1917, printed 1931
(American, born Germany, 1881–1971)
Support: Zanders laid paper
Image: 24.2 x 27.9 cm (9 1/2 x 11 in.); Sheet: 34.4 x 43.5 cm (13 9/16 x 17 1/8 in.)
Gift of Ann Baumann 2005.423
© Ann Baumann Trust
Catalogue raisonné: Chamberlain 54
State: cut down blocks to9-1/2 x 11 were orig.11 x 13-15/16 in 1918
Baumann went to Provincetown, Massachusetts, then a small quaint fishing village, where his friend B. J. O. Nordfeldt had settled with several artists making color woodcuts. Normally one block was cut for each color, but Nordfeldt devised a method using only one block. A channel was cut around each color area, allowing all the colors to be put on the block simultaneously. When the block was printed, each color area was surrounded by a white line, the unprinted white paper. Mabel Hewit’s Houses, pictured below, demonstrates the technique. Baumann continued to use multiple blocks but emulated the effect of white-line woodcuts in Idle Fleet by outlining most pictorial elements in negative space. The use of white to separate shapes and pastel colors captured the effect of brilliant sunlight reflecting off the water and illuminating Provincetown’s faded clapboard houses.
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