Bert's Iris by William Seltzer Rice

Berts Iris by William Seltzer Rice

Bert's Iris

William Seltzer Rice

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Bert's Iris

c. 1920  
color woodcut 
Image Size
12 x 9" image 
pencil, lower right 
Edition Size
fewer than 12 variant impressions 
pencil titled, lower left 
Sexauer 2013, "William Rice: Art & Life", illustrated pg. 159 and back cover of dust jacket; Treseder 2009, "William S. Rice: California Block Prints, illustrated full page, page 41; Snow/Walters "California Society of Printmakers...2013, illustrated full 
soft ivory laid Japanese 
Inventory ID
"Bert's Iris" is an exceptional example of Rice's early color woodcuts, the color applied to the blocks with brushes, like a painting. The artist would also use his fingers to apply the oil-based inks to the surface to achieve special effects, such as lighting for. The impressions of "Bert's Iris" vary dramatically from one to another, the artist had no intention of printing a formal "edition" and rarely printed more than a dozen impressions. Rice bought his papers in San Francisco's Chinatown. It was soft and accepted ink well. He would often run the paper through the press with a piece of canvas and transfer the texture to the surface of the paper. He allowed this texture to show through as little specks of white light, as he did in the blossoms and leaves in this impression. Ellen Treseder, in her book "William S. Rice: Art & Life", Pomegranate, 2013, discusses "Bert's Iris" on page 159: "Bert and Lizzie Fitch (Rice's sister) had a small farm outside of Stockton (CA) where they grew flowers, principally for the florists in the city. Bert did all the work himself and grew marvelous irises, zinnias, delphiniums, lilies, and other cut flowers, which sometimes appeared in Rice's watercolors and block prints; for example 'Bert's Iris'". Different variations of "Bert's Iris" are illustrated in color in numerous publications. See 'references' in the description above. 
Please call us at 707-546-7352 or email to purchase this item.