Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The mid-week round-up on ebay

Yes, I know it's only Wednesday but Clive (who will be well-known to many readers for The Blog That Vanished - I mean, of course, Art and the Aesthete,) tipped me off about a number of colour prints up for sale on US ebay and here are some of them. I post them now just in case anyone has some spare cash and wants a Walter Phillips, because Sunday coming would almost certainly be too late.

Now, Phillips was without doubt an excellent printmaker and Above Lake Louise even appeals to me. It comes in its original folder with a foreward by the artist, as sold by the Woodcut Society in 1945. This society was nothing of the sort. It was set up by a mid-western businessman in the thirties to sell unique prints mainly by US artists and, as I say, this one comes with an introduction by the man himself written in the way that only he knew how. He manages to position himself somewhere between aesthete and backwoodsman but behind the imaginative persona is someone who knew what he was talking about and what he has to say about the nature of a colour woodcut as a print rings true.

Four more days to go and it currently stands at $255. It won't stay there much longer. I should also add that the image I show here is not the one for sale. Here Phillips has tried (so far as a pc monitor will let me tell) to express the conditons he worked in as he sketched. There is a sense of spontaneity here, not something you would normally associate with colour woodcut. Unless, of course, it is the work of Phillips' old friend, Allen Seaby.


This image of The lady in black by Arthur Rigden Read  is also not the one for sale. The one that is up for auction has toning as the trade like to say. It's an anodyne term for a nasty phenomenon, an overall browning that has affected at least one other Read I know of - my own. Because toning is usually even, I suppose it's not so bad. Even so, condition is everything for works on paper and personally I don't think anyone should consider bidding a $300 for this, certainly not if they have read Phillips' introduction to his own print where he compares colour woodcut to fresco.


Bringing up the rear is the hapless Ernest Watson with one of those linocuts that display considerable energy to no great purpose. The cove could be one of those prints showing Cornish scenes. I posted his image of Mousehole on the colour woodcut tour of Cornwall. Probably readers will realise that whatever I say, I wouldn't bother posting any of these prints if I didn't have some kind of regard for the artist. Watson's boldness I can't help but like and admire. Whether it's $100 + worth of boldness, I wouldn't like to say. It currently comes with those infamous red letters reserve not met. I wonder what that reserve could be.

Many thanks to Clive. For all those who miss his blog, he is still out there, informative and inquisitive as ever.


  1. Please explain hapless Ernest Watson. I agree with you this is probably his most hapless print.

  2. The skill seems to have been there but so often it somehow came out wrong.

  3. I have that that Watson 15/100 want to buy it?