Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Fine Art Prints, Part 16

Recently, there have been several additional previously unrecorded etchings by Edward Gorey offered for sale (none of the prints shown are in my collection).  The first is another copy of a 1977 Bolster print that was discussed in Fine Art Prints, Part 15 (Nov 1, 2017). The previously shown impression had notations in Mr. Gorey's hand stating that it was overexposed, resulting in an image that was dark with thick linework. This impression rectifies the darkness and the image appears to have come into focus.
The second print shows a couple in agitated conversation near a large urn and a spindle table with a figurine on it. The plate for this print appears to have been underexposed, leaving the details indistinct.
The next image shows a figure holding an extremely long candle against a flowing, theatrical backdrop. The overall darkness of this print works to its advantage, giving the piece a moody, nighttime appearance.

The last image is probably the best realized of the grouping, with a woman offering a treat to a long eared dog that has been stuffed into an urn, while the sun observes the scene from behind a passing cloud.

None of these images were put into production, and plates no longer appear to exist. On viewing these prints as a group, it becomes clear that they represent early trials that were abandoned by Edward Gorey in favor of other images. These pieces were most likely created during the printmaking courses that Mr. Gorey attended at the local community college. It is instructive to see some of the perceived failures, and the group provides insight into Mr. Gorey's hands-on approach to his printmaking endeavors.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

TV Guide Illustration

Over the years, Edward Gorey was commissioned to create many illustrations for TV Guide. His illustrations for the magazine were usually in color, and often added a humorous touch to the articles they accompanied. These ephemeral pieces usually make only one appearance in print, and then are forgotten until someone runs across them years later when leafing through back issues of the magazine. This article, published in the July 12, 1990 issue, discusses the perils of being a TV obituary writer when caught unawares by the sudden death of public figure. Even though the drawing can never really be seen properly because it bridges the spine, it remains a delightful image.

Monday, February 19, 2018

A New Book

The Edward Gorey exhibition Gorey's Worlds at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is on display February 10 - March 6, 2018. Long after this interesting exhibition closes, the accompanying book Gorey's Worlds (Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, in association with Princeton University Press, 160 pages, 2018) by curator Erin Monroe will be a vital reference for those interested in Mr. Gorey's works.

The lavishly illustrated volume focus on the portion of Edward Gorey's personal art collection which the artist bequeathed to the Wadsworth upon his passing in April 2000.  The gift of 73 paintings, prints, and drawings provides unique insight into the art that excited and inspired Mr. Gorey daily. Supplementing the gifted works are works by Mr. Gorey himself. Visual and contextual comparisons are made in the volume's four essays by various contributors, each of which highlights a different aspect of the exhibition.

Gorey's Worlds can be ordered from the Wadsworth HERE.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Worsted Monster

The Worsted Monster is an enigmatic work, or works, by Edward Gorey. Begun in the 1950's and never published (or completed?), the first incarnation of The Worsted Monster is a self proclaimed Medieval Tale that features a cast of male characters and one large dragon, presumably the monster itself. A completely revised tale which shares the same title appeared in the June 1975 issue of National Lampoon Magazine as a toy theater, complete with sets, Dramatis Personae, and a libretto (see my post from August 136, 2013).

Several pieces of artwork from the 1950's version were displayed at The Edward Gorey House in 2016 as part of their Artifacts from the Archives exhibit. This exhibit reunited interior drawings from this book that remain in the Gorey archives with this dust wrapper design that was borrowed from a private collection. The dust wrapper artwork is now in my collection.

An interesting characteristic of this piece of art is that the title was reworked by Edward Gorey and a changed version was pasted over the original title. When I acquired the piece, the seventy year old glue used on the paste-up had dried out and the title was in danger of becoming detached from the surface of the artwork. As part of my conservation of the piece, I gently removed the paste-up which revealed the original title drawing. After documenting the original version, the revised title has been repositioned using archival materials.

Surprisingly, there are only slight variations between the two titles. The original version uses more color and the hand lettered type on the scroll is less formal. The angle of the scroll has also been altered slightly in the new version. This is a clear example of Edward Gorey's attention to balance and detail in his art. The newer, more monochromatic title gives more emphasis to the colorful gentleman and dragon. The cover of the book, as shown in the cropped photo above, has a pleasing composition. Presumably, had this title been published, Mr. Gorey would have also hand lettered the title for the spine of the book and added that to the center of the drawing. It is also worth noting that this would have been a very large book if published life sized to the artwork since the cover would have been 11 1/2" tall.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Gorey Biography

The new biography of Edward Gorey by author Mark Dery has its cover. Watch for this upcoming publication to arrive in Fall 2018.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Gorey Exhibition

Need ta break from your winter dull drums? Refresh yourself with a visit to the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut and take in their exhibition, Gorey's Worlds. The exhibition, which opens on February 10 and continues through May 6, will showcase artwork that inspired Edward Gorey and informed his personal work.

After Edward Gorey passed away in 2000, the Wadsworth received a legacy from the artist of 73 art pieces that he collected and lived with in his Cape Cod home. The prints, photographs, and drawings range in date from the 19th century to the 1980's. The exhibition will give viewers an extraordinary insight into the artwork that inspired Mr. Gorey and that he viewed daily in his home. This is the first time since their donation that the pieces are being exhibited.

Also included in the exhibition will be original art by Edward Gorey that has been culled from the Gorey Archives and several collectors.

The core exhibition will travel to the Tacoma Art Museum from June 23 - September 30, 2018. A catalog of the exhibition will be forthcoming. For more information on the Wadsworth, the exhibition, and related programming at the museum go HERE.

Artwork shown above: Haunted America by Edward Gorey: watercolor, pen & ink 1990. The Woman and the Bear by Edvard Munch, lithograph 1908-9. Passageway by Eugene Atget, gelatin silver print, N.d..

Monday, January 8, 2018

I is for Influence

Author Sue Grafton, an author of a detective novels, passed away on December 28th at the age of 77. Her detective series had an alphabetical theme, beginning with A is for Alibi published in 1982, and continued through her final novel Y is for Yesterday published in 2017. Ms. Grafton had intended to end the series with Z is for Zero but had not begun writing the book at the time of her death.

According to her New York Times obituary, Ms. Grafton credited Edward Gorey's 1963 work The Gashlycrumb Tinies as her inspiration for the alphabetical structure of the series:

“I was smitten with all those little Victorian children being dispatched in various ways,” she told The New York Times in 2015. “ ‘A is for Amy who fell down the stairs; B is for Basil assaulted by bears; C is for Clara who wasted away; D is for Desmond thrown out of a sleigh.’ Edward Gorey was deliciously bent.”

I is for inspiration!