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Wednesday … Women, Picasso and Charles White

June 11, 2014

I spend a lot of time looking at the print works of other artists; a bittersweet exercise because I know I will never be able to achieve such lofty heights.

Nonetheless just looking is often just enough not only for inspiration but to consider the stories behind the picture.

These three lino cuts are favourites of mine I gaze at the graphic power of every cut.  

Picasso’s (1955) depicts his second wife and muse, Jacqueline Roque.  Elizabeth Catlett (1952) portrays an anonymous sharecropper and champions the strength and dignity of working people.  Catlett learned printing at El Taller de Grafica Popular, a workshop in Mexico City that sought to continue Mexico’s strong historical tradition of socially and politically engaged printmaking.  

The other Solid as a rock (my god is rock) is by Charles White. After being discharged from the army in 1944 he spent two years  in Mexico with his then wife Elizabeth Catlett studying at the same workshop. The El Taller de Grafica Popular promoted the use of lino for its democratic qualities,the medium was (so they say) relatively easy to learn and execute and didn’t require expensive materials and withstood the production of large editions.  

White moved by other notable students such as Leopoldo Mendez and Jose-Guadalupe Posada, became very skilled at lino cut with works like this one displaying ‘a sculptural solidarity and compositional dynamism’ due to the artist’s vibrant line-work.


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