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Tree, Manhattan by Martin Lewis

Tree, Manhattan by Martin Lewis

Harris Schrank Fine Prints (IFPDA)



Edition Size: 91

Sheet Size: 16 1/4 x 13 1/4 cm

Reference: McCarron 87


Condition: Pristine

Details — Click to read

Martin Lewis (1881-1962), Tree, Manhattan, drypoint, 1930, signed in pencil lower right [also signed in the plate lower left]. Reference: McCarron 87, only state; 91 recorded impressions including 10 trial proofs; intended edition 100. In excellent condition, with full margins, 12 5/8 x 9 3/4, the sheet 16 1/4 x 13 1/4 inches.

Provenance: Henri Petiet (cf. Lugt 2021a, his stamp on verso)

A very fine fresh impression, printed in black ink on a cream laid paper.

Tree, Manhattan is a tour de force print demonstrating Lewis’s mastery of drypoint. Hues range from the rich black of the figures in the lower left to the near-white of the fire and the windows in the buildings in the background. The sky is a variegated pattern of intricate cross-hatchings, so it is always alive; a searchlight cuts through the sky toward the left. The great tree is bare, its branches filling the sky; somehow clotheslines have been attached to high reaches of its trunk, thereby tying the tree to its Manhattan empty lot setting.

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The Artist

Martin Lewis

Martin Lewis was born in Australia and came to America in 1900. He worked for a time in San Francisco painting stage decorations and came to New York in 1909. He was working first as an illustrator and made his first etching in 1915. He traveled to Japan where he lived and worked for a couple of years. He then returned to New York and his printmaking really came into its own. He was a technical magician with a great understanding of composition and a remarkable ability to draw on the plate. From 1944-1952 Lewis taught a graphic arts course at the Art Students League. He was friends with Edward Hopper and Hopper sought out his advice on making prints. According to the McCarron raisonné , Lewis editioned 147 prints between 1915 and 1953.

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