Chinatown by Vernon Jay Morse

Chinatown by Vernon Jay Morse

Chinatown

Vernon Jay Morse

Title

Chinatown

 
Artist
Year
c. 1930  
Technique
linocut 
Image Size
11 7/8 x 14 3/8" image 
Signature
pencil, lower right 
Edition Size
3 of 100  
Annotations
titled in pencil in lower left; M carved into the block in the lower left image 
Reference
 
Paper
slick ivory wove 
State
published 
Publisher
artist 
Inventory ID
PMJ314 
Price
$450.00 
Description

”Chinatown” exhibits Morse’s expertise in composition, orchestrating an everyday city scene with deft accuracy using only the high contrast of black and white. No major landmarks or figures of particular focus are relied on to create interest; rather it is the ordinariness of the scene carries the beauty: wood and plaster structures with their leaning awnings, potted plants on a windowsill, the metallic shine of the cars parked and waiting, the tidy jumble of baskets and barrels - all cast in an elegant, dramatic light. It could be any market street in any metropolitan city on a sunny day in the 1930s, when long, late afternoon or early morning shadows are cast across bustling walkways.

Painter, printmaker, and illustrator Vernon Jay Morse was born in Benton Harbor, Michigan, in 1898. He moved to San Francisco as a young man and attended classes at the California School of Fine Arts, now the San Francisco Art Institute, studying under Eric Spencer and Constance Macky from 1919 to 1921. Soon thereafter he relocated to Southern California, eventually settling in Burbank, where he died in 1965. By the end of his life Morse's name was synonymous with California Scene painting, with contemporaries including Millard Sheets, Phil Dike, Emil Kosa Jr., Milford Zornes, and Rex Brandt.