Luigi Rist Biography

Luigi Rist

American

1888-1959

Biography

Lous G. "Luigi" Rist was born in 1888 in Newark, New Jersey, where he attended the Newark Technical School. To earn extra income in his early twenties he etched art nouveau designs on silver fountain pen cases, and in the early 1920s he commuted to the Grand Central School of Art in New York. It was here that he met Sigurd Skow, who taught painting, and Theodore “Ted” Braithwaite, an artist who later worked for the Christian Science Monitor. It was also at this school that he made his first block print.

In the early 1930s Rist first saw Japanese woodblocks, at an exhibition in New York that he attended with his friend and mentor Morris Blackburn. Rist was fascinated with the work of Arthur Dow and began teaching himself the process, developing the style which he would later become known for. His marriage to Ida Rist in 1937 proved to be the change that would allow him to become successful, as Ida supported the household financially and encouraged Rist to fully delve into a professional artistic career.

In a time when black-and-white was the ruling printmaking style, Rist was fortunate to be introduced to the American Color Print Society, at whose exhibition he won first prize in 1941 for Sunflowers in the event's second year. He continued to create in his unique style, with simple yet bold images, year after year until the Rists purchased a farm in Vermont. The demands of daily maintenance slowed his drive to create art, and he produced on average about one print per year. Rist died in 1959 in Pennsylvania, where he was still working on the woodcuts that had fascinated him for thirty years.

Luigi Rist died on November 4, 1959 in Pennsylvania