Soir de Fete - Italie by Herman Webster

Soir de Fete - Italie by Herman Webster

Soir de Fete - Italie

Herman Webster

Title

Soir de Fete - Italie

 
Artist

Herman Webster

  1878 - 1970 (biography)
Year
1928  
Technique
etching on a gray-green paper 
Image Size
6 3/16 x 7 1/2" platemark 
Signature
pencil, lower center right 
Edition Size
proof, aside from the published edition of 42 
Annotations
titled in unknown hand in lower left 
Reference
SAAM 1973.124.122; Chicago Society of Etchers / Art Institute of Chicago 1929 exhibition catalog #275 
Paper
gray-green laid 
State
published 
Publisher
 
Inventory ID
21294 
Price
$400.00 
Description

This image won The Mrs. Henry F. Noyes Prize of $50. for the best print in the exhibition, No. 327, by Herman A Webster, "Soir de Fête, Italie" at the 14th Brooklyn Society of Etchers: Annual Exhibition, December 31, 1930.

Among the influences on Herman Webster’s art was the Whistlerian school artists, and in “Soir de Fete - Italie,” the classic signs of Whistler appear in the atmospheric nocturnal scene taking place in an old Italian neighborhood. The light cast on what appears to be a fortified stone wall emanates from an unknown source, to which revelers are drawn, like moths. The shadows of the figures in the foreground fan out behind them as they head toward a line of people waiting, perhaps, for the doors of a venue to open. The viewer can imagine the sounds of happy chatter, maybe distant music. Webster has captured the feeling of nightlife, how it stirs the world awake despite the passage of the sun into darkness.

By 1928 Webster had undergone a dramatic transformation in art and life after having lost much of his eyesight to mustard gas as a soldier in World War I, taking ten years to recover. Between his first iteration as an intaglio printmaker - whose early style was very formal, exacting, and staid - and that of his second pursuit of the medium, he took up watercolor painting. His diminished eyesight meant that he could not be as precise as he had learned to be, and as a result his style grew and changed - some might say for the better. In “Soir de Fete” his lines are freer, and he gravitates toward a mood rather than an exact account.

 
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