Monday, 19 October 2009

Leonard Baskin

I've had a bit of an obsession with the work of Leonard Baskin since I first came across it on the cover of Ted Hughes's Crow (top). It was in fact Baskin who suggested that Hughes write poems on the theme, having already made several drawings of crows.

Baskin (1922-2000) was an American sculptor, printmaker, writer, illustrator and teacher. Born in New Jersey, he studied art in Florence and Paris, and spent seven years living in Devon near his close friend Hughes, but spent most of his life in Massachusetts. Inspired by William Blake, in 1942 he founded the Gehenna Press while still a student at Yale; although only a small private press, it would produce over 100 books during Baskin's lifetime.

There are a couple of prints (including the last one above) by Baskin in an outstanding exhibition, The American Scene: Prints from Hopper to Pollock, which is currently at the Whitworth Gallery, just around the corner from where I live. They're huge, much larger than I expected, maybe about six feet tall. More on The American Scene when I get the catalogue.

Click on the images for links.

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