March 27, 2015

Aerial View

        Today’s cool wood block print is an aerial view of Amsterdam.  I don’t know either Amsterdam or the artist well enough to know the vantage point from which this view was taken.  Is it the view from some extremely tall steeple?  Or from an airplane, which in 1935 would be quite an adventuresome artist, I would think.  Or is it constructed in the artist’s imagination based on views from a lower vantage point?  At any rate, I like it a lot.  It has the quality that aerial views often have, of being simultaneously detailed and realistic yet revealing the almost abstract shapes and lines of the landscape.
        The artist Arthur Bridgman Clark (USA, 1866-1948) was an architect, who ended up a professor of art as well as architecture.  After retiring from teaching he travelled in Europe, where he made the sketches for this wood engraving and others.  I think it’s easy to see that this piece was made by someone with an interest in architecture, city planning, and perspective - all of which topics Clark wrote books about.

[Picture: Amsterdam, Holland, wood engraving by Arthur Bridgman Clark, 1935 (Image from Annex Galleries).]

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