Weng Block Prints

Category: What on Earth!?

Scans of the prints we found really don't do them justice.  They are very beautiful.  They aren't reproductions, but they also aren't numbered.  That is a bit confusing to me, as I thought linoleum and woodblock prints were always numbered (?)

It's a bit difficult to see the detail in the jpeg's of these scans.  Like the reflection of the rabbit in the pool of water...




Woodblock prints were very popular in the Arts and Crafts era, from artists such as Arthur Dow, Frances Gearheart, and Margaret J. Patterson.  Those prints were often done in more than one layer of color and these Weng prints are monochromatic.  But the Weng prints are charming in a different way.


I believe there is a Viking Ship sailing at the bottom of these cliffs below... 



This style seems familiar, I think I've seen it somewhere before but can't remember.  Depression-era perhaps?  Eastern European art?  The print below with the horse makes me think of Russia or Hungary but I cannot tell you why. 


There seems to be a chapel tucked into the picture between the hills... 



The print of the wave is one of my favorites and seems to be inspired by Japanese artists in my humble, non-art-educated opinion. 


And, of course, the last print makes me think of Maryam in Marrakesh.  I don't know if it is really of Morocco.  But it seems like a very romantic subject, don't you think?   



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Those are really nice. The third one (cloud w/ train) and last (building & camel) are my favorites.

Yes, prints are generally numbered, but it's not that unusual for these to have no numbers. It's possible that they were artist's proofs (prints the artist makes for him/herself to see how they look, although artist's proofs are usually marked "A.P."), but it's also possible the artist simply wasn't making a numbered series to sell.

I hope you frame a few and put them up.

What a great find - and so many! I love the one with crashing waves. They'll look great when framed and grouped.

Wow, these really are beautiful! What a find!

Actually the idea of numbering prints is very much a modern notion. You won't find numbered editions until the very end of the 19th century, as numbering is strictly a marketing device, to control the market, prevent copies, and also while you're at it get collectors to value print 1/100 more than print 99/100, even though they're the same thing.

They look a lot like Rockwell Kent's work; Kent did a lot of book illustrations and bookplates in addition to stand-alone prints. I found a link with some basic info on Weng: http://www.tfaoi.com/aa/2aa/2aa172.htm

The Art Institute of Chicago library probably has more info on him, as he was a student there in the 20s.

The look like nice, crisp impressions, and completely perfect for your time period.

PS: don't forget to interleave those prints with acid-free paper when you store them!

OOH! I LOVE the #2 bunny print. How cute.

they're beautiful, and remind me a little of escher's block and lino prints... (i believe they're artists proofs as well... ) and the colour of that other print (won't let me comment on that page) is ochre.

I was soooooooo excited to see what you found in your basement from Siegfried Weng. I have 3 or 4 of his prints that are signed, and several reproductions unsigned, but I have never seen these. Not only did Siegfried study under Lorado Taft, he also posed for him as Abe Lincoln in the statue where he is leaning on his hands, back against a table. If you should decide that you would no longer be interested in keeping these prints, would you please contact me? I know people interested in obtaining prints from Mr. Weng.

My mother and father (Philip T. and Joanna (Bee) Stafford knew Weng at the University of Chicago and I have a woodcut of Rockefeller Chapel by him. Unfortunately, I don't recall any stories about Weng though he, as I, moved to Southern Indiana (Evansville) after serving as Director of the Dayton Art Institute for many years.


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