer rather pleasing - what can I say, I do tend to like prints of animals better than people!

        Here’s my only other Z printmaker:
        And thus concludes the 2017 A-Z Challenge!

[Pictures: Provincetown Players, linoleum block print by Marguerite Zorach, c 1915;
Swimmer, metal relief cut by William Zorach, c 1915 (Images from Smithsonian American Art Museum);
Sailing Provincetown, linocut by William Zorach, 1916 (Image from the Cleveland Museum of Art);
Christmas Card, linoleum block print by Marguerite Zorach, 1963 (Image from Phillips Museum of Art).]


A-Z Challenge, all posts for the letter Z

2 comments:

  1. Congratulations on finishing the challenge! I enjoyed your theme and posts. Makes me want to do some prints.

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  2. You should! And if you do, be sure to let me know! =)

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