Pair of Color Prints of the Upper East Side
Woldemar Neufeld, c. 1947-49
Gracie Square

Gracie Square

Houses on East End Avenue

Houses on East End Avenue

Gracie Square

Gracie Square detail

Houses on East End Avenue

Houses on East End Avenue detail

Gracie Square

Gracie Square full sheet

Houses on East End Avenue

Houses on East End Avenue full sheet

Woldemar Neufeld (1909-2002)
Gracie Square
Houses on East End Ave.
American: c. 1947-49
Color-printed linocuts
Signed, titled and numbered in pencil, initialed in the block
Gracie Square (c. 1947, ed. 19/50): 11.5 x 16.25 inches
Houses on East End Ave. (c. 1949, ed. 29/50): 10.5 x 15.5 inches
$1,750, the pair

Two color linocut prints of everyday life on New York City's Upper East Side in the late 1940s. Houses on East End Ave. shows three-story townhomes with a skyscraper in the background and pedestrians on the sidewalk including a woman walking her dog, another pushing a baby carriage, a man sweeping and another with a package under his arm. Gracie Square takes in a view of the park and playground from an elevated vantage point with tugboats and barges on the East River in the background. Both prints are done with bold black and gray outlines and areas of flat color to create a vibrant and appealing document of city life. Other examples of these prints are listed in American Prints in the Library of Congress: A Catalog of the Collection (1970).

Woldemar Neufeld was painter, watercolorist, printmaker and kinetic sculptor who spent most of his early life in Canada, and his adult life in the U.S. He was born in Russia to a family of German Mennonite descent, which emigrated to Canada in 1924. Neufeld studied art at Waterloo College, now Wilfrid Laurier University, and continued his training in Cleveland at the Art Institute of Cleveland and at Case Western Reserve University, spending a decade in that city. He moved to the Upper East Side of New York City in 1945, where he recorded his impressions of the East River waterfront in oils, watercolor and block prints and served as art director of the East River Artists from 1948 to 1975. In 1949, he purchased a farm in New Milford, Connecticut, where he was based for the rest of his life, though he maintained a New York studio until 1980. In New Milford he opened a studio, gallery and -- until 1965 -- a summer art school, and focused his own artistic efforts on landscape painting inspired by the Housatonic River Valley countryside. Neufeld's works remain popular in the Toronto area where he spent his early years, and are in numerous museum collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Cleveland Museum of Art. The largest collection of his work -- some 400 pieces -- belongs to the Wilfred Laurier University Permanent Art Collection. It has produced a catalog of his paintings and block prints, Woldemar Neufeld’s Canada: A Mennonite Artist in the Canadian Landscape 1925-1995 (2002).

Condition: Original colors bright. Professionally cleaned, with very faint toning from former mat and light staining in top margin from former hinging with tape; margins nonetheless ample and these can be matted out.

References:

Beall, Karen F. American Prints in the Library of Congress: A Catalog of the Collection. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1970. p. 320.

"Gracie Square." Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2003672462/ (22 September 2011).

"Houses on East End Avenue." Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2003672463/ (22 September 2011).

"Woldemar Neufeld." Wilfrid Laurier University, Robert Langen Art Gallery, Collections. 2011. http://www.wlu.ca/page.php?grp_id=12554&p=18143 (22 September 2011).

"Woldemar Neufeld 1909-2002." Housatonic Valley Association. http://www.hvatoday.org/show.cfm?page=events/neufeldbio.htm&folder=events (22 September 2011).

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