Pressed in Time American Prints 1905–1950
Authors: Jessica Todd Smith, Kevin Murphy
Publisher/Date: Huntington Library (c. 2007) Published in conjunction with the exhibition.
Format/Condition: New paperback book with French flaps in Fine condition. 88 pages, glossary, checklist. Dimensions: 9.9 x 9.75 inches. Profusely illustrated in duo-tones and some color.
Description: This book chronicles the development of printmaking in America through the first half of the twentieth century. During this period of dramatic social and cultural change, printmaking served artists as a cost-effective means of communicating their observations and ideas. Woodcuts, etchings, and lithographs—many illustrated here—by artists such as Thomas Hart Benton, Childe Hassam, Edward Hopper, John Sloan, and Grant Wood addressed a variety of themes, including urbanization, small-town life, the Great Depression, the California landscape, and the two World Wars.
The skyscraper, for instance, became a prime subject, admired for its roots in American architecture as well as its associations with national power. Prints frequently portrayed the city's inhabitants, often in crowded spaces where the distinctions between public and private life might become uncomfortably blurred. Depictions of the Depression of the 1930s suggest pessimism about the prospects for social justice in a capitalistic economy. Other prints demonstrate a heroic conception of industry and an idealized view of life in the nation's agrarian heartland.