We have dated the map to 1927 based on a listing of correspondence beginning in 1927 between the map artist, Klitgaard, and the publisher, William Edwin Rudge. This coincides with the year that a review of the map appeared in the magazine The Arts:
We reproduce a map of Greenwich Village by Kaj Klitgaard which was commissioned by The Whitney Studio Club and might be described both a neighborhood map and as a historical record of the Village that is passing before the inevitable march of apartment houses from the north and wholesale business from the south. Unlike so many pictorial maps, Mr. Klitgaard’s map is not too exclusively pictorial, not merely an object of wit and curiosity. The craftsmanship has been compared by an enthusiastic fellow artist of Mr Klitgaard’s to the delicate precision of the Persian miniaturist.
Mr. Klitgaard, who spent a number of years at sea, understands that maps, however ornamental, can also be useful. Consequently one can find one’s way with the aid of Mr. Klitgaard’s map to all the points of interest in the Village, whether it be the Cunard Steamship piers, Wanamaker’s, the Whitney Studio Club or historic points with which great artists have been associated in the past. Many figures of the past are noted on the map — Walt Whitman Alfred Collins and others — and, as if he believed that no map could be complete without a touch of whimsicality, Mr. Klitgaard has exercised his kindly wit upon a number of the artists who are associated with the Village today.
The Whitney Studio Club was founded by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875-1942), an heiress who was also a sculptor and arts patron. Defying expectations for a woman of her era, in 1907 she purchased a building on MacDougal Alley in Greenwich Village and converted it to studios for herself and other artists, adding exhibition galleries the following year. In 1914 she founded the Whitney Studio Club in a nearby townhouse to nurture New York artists through exhibitions and art instruction. By 1931, she had consolidated four buildings into the Whitney Museum of American Art, the first museum exclusively devoted to 20th-century American art, especially non-academic artists. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney was also a successful artist in her own right, including major public sculpture commissions.
Kaj Klitgaard was a Danish-American painter, novelist, author and seaman. He wrote several books in both Danish and English, including the novel The Deep (1941). In 1937 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship to research what would become a study of contemporary American regional landscape painters Through the American Landscape (1941); the University of North Carolina Press reissued that book in 2017. He also illustrated books, some that he authored and some by others, such as The Voyage of the Beagle (1932) about Charles Darwin’s travels. His artwork, writings, and memorabilia are in the Special Collections Research Center of the Syracuse University Libraries.
William Edwin Rudge (1876-1931) was a New York City printer and publisher, known especially for high quality art books. His New York Times obituary stated,”Any account of American printing written during the last twenty years has placed the name of Mr. Rudge in a small group of not more than two or three artist-publishers who devoted themselves largely to limited editions wrought with the greatest care for appreciative purchasers.” Many books published by Rudge incorporated the designs of Bruce Rogers, such as the limited edition of Private Papers of James Boswell From Malahide Castle. Rudge was born in Brooklyn and began working at age 12 in the printing trade, eventually establishing his own publishing firm under the name William Edwin Rudge, Inc. From 1918 on he received numerous medals and top awards in annual printing exhibitions held in New York and Philadelphia. In 1925 the U.S. Secretary of Commerce chose him to represent the printing industry at the International Exposition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Art in Paris. His papers are in the archives of the University of California Santa Barbara.
Condition: Generally very good, recently professionally cleaned and deacidified and backed on mulberry paper with only light remaining toning, handling, wear. Border illustrations a bit faint though mostly due to how they map was printed and issued rather than fading. One short tear in border illustration section lower left, closed as backed, visible but unobtrusive. One minor diagonal crease in border illustration upper right unobtrusive. Margins quite short and slightly irregular from about 1 mm to 5 mm; copyright notice lower left margin © W.E. Rudge which ordinarily would be in lower left blank margin below illustrated margin thus lacking.
Brackett, Carolyn. “Whitney Studio: Haven and Legacy for Early 20th-Century American Art.” National Trust for Historic Preservation. https://savingplaces.org/stories/whitney-studio-haven-legacy-early-20th-century-american-art#.Yfm04y1h3Fw (1 February 2022).
“Kaj Klitgaard Papers.” Syracuse University Libraries.https://library.syr.edu/digital/guides/k/klitgaard_k.htm (28 January 2022).
Watson, Forbes. “Exhibitions in New York: A New Map.” The Arts. Vol 12, No. 6. December 1927. p. 327. Online at Google Books: https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Arts/J_VGAQAAIAAJ (28 January 2022).
“William E. Rudge, Art Printer, Dies.” New York Times. 13 June 1931. p. 10. https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1931/06/13/97855309.html?pageNumber=10 (28 January 2022).