Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Wim Zwiers (Holland, b 1922)

A post about the Dutch graphic artist, Wim Zwiers, by way of thanks to Gerbrand Caspers for help and support. Gerbrand's blog The Linosaurus is a lively and likeable addition to the 'Raiders of the Lost Print' genre. I was pleased to be able to tip him off about Adolf Kunst (1882 - 1937) because he found (and bought) a bookplate by AK with an alacrity that impressed me no end. I am almost as pleased to say that it wasn't the colour woodcut below. This one belongs to me (and no doubt to many others).

Kunst's rough and ready approach to woodcutting isn't Zwier's style. Zwiers is one of those few artists who have mastered both intalgio and relief methods of printmaking. Emil Orlik is another one that comes to mind. Both men's skills led to teaching careers - Zwiers between 1946 and 1974, I believe. On the international scene, he's best known for his ex libris, both as a copper-engraver and a wood-engraver but he has also painted, sculpted and done work in glass.

I suppose it's the private nature of the commissions involved that explain just why so many bookplates are erotic, one way or another. These two blow-ups don't really do the vigour of one nor the delicacy of the other that much justice; they are finer in reality. But small.

Unlike British ex libris, many Europeans ones have been signed since the early C20th and many are now in numbered editions. This does guard against unscrupulous practice -I mean the photocopying of monochrome prints, in particular.


  1. I like your miniature print too Charles. And I am not really into bookplates or ex libris' but kind of like the very straightforward and humorous Zwiers. Develish small format. Didn't notice him before so: thanks !

  2. I was lucky enough to be given two bookplates once by people who commissioned them from good artists so I've bought a few on ebay too. Every collection should have a few.

    Gerrie, I'm offline at home right now. Technical problems. Hence the radio silence.