Support: Brown wove paper
Sheet: 56.1 x 38.2 cm (22 1/16 x 15 1/16 in.); Platemark: 38.9 x 24.7 cm (15 5/16 x 9 3/4 in.)
Gift of Jenny Horning in honor of Caedon Suzanne Summers 2009.171
Courtesy of John Taylor Arms/© Suzanne Arms Hawkins
Catalogue raisonné: Fletcher 13
Many of Arms’s earliest prints are intimate views of crumbling medieval gables, house fronts, and picturesque narrow streets derived from his visits to Rouen, Liseux, and other French cities with medieval roots. “In my early days as an etcher,” Arms explained in 1930, “as I took stock of the medieval towns of France and Italy and Spain, the subjects which attracted my attention were . . . of an intimate nature, an old gable here, a doorway there, or a bit of rambling street with its quaint shop fronts and inevitable carts. These furnished the material for many a sketch and were, so to speak, the first chapters of my etched history.” A self-taught etcher, Arms was inspired by predecessors such as Rembrandt and James McNeill Whistler, both of whom left extra ink on unworked parts of the copper plate to add tone to selected areas of the composition. Arms followed their example, embellishing this impression with a darkened sky and foreground.
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