Friday, February 11, 2011

Meet Lynd Ward

 This is what I got for Christmas.  A boxed set of Lynd Ward's painstakingly made woodcut graphic novels (6 in total), without words, and published first in the 1920s to 1940s.  We saw his art for the first time at the James Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania in their great Graphic Art show (which we visited twice, it was that great).  His stories and art connect back in time to medieval church paintings telling bible stories for illiterate farmers, to revolutionary imagery such as Diego Rivera's and Japanese woodcuts.  Imaging making a story without any words, just pictures, and each picture has two colors, black and white, and has to be 'drawn' in reverse on woodblock, line by line, for later printing by hand.  He didn't make it easy for himself, but he sure did great art and literature.  His book God's Man is about an artist that leaves America for another country and tries to make a living, fails, and then sells his soul to the devil (marketing? commercialism?), finds the true love of his life, runs off with her to a foreign coutnry, but eventually his debtors catches up with him and meter out the punishment for not paying his debt.  A millenia old story, and still valid today.  There is a great foreword for this set of books by Spiegelman.
I wonder if those two flowers are gentians?  They could be!

It turns out that some of the woodblocks for his novels are here in New Jersey at Rutgers Universities Libraries, what a coincidence.

You can read more about God's Man here.

(Thanks PP for a wonderful Christmas gift) 

1 comment:

EH said...

Absolutely amazing wood cuts. Congrats to a superb Christmas gift!