Scarce print, "Coal--Mahanoy City--The Main Street", so titled and pencil signed by the artist, Joseph Pennell, in the lower margin, with notation "Trial Proof" at lower left. This is a scene of a gritty small town in east-central Pennsylvania's anthracite coal belt, Mahanoy City, about 50 miles northwest of Reading. The total edition is said to have been 50 impressions. Pennell was actually born in Pennsylvania to Quaker parents, and he studied in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in the late 1870's, prior to going to Europe, where he became a friend of James McNeil Whistler. Pennell taught at the Slade School in London for a time, while finding time to travel continental Europe, including the Low Countries, France, Italy and Greece, in search of artistic inspiration. Many etchings by the artist are of European subjects, but his American scenes of New York and other major cities are perhaps considered his most sought after images. Pennell won medals at the Exposition Universelle in 1900 and at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904. He spent some time in California in 1912, creating some prints, and becoming one of the founders of the California Society of Etchers. Pennell was well known and highly successful in his own day, as artist, illustrator, and writer. He died in New York in 1926. Today his works are included in countless museum collections, and his prolific output allows for surprisingly reasonable pricing of his etchings and lithographs. This example measures 12" by 9" inside the mat, and 15 3/4" by 11 1/2" as framed. I have not opened the backing but would be happy to do so upon request. The print has even browning/oxidation consistent with its age, and there is foxing, especially at lower right as shown. See the net for much, much more on this famous printmaker.
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