A charming drypoint etching on dark cream or tan paper of a turn-of-the-century city scene. The artist is actor Edwin R. Wolfe ( 1893 - 1983 ) whose artwork has been featured in many collections, including the National Arts Club, The Brooklyn Museum, and The De Young Museum in San Francisco. Wolfe was an American actor from Rochester, NY whose early Broadway career began in 1913. He continued to act, on stage, in silent movies, and on radio until the 1960's. He was also a follower of the Russian spiritual teacher G I Gurdjieff, a founding trustee of the Gurdjieff Foundation, and a teacher of The Work (Gurdjieff's method).
This etching depicts a broad tree lined boulevard with a jumbled collection of row houses in the foreground and the rising spire of a cathedral in the distance. There are horse drawn carts and a few pedestrians. I'm not sure if this is an American or a French scene. It may have been done in the late 1920's or early 1930's when Wolfe was in Paris and Fontainebleau studying with Gurdjieff. Or it may be a scene in Brooklyn, NY - there is a name, address in Brooklyn NY, and a date on the dust cover of the frame that is likely a previous owner and the date of framing or acquisition, but may also be indicative of the location. Those fire escapes look very Brooklyn to me though.
Beautifully matted and framed in a very nice gold wood frame, a costly frame job - this print is ready to hang on your wall. At first I thought the image was was toned, but on closer examination you can see that it was done on a dark cream or tan paper - any uneven color is due to my lighting for photography. The mat is lighter than the tan paper of the etching and has a black core, a thoughtful detail that sets the print off nicely.
CONDITION is excellent. The plate mark is clearly visible inside the mat. Signed in pencil and easily legible at the lower right "Edwin R. Wolfe." Measures 18 ⅛” x 16 ⅛” overall, with a sight size inside the mat of 11 ⅜” x 9 ⅜”. Weighs 2 lbs. 14.5 oz.
Edwin Wolfe not only had a long career as an actor, but was a talented artist, and judging from this piece, a gifted print maker as well. Enjoy!
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