John Taylor Arms Biography

John Taylor Arms

American

1887-1953

Biography

John Tayler Arms was born on April 19, 1887 in Washington D.C., and studied law at Princeton University and then transferred to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study architecture, earning a masters degrees in 1912. For five years after his graduation, he worked for Carrere and Hastings, an architectural firm and then became a partner in another firm named Clark and Adams.

In 1913, he made his first etching and by 1927 began exhibiting his architectural etchings at the National Arts Club and the Salmagundi Club in New York. He also worked in aquatint and drypoint and often combined the three methods. In addition to medieval architecture, he etched scenes of Maine and a series of American cities.

Arms became one of the most famous printmakers of the early 20th century. He was known for his medieval architectural etchings that combined precise realism with a sense of soaring spirituality. He believed that Gothic architecture was man's greatest achievement, uniting spiritual and aesthetic values, and was best known for his renderings of gargoyles and European churches. He was remarkably prolific, considering that he worked slowly and deliberately and spent much time traveling, writing, and lecturing.

He was a member of principal art organizations including the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and he wrote several books on prints and printmaking including "Handbook on Printmaking and Printmakers."

Arms etched 429 prints before his death at age 66. John Taylor Arms died on October 15, 1953.