Venetian Mirror; a.k.a. The Grand Canal, Venice by John Taylor Arms

Venetian Mirror; a.k.a. The Grand Canal, Venice by John Taylor Arms

Venetian Mirror; a.k.a. The Grand Canal, Venice

John Taylor Arms

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

Venetian Mirror; a.k.a. The Grand Canal, Venice

Image Size
6 3/8 x 14 1/8" platemark 
pencil, lower right 
Edition Size
proof of state II: total edition of 196 in two states. 
pencil dated 1935 after the signature; also inscribed: "Venetian Mirror" in block letters in lower left corner of the paper; dedicated: "To my friend Roy Carrington / John Taylor Arms 1935" 
Fletcher 289; Italian series 27; Arms 293; LOC 507; illustrated on page 119 in Denker's "Reflections & Undercurrents: Ernest Roth and Printmaking in Venice, 1900-1940" 
ivory laid with J WHATMAN watermark 
Inventory ID

The last of twenty-five prints in Arms' Italian Series, "Venetian Mirror" is an extraordinary example of the possibilities found in the metal plate medium. With stunning deftness Arms uses a panoramic viewpoint and a soft tonality to create a simple, quiet composition, belying its mind-bendingly minute detail - purportedly achieved without magnification - and nearly photographic architectural exactitude. In the left side of the image a gondolier steers his vessel with almost no disruption of the water's surface, keeping every line of the Renaissance-era palaces intact and lending further creedence to the work's title.

"Venetian Mirror" was done in two states, the first is unknown, the second state had 26 trial proofs, outside an edition of 146, done in 1935 and a single trial proof for a second edition of 23 done between 1937 and 38, both printed with David Strang.

This proof impression, from the 1935 printing, is dedicated to his "friend" Roy Carrington.

John Taylor Arms, printmaker, lecturer, illustrator, and administrator, was born in Washington, D.C. on 19 April 1887. He first studied law at Princeton University but transferred to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study architecture, earning a Master’s Degree in 1912. He studied with Ross Turner, David A. Gregg, and Felton Brown. For five years after his graduation Arms worked for the architectural firm Carrere and Hastings, before establishing his own architectural firm of which he was a partner.

A gift of an etching kit from his wife, Dorothy, changed the course of his life. He produced his first etching in 1915 and he eventually produced 441 prints, mostly etchings. Arms became one of the most famous printmakers of the first half of the twentieth century. He is mostly noted for his etchings of medieval architecture but early subjects also included ships, sailboats, airplanes, rural landscapes, and the streets, buildings, and bridges of New York.

Arms’ exhibition history was lengthy beginning in 1927 and continuing to 1952. He authored 'Hand-Book of Print Making and Print Makers' in 1934 and illustrated 'Churches of France' and 'Hill Towns and Cities of Northern Italy' by his wife, Dorothy Noyes Arms. His work can be found in most major collections of American prints.

Arms was an activist for printmaking and assisted in assembling exhibitions of American graphic art that were shown in Sweden, Czechoslovakia and Rome; he was editor of the Print Department of Print, A Quarterly Journal of the Graphic Arts, and he lectured on the techniques, history and value of original prints. Arms also served as the president of the Tiffany Foundation in 1940. John Taylor Arms died in New York City on 15 October 1953.


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