Marktweib (Market woman) by Emil Orlik

Marktweib  (Market woman) by Emil Orlik

Marktweib (Market woman)

Emil Orlik

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Marktweib (Market woman)


Emil Orlik

  1870 - 1932 (biography)
color woodcut 
Image Size
4 1/8 x 2 7/8" image 
pencil, lower right 
Edition Size
Orlik's monogram chop at upper right within image 
fine, antique-white laid Japan 
Verlag Neue Kunsthandlung, Berlin 
Inventory ID

This signed woodcut is from the very rare portfolio Kleine Holzschnitte published in 1920 by Verlag Neue Kunsthandlung, Berlin.

In 1896, Orlik and a friend were given some pieces of boxwood and old gravers by a wood engraver who offered them a short introduction to the art of carving. In September 1920, Orlik reflected on this pivotal experiment and the course his career took:

We immediately started working. We tried to engrave all kinds of things into the back of the wood pieces. And when the graver began to obey the hand and the will—we did not make stamps but a colour woodcut each. …I took a particular liking to this technique.

The new challenge and the beautiful material gave me so much joy that in the course of the following years, from 1896 to 1899, I made a fairly large number of woodcuts. In the following year, I moved to my beautiful, old hometown of Prague and converted an old tower into a studio. There, I started on my own, driven by an inner urge, to explore the wood block's peculiarities. It was new, unknown territory. At Littauer's in Munich I had seen a few prints by Felix Valloton and from William Nicholson's Alphabet¬–and also some Japanese-style colour woodcuts by Otto Eckmann (whose successor in Berlin I would later become). But the knowledge of the workshop was guarded as if it were the dark secrets of an alchemist. At that time, I had not yet seen Munch's woodcuts.

Thus, these works, which are published for the first time in this small edition (some of them printed in several colour plates), are the result of my attempt at reviving a lost artistic technique. Like the poet, the artist dedicated to printmaking will find the motives for his works in his experiences and moods. This is also the case for these little prints. The atmosphere of ancient Prague, long walks, experiences and things impresses on the memory have been echoed on the wood block in the simple and summarizing language of the woodcut…But my restless nature, the joy I take in craft, which nature gave me for better or for worse, led me to Japan in 1900. There, in the workshops of the woodcutters and printers, I sought to understand the wonderful technique of the Japanese, and to use it in my own ways.

Please call us at 707-546-7352 or email to purchase this item.