Henry Wolf Biography

Henry Wolf




Henry Wolf, born in Eckwersheim, Alsace, France in 1852, was the premier wood engraver working in America from the late 1800's through his death in 1916. He studied with J. Levy in Strasbourg, and came to New York in 1871, after exhibiting throughout Europe, Paris in particular.

He primarily copied the "greats" for publication in the three most popular literary magazines of the time, ³Century Magazine², ³Harper's Monthly² and ³Scribner's Magazine². The American artists he presented for public consumption included John Singer Sargent, Gilbert Stuart and Frank Weston Benson, the Europeans included Jan Vermeer, Edouard Manet and Jean Leon Gerome.

In the book The Life & Work of Henry Wolf by Ralph Clifton Smith, there is a quote from a letter received by Mr. Wolf in 1905 from W. Lewis Fraser, for many years connected with the art department of the Century Magazine, referring to Gerome, "'Many thanks for your letter. Gerome's expression as he looked at the proofs of your engravings of his paintings was 'they are beautiful, Mr. Wolf knew better than my brushes what I wanted to do.'"  He began publishing original works of his own design, beginning in 1896 with Evening Star.  He worked until his unexpected death in 1916, at the age of 64.

One of the last great "New School" of American reproductive wood engravers, Henry Wolf won the only Grand Prize in printmaking at the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, where he exhibited 144 woodengravings.  Wolf died in New York in 1916.