Figura was one of the leading Austrian printmakers of the early 20th century who specialized in color etchings of European and North American scenes. He was influenced by Luigi Kasimir (1881–1962), pioneer of this difficult process.
We had the good fortune of finding this print– and the three original zinc plates from which it was printed– at separate auctions. The plates were accompanied by several sheets of notes and diagrams which help in understanding some aspects of the planning and execution of the print.
First, a bit of speculation: Let’s assume that Figura made photographs and sketches of this approximate scene during his 1930 trip to Holland, France, and Switzerland. It is unlikely that such a beautifully composed arrangement appeared ready-made before his eyes. More likely, he saw these elements in near proximity, and brought them together in on-the-spot sketches, or, later, in studio drawings. His on-the-spot sketches might have been in pencil with color notations, or he might have worked directly with color. There would have been one highly finished color drawing prior to making the plates. Gouache or pastel would have served the purpose better than watercolor or oil paint. We know that Luigi Kasimir made his final studies with pastel, so let’s suppose Figura did likewise.
Next came the strategic decisions that would place different bits of information on each of the three zinc plates.
Here is plate #1. The grey shapes are aquatint biting, which means that they have a fine, even, pitted texture to hold ink. The gold areas are smooth, and meant to be free of ink. (The actual plates appear more evenly grey than these photos, which were manipulated to help us see the different surfaces.)
Do you see that rougher texture of streaking just above/right of center? That was made with a roulette, a tiny, hard steel wheel that can roll rows of lines into the softer zinc.
The first impressions were printed by ??? Pfeifer on December 29, 1930. Franz Schönikle did the April 9, 1933 printing. Alois Schönikle (father, brother or son?) did several of the subsequent printings.
The final recorded printing of 11 impressions was done on November 5, 1957.
We are delighted to announce the arrival of more than 100 etchings of birds, fish, trees, mushrooms, landscapes and bar-dwellers by Ladislav Hanka. These will appear in our two Harrisburg shops and on this website over the coming days and weeks. (If you can’t wait, you can see more than 30 of ladislav’s bird etchings even now at our Midtown Scholar shop.)
We’ll have lots more to say about this extrordinary artist, and lots more of his work to show.
Robinson’s Fine Prints, our walk-in store in Harrisburg, is showing relief prints by picture book illustrator Jonathan Bean. Both old and new, the work reveals the important role printmaking plays in Jonathan’s practice of illustration. Please join us for the opening on Friday, March 18, starting at 6 PM!
We have been representing Jonathan’s print work since our opening in 2012. Now Robinson’s will be his primary gallery, and RobinPrints.com the one source for his prints online.
The woodblock print you see on Jonathan’s exhibition poster is cover image for the March issue of Cricket magazine.
Coming up fast— two exciting workshops by our friends Rosalyn Richards and Evan Summer at the Printmaking Center of New Jersey
Raw Material for New Ideas: Mixed Media Printing with Rosalyn Richards
Tuesday, October 20, 10am – 4pm
M: $150, NM: $165, Materials: $30
This workshop explores using existing plates and blocks as the raw material for new prints. A variety of approaches will be covered such as incorporating relief, intaglio, monoprint, collage, stencils, cut paper plates, multiple plate printing, and photocopy transfer. There will also be instruction on methods of breaking out of the traditional rectangle to create shaped images. We will use printed material as collage elements in the creation of unique, non-editioned works on paper. The class is appropriate for all levels of skill and experience.
Deadline to sign up is Oct 6th
Collagraph Making with Evan Summer
2 Saturdays, October 24 and October 31,
M: $365, NM: $380, Materials: $40
This course will focus on the building and printing of richly detailed collagraph plates. Students will experiment with materials such as matboard, fabrics, adhesives and polymer coatings – all materials that can be easily used at home. Methods of intaglio and relief printing will also be discussed in their relation to collagraphs. By the end of the class participants will have all the knowledge to produce plates without assistance. No prior experience is necessary!
Deadline to sign up is Oct 9th
For more information on these and other splendid workshop offerings: