D. N. Alexandroff
Flowers in a Grecian Black-Figured Vase
Alexandroff Flowers
Alexandroff Flowers Alexandroff Flowers Alexandroff Flowers Alexandroff Flowers
D.N. Alexandroff
Flowers in a Grecian Black-Figured Vase
American, c. 1930s-1940s
Signed "D. Alexandroff" beneath monogram lower left
Hand-colored engraving
15 x 12.25 inches, platemark
17 x 14 inches, overall
$550
Alexandroff Flowers

Precise engraved still life of a Grecian black-figured vase filled with an arrangement of flowers in shades of white, pink, yellow and red, with green foliage.  The engraving is carefully hand-colored to produce the effect of an original painting.  The artist signed it below a hand-painted monogram.  He also added a small pen-and-ink watercolor of a sprig of yellow flowers below the engraved line.   

D.N. Alexandroff worked in New York City.  Extant studies of furniture and decorative arts by Alexandroff are thought to be illustrations for the Index of American Design.  His background in illustrating objects is evident in the detailed rendition of the vase design in the offered work. 

The Index was a vast pictorial archive of Americana produced between 1935 and 1942 as a project administered by the Works Progress Administration (WPA).  The illustrators trained under Suzanne E. Chapman, an illustrator for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, who taught them a rendering style of thin layers of watercolor over precise graphite drawings, traditionally used in archaeology and natural history illustration. The massive collection comprised some 18,000 watercolor renderings of a wide range of American decorative arts, including furniture, weather vanes, toys, quilts, cigar-store Indians, ceramics, and ships' carvings.  They were originally intended for publication in a series of portfolios.  Although publication never occurred, the Index remains the most comprehensive study of American folk, popular, and decorative arts ever made, and is now mostly in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, which exhibited some of the paintings in 2003.

Condition: Generally good with the usual overall light toning, wear, soiling.  Some mild matburn not obtrusive.  Glue residue from former mounting in outer margins, can be matted out, and glue residue on verso.

Reference:

Clayton, Virginia Tuttle. “The Index of American Design: picturing a national identity.”  Magazine Antiques.  Dec, 2002.  Online at Find Articles.com. http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1026/is_6_162/ai_94773917 (8 September 2005).