German Expressionist Woodcut Prints
I purchased Shane Weller’s book (a Dover Publication – you can check out here) on German Expressionist Woodcuts a few decades ago.
All this time on my studio bookshelves and Weller’s book is still an excellent source of inspiration to make something bold, or unfussy.
Do you ever get the urge to make art that is totally different from the style and subject of what normally spills from your hands? Me too.
Woodcut and Woodblock Print Reference Books
Those woodblock print images lead me to research artists from the early 1900s. Artists throughout history have gouged prolific creative visions from planks of wood and printed them to paper with ink.
I have a wonderful selection of woodcut books in my studio, and I thought I’d share a couple of them here, in case you’re looking for some inspiration in your block printing adventures.
Relief Print Posts from the Archives
Here are some of the previous relief print posts from this blog:
- This post is a short survey of relief print resources, particularly for shina wood and reduction block prints made with water wash up inks.
- Here is a manga-style woodblock print on mulberry paper, painted with watercolor and colored pencils. The post is focused on selecting the right papers and inks when you plan to add wet media to hand color your prints.
- If you’re looking for an economical way to buy linoleum for block printing, this post goes over affordable linoleum buying resources and the best approach to preparing linoleum for successful printmaking adventures.
Getting Ideas for Woodcut Prints
Books are an excellent source of ideas for woodcuts, and I love that each author shares tips particular to their practice. There are a hundred ways to handle each step of art-making. When we read about the methods individual artists have used for their creations, we get to pick and choose the process that fits us best.
Relief printmaking can be done with wood, linoleum, collagraph, or letterpress. If you’re looking for a process to generate ideas for linocut print subjects, read this post. The same principles and process apply to woodcuts and collagraphs, so dive in and give it a go.
Happy woodcut adventures to you, and I’ll see you in the next post!
P.S. Are you familiar with the dreamy woodblock prints of American printmaker Bertha Lum (1869-1954)
The use of the term Expressionism to describe the artistic movement that flourished in Germany in the early years of the twentieth century seems to date from around 1911, although the movement was active earlier; Die Brucke (the Bridge), an association of artists espousing the Expressionist ideal, was established in 1905 and held annual exhibitions until 1913.
Expressionism was in part a reaction against Impressionisms emphasis of atmospherics and surface appearances, and against academic painting’s rigid technique, stressing instead the emotional state of the artist and subject. To this, the viewer was to add his own emotions, creating an experience rich in drama that conveyed the inner realtiy of the subject matter.
A change occurred in Experssionism with World War I. The horror of the war left an indellible mark, and the chaotic years of the Weimar Republic (1919-33) introduced a sharply satirical tone in the work of many artists. The rise to the power of the Nazis, with their repressive artistic programs, put an end to the Expressionists’ period of greatest productivity, although many continued their work until well after World War II.Shane Weller – German Expressionist Woodcuts