Jul 24, 2014

Night Ceremony

Night Ceremony

1938, printed 1948

Gustave Baumann

(American, born Germany, 1881–1971)

Color woodcut with aluminum leaf

John L. Severance Fund 1992.337

Catalogue raisonné: Chamberlain 156; Acton, Krause & Yurtseven 57



Night Ceremony, one of Baumann’s very few abstract compositions, represents ornamented fragments of Native American pottery overlaid and jigsawed together. A collector of Native American ceramics, Baumann wrote, “Pot shards are a kind of scrambled history of New Mexico with essential words omitted that archaeologists are forever trying to find.” Two blocks were used to print Night Ceremony: one for dark gray and the other for adhesive. While the adhesive was still tacky, thin leaves of aluminum were applied side by side. The gray ink, aluminum leaf, and negative space (the white of the paper) create the image that simulates the jet black and burnished luster of Santa Clara Pueblo pottery.

See also
PR - Woodcut
Type of artwork: 

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