Drypoint and sand ground on cream wove paper, 1934. 276x175 mm; 10 7/8x6 7/8 inches, full margins. Second state (of 3). A trial proof, aside from the edition of 41 in the third state. Signed and inscribed "trial proof, 2nd state" in pencil, lower margin. A brilliant, richly-inked impression.
Australian-born Lewis (1881-1962) was one of the leading contributors to American printmaking in the first half of the twentieth century, creating approximately 150 etchings and lithographs between 1915 and 1953. While many of his contemporaries explored the ever-changing New York cityscape by meticulously capturing new and old architecture alike, Lewis' fascination centered on the city's inhabitants. Lewis approached printmaking as an art form in and of itself (rather than ancillary to painting). His print compositions were unique and he excelled at virtually every printmaking technique, using his remarkable skills to push each one to its greatest potential.
Lewis strove for tonal quality above all else in his prints, going so far as to treat plates with sandpaper and other materials before etching them in order to achieve grain. The softness that Lewis captured when he utilized various techniques to bring out a wide spectrum of tones lends a distinctive painterly quality to his prints. Interestingly, he rarely used aquatint and mezzotint, two techniques traditionally utilized for their tonal quality. Lewis also rejected the practice of manipulating ink during the printing process (a method espoused by Whistler) and preferred to put the "work' into the plate itself.
White Street runs the 6 block length between Johnson Avenue and Cook Street, on the edge of Williamsburg and Bushwick in Brooklyn. McCarron 110.