Girl (aka: Negro Girl or Head) by Blanche Grambs

Girl (aka: Negro Girl or Head) by Blanche Grambs

Girl (aka: Negro Girl or Head)

Blanche Grambs

Title

Girl (aka: Negro Girl or Head)

 
Artist

Blanche Grambs

  1916 - 2010 (biography)
Year
1939  
Technique
etching and color aquatint 
Image Size
11 7/8 x 14 7/8" platemark 
Signature
pencil, lower right in an unknown hand 
Edition Size
25 or fewer impressions 
Annotations
ink stamp of the New York City WPA Art Project in lower left; titled in pencil in lower center margin in unknown hand 
Reference
Cahill 23; Weschler 47; Metropolitan Museum 43.33.904 
Paper
cream wove 
State
published 
Publisher
New York City WPA Art Project 
Inventory ID
PAMI108 
Price
$2,750.00 
Description

Blanche Grambs' forty nine graphic works were done in a six year period for the Works Project Administration (WPA) between 1934 and 1939, where she produced a group of powerful social commentaries, a number of which were portraits. Grambs has not been included in many of the publications that chronicle the artists of the Depression and works by women artists, and that is an oversight. An article about her and a raisonné of her work was done by artist/art historian James Wechsler for Print Quarterly, volume 13, number 4, 1996, pages 376-396.

"Negro Girl" is an aquatint and etching, done with a blue-green color plate. The portrait is simple and strong, a thoughtfully bemused young woman with her left arm resting on her head, though her hand appears to be prepared for action. Grambs adds a subtly patterned background, wallpaper perhaps, and a second, more delicate pattern on the subject's blouse. This is one of her last images and projects a sense of hope, something her earlier work did not.

This rare work was one of the last prints Grambs did for the New York City WPA Art Project and has its stamp in the lower left margin. The WPA etchings were usually printed in "editions" of 25 or fewer impressions and were not originally meant to be sold.

This impression is pencil titled "Negro Girl" and signed "Grambs" in an unknown hand, probably for identification purposes. There are two other impressions in museums, one signed the other unsigned.