If you know me at all, you know that I have a soft spot in my heart for printmaking. After seeing the room with California faience tiles at the Crocker Museum of art, we walked to the gallery room next door and there was another wonderland! Multicolored block prints by an Arts and Crafts master.
William S. Rice came to California in the early 1900″s, originally to Stockton and then to Alameda and Oakland. He was a public school art teacher and art administrator for their school systems. He wrote two books, including Block Prints: How to Make Them and traveled through California making art before population influx had changed it. If you ever look at old Sunset Magazines, you might see his work on its covers.
From the Crocker Museum website:
Rice was a prolific painter of the California landscape but is today better known as a printmaker, one who authored two books on the process and executed every print himself. He applied the classic Japanese art of ukiyo-e (woodblock printing, or “pictures of the floating world”) to images of the West, where he moved in 1900. This exhibition brings to light many of the artist’s accomplishments, including several never-before-exhibited pieces capturing the California landscape before development.
The exhibit had many of his water colors but I was entranced by his block prints.
In particular I enjoyed the demonstration of the multi-block nature of his printmaking work.
This demonstration of how he went from pencil sketch, to etching, to block print was masterful!
The block prints themselves swept me away. (My apologies for the reflections on the surfaces, very hard to get away from that when there is excellent museum lighting on glass framed works.)