Luigi Rist

About Artist: Born in 1888, Luigi Rist was an American printmaker whose contribution to printmaking lay in combining traditional Japanese woodcutting methods with his own Yankee ingenuity. His enviable reputation as a printmaker was earned rather late in his life when, at the age of 41, he went to Brittany as monitor for the painter, Sigurd Skou. Philadelphia painter, Morris Blackburn was in Brittany at the same time and the two began a friendship that lasted until Rist’s death in 1959. Blackburn introduced Rist to the techniques of the Japanese woodcut print. In the early 1930s, Blackburn and Rist went to the old Comerford Gallery to see an exhibition of Japanese prints and Rist was so fascinated that he returned to see them again and again. Subsequently, he began experimenting with the medium. In contrast to the traditional method, whereas one artists does the drawing, another the carving and yet, another the printing, Rist completed all three steps himself from the beginning. His earliest prints display a great simplicity compared to his later works which show evidence of an artist aptly skilled in his medium. In 1941, Rist wrote to Morris Blackburn concerning his complete fascination with the medium of printmaking and during the same year he won his first prizes. Rist commonly used flowers, fruits and vegetables, many of them grown by his wife, Ida, for his subject matter. Of these simple objects he would make preparatory sketches and drawings in Conte crayon. He drew the subjects in their true size and then gave the drawings shade and tone. He gave the subjects a monumental quality by compressing them into a relatively small area of the woodcut.

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