Nov 18, 2005

Tillers of the Soil

Tillers of the Soil


Sybil Andrews

(Canadian, 1898–1992)

Linoleum cut

Gift of The Print Club of Cleveland 1986.39

Catalogue raisonné: White 31



Claude Flight, an instructor at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art in London, appreciated linoleum's unique characteristics, popularizing the floor covering as an important printmaking medium in the 1910s. Like a woodcut, a linocut is a relief technique. A knife or gouge is used to cut away the background, leaving the lines standing in relief. The surface of the block is then inked and printed, sometimes by hand. Because linoleum is supple, easily incised, cheap, and readily available, its use quickly became widespread. Andrews, Flight's most important and famous student, chose subjects from everyday life. Using bold lines and flat shapes printed as bright masses of color, she exploited the fact that linoleum is easy to cut in fluid lines and has a lightly textured surface. Like Tillers of the Soil, Grosvenor school linocuts purposefully look handmade. Despising printing with a press, which obtained "deplorably mechanical[,]" mass-produced prints, Flight continued to espouse the 19th-century arts-and-crafts tradition of William Morris, emphasizing printing by hand to retain the personal expression of the artist.

See also
PR - Linocut
Type of artwork: 
Linoleum cut

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