Beggar’s Opera by Wendell H. Black

Beggar’s Opera by Wendell H. Black

Beggar’s Opera

Wendell H. Black

Title

Beggar’s Opera

 
Artist
Year
1951  
Technique
drypoint from a copper plate 
Image Size
20 1/8 x 25 15/16" platemark 
Signature
pencil signed by artist's widow "Wendell H. Black 51 by Elaine" 
Edition Size
artist proof; edition of 25 printed 1987-89. 
Annotations
pencil editioned and annotated "Wendell H. Black '51 by Elaine" (the artist's widow). 
Reference
 
Paper
heavy, cream wove 
State
printed posthumously 
Publisher
the artist's widow, Elaine Black 
Inventory ID
15146 
Price
Price On Request 
Description

Wendell H. Black was one of Mauricio Lasansky's first six students at the University of Iowa, where he went on to get his BFA in 1947 and MFA in 1949. Like many Iowa students he was encouraged to think large. His early prints often included self portraits, another thing Lasansky practiced in his own work.

Black, like other printmakers from the late 1940s, often just printed a couple of proofs, numbering them from throughout the edition (i.e. three proofs numbered 4/25, 18/25 and 24/25) and put the plate away. The idea was that if these sold the other unassigned numbers could be printed later.

After Black's premature death from a heart attack at age 52 his widow Elaine signed proofs from the studio that the artist had not signed. Black's protege, printer Berkley Chappell finished editions as well as printing 30 unprinted plates for the family between 1987 and 1989.

"Beggar's Opera" was one of five prints selected by Irene Lagorio director (1951-1956) of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts in San Francisco to be included in a 1954 exhibition at the Achenbach, titled 'New Directions in Intaglio.'

The light lines in this engraving were accomplished by use of a Sellers hand made burin from England, a model 0000, "quadruple-ought", a burin that looks like a straightened bobby-pin.