This very rare etching was never finished or editioned. Bishop printed a few proofs herself, and in 1985 Stephen Sholinsky printed a few more proofs for catalog purposes. This example is a Sholinsky printing, signed by Bishop.
Isabel Bishop (1902—1988) ranks among the great figures in American art history. Her drawings, prints and paintings are critically acclaimed, and collected at the highest level.
For Bishop, etching was a way of “testing” her drawing ideas, to see if they held up in a more austere medium. If satisfied, she would enlarge the etchings onto panel for further development in the language of painting. Many of her etchings are precise blueprints for multiple, large paintings. (Bishop was dismayed that some contemporary critics heaped attention and praise on her drawings and prints, at the expense of her paintings.)
Some artists print their own work, and some entrust the task to other experts. Bishop printed proofs throughout much of her lifetime, often in tiny quantities. However, many of the plates were not editioned until the 1980s, then by master printer Stephen Sholinsky, whose embossed chop appears at the lower right corner of the sheet.