Leo J. Meissner Original Woodcut Sea Gulls Maine Coast American Artists Group Block Print 1936


Shipping to United States: $12.50

Sea Gulls is an original woodcut created in 1936 by the well known American woodblock artist Leo J. Meissner (1895-1977). The print is signed and dated by the artist in the block, but not pencil signed. It does not have the original AAG mat/folder.

This original print was published by the American Artists Group (AAG) in a Limited Edition of about 200. A smaller edition of 40 with the title Breakfast Hunters was also released by Meissner the same year. AAG was started during the 1930s to help artists by publishing inexpensive, unsigned original prints. Many of America’s finest printmakers participated in the program. All of the prints were originals, but none of them were signed by hand.

The original mat/folders, which have often been separated from the prints, as in this case, had the following message on the back with the title of the print and a facsimile of the artist's signature:

“This print is an original woodcut made by me and printed with my approval and under my direction. It is in every respect the equivalent in quality of those prints issued by me in limited editions and sold at comparatively high prices. Its low price is made possible by the edition being neither pencil signed nor arbitrarily limited.” –Leo J. Meissner

Sea Gulls is a beautiful, well composed study of gulls flying, resting, and calling set against the rocks and swirling ocean water of the Maine coast. Meissner spent much of his time in the summer along the untamed New England coast and created some of his best wood engravings there.

This wood engraving is in the collection of the National Gallery of Art and can be seen on their website.

Sea Gulls is printed in black ink on a sheet of ivory Linweave paper that measures 13 x 18 inches. The image size is 8 x 10 inches. The wood engraving is unmatted and unframed. It will be safely shipped in plastic archival sleeve. It is blank on the back and not laid down.

Sea Gulls is a strong impression that is in Excellent condition.

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Leo J. Meissner was born in Detroit, Michigan and studied art at the Detroit School of Fine Arts and the Art Students League in New York with Guy Pene du Bois and George Luks. Meissner entered printmaking in the 1920s beginning with linoleum cuts and later concentrating almost exclusively on wood engraving.

Although he was a fine artist in oils and pastels, it was his mastery of woodblock, linoleum block and wood engraving that made him the notable artist he is today.

His works received great acclaim. He was included four times in Fifty Prints of the Year and exhibited in virtually every American printmaking exhibition venue. He took prizes for printmaking at the Library of Congress (1943, 1945), Wichita, Kansas (1937), Southern Printmakers (1937, 1938), Detroit Institute of Art (1943, 1945) as well as many other institutions.

During his career Meissner produced more than 150 relief prints. Some deal with scenes of New York or rural areas in North Carolina. Many deal with scenes along the Maine coast and Monhegan Island where he visited yearly.

His prints are widely held in public and private collections.

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