Yesterday morning, I went down to London for the day. Yesterday evening, I crawled into bed absolutely knackered, but having seen the London Original Print Fair at the Royal Academy (the main reason for the trip), the Cutting Edge of Modernity at Osborne Samuel, Schwitters in Britain at Tate Britain, Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901 at the Courtauld and, even, Artists @ The Crypt at St Martins in the Field.
Racing by Sybil Andrews, 1934 (Linocut)
The Management is a Friend of the RA so I was able to get in to the Print Fair for free. (Yes, I’m a Yorkshireman. How did you guess?) As I went into the entrance, on the right hand side was a stand showing Lucien Freud etchings at fifty grand a piece and on the left hand side was another stand with Bridget Riley screenprints, at a little less.
As a printmaker, I was looking for ideas and effects. For example, I spent quite some time looking at linoprints of Bernhard Eberle on the Dreipunkt Edition stand. These were available at £400 each. (With reference to my last post, I think that, as this was a selling fair rather than just an exhibition, prices are very relevant.) He seems to use very thick ink on top of thin ink. Usually the orange peel effect obtained is regarded as fault, but the combination of the broken, rough second colour on top of a smoother first colour was very effective. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos (I didn’t think it appropriate) and this picture doesn’t show the effect.
On the Marlborough Graphics stand (where I saw the business cards of a Tabitha Philpott-Kent, a wonderfully evocative name for someone in the art selling trade), there was one of David Hockney’s homemade prints, Green Grey and Blue Plant.
Green Grey and Blue Plant, 1986 – David Hockney (Edition: 60)
I first came across these prints in January when the Management and I visited Saltaire where a converted mill has a gallery of Hockney’s work These ‘homemade’ prints were produced photolithographically using an office colour copying machine. I’d love to find out more about the technique. I’m not sure if it uses a risograph. I’ll have to make some more investigations. The one on sale was available at six and half grand.
There were lots of other prints which interested me, if only because with a relatively small amount of cash I could have own a work by a famous name: a Picasso for £20,000 or a Matisse £9,400 or even a Quentin Blake for £500. Others interested me for technique, such as some ‘unique’ etchings by Paula Rego. They were unique in that they were individually hand-coloured with, I think, watercolour paint. This is an idea I’ve thought about trying though I don’t want to produce a ‘colouring book’ effect. Rego’s work suggested this would not necessarily be the case.
The stand I fell in love with was Osborne Samuel, as it was mainly of Grosvenor School linocuts which I adore. Seeing illustrations is one thing; seeing the real prints is another. Racing, by Sybil Andrews, illustrated above, was just one of them. I know about not coveting my neighbour’s ass, but am I allowed to covet a dozen prints which I could have – if I had the money? I found that the Grosvenor School prints on show there were from an exhibition at the Osborne Samuel Gallery in Bruton Street, Mayfair, five minutes walk from the Royal Academy. Plans to see the George Bellow’s exhibition, also at the RA, went out of the window.
But before I set off to Bruton Street, I saw that the Redfern Gallery also had a good selection of Grosvenor School linocuts, including my favouritist one of all, Lill Tschudi’s Ice Hockey, which I could have had for only thirty grand. (My plan to do a linocut based on one of my photographs of a rugby tackle influenced by this print is, sadly, still at the same stage as it was three years ago.)
Ice Hockey – Lill Tschudi – 1933 (Linocut)
The final printmaker I want to mention is Gary Ratushniak whose work was on the James Kinmont Fine Arts stand. It is clear, to me at least, that Ratushniak is influenced by the Grosvenor School, but being more recent (the work on show was all dated either the early 1990s or 2012) his prints are still affordable at about £1500 – £2000.
High Dive – GaryRatushniak – 2012