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January 14, 1962 - Image 16

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1962-01-14
This is a tabloid page

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Gallery of Woodcuts: New Use of an, Old


WOODCUTS, such as those illustrating
these pages, represent the oldest of
the graphic techniques. There has been
much quibbling about its origin, al-
though it is known that the Chinese were
making woodcuts as early as the 4th
century. The Western world seems to
have been more influenced, however, by
the woodblocks of Germany, which were
first produced in the early 14th- century.
The "grandaddy" of the woodcut is
Albrecht Durer, who was the recognized
leader in the field for 36 years until his
death in 1528. Another important figure
in developing the wood block was Wil-
liam Blake, who was innovating and col-
lecting unfavorable criticism concerning
his work in the 1880's. Although he
completed few blocks, the quality was
so outstanding that his work was in-
strumental in furthering the medium.
In the 20th century the German Ex-
pressionists have given a tremendous
boost to "the woodcut. They came to it

with an almost demonic vision. They
hacked and tore at the wood, producing
a fresh, startling effect which today
serves as the threshold for artists and
amateurs alike.
Fashioning a woodcut is quite simple.
Essentially all that is required are a
block of wood (soft pine works well) and
some gravers or cutting tools.
The artist may either approach the
block as though it were a piece of paper
and start "sketching," or else, he may
have a carefully worked-out drawing al-
ready on the block. As soon as the block
is cut, it is inked with a brayer or roller.
The ink is spread uniformly on the
block, and then a piece of rice paper is
carefully placed flush on the surface. At
this point the print is placed in a press
-or rubbed furiously by the artist with
the back of a spoon. When the ink is
sufficiently absorbed and transferred
into the' paper, the print is peeled gently
away and the final image (now reversed)

Woodcuts and Story by Barbara Cohen

He Judges

Man at Table

Dancing Women


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