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    Sale 2469 | Lot 194
    Price Realized: $8,125With Buyer's Premium
    Show Hammer Price
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    • Sale 2469 Lot 194

      Canyons, New York.

      Wood engraving, 1928. 305x129 mm; 12x5 inches, full margins. Edition of 50. Signed, numbered "50" and inscribed "imp." in pencil, lower margin. A superb impression with strong contrasts.

      Cook (1901-1980), most widely known for his lyrical prints of Manhattan, was born in Massachusetts and traveled the continental United States extensively. As a young man, he moved to New York and enrolled in the Art Students League. He studied printmaking there under Joseph Pennell (1857-1926) who, nearing the end of his life, was characterized by his atmospheric cityscape etchings (see lots 136-139). Cook's interest in the medium increased after a trip to Paris in 1925, where he spent time with fellow ex-pats and master printmakers James E. Allen (see lot 206) and Thomas Handforth.

      Cook's career took off after a 1926 trip to Maine, when woodcuts he made there were picked up by Forum, one of the most widely-circulated American magazines at the time. The publication subsequently commissioned Cook to create woodcuts of the American Southwest, where he became enamored with New Mexico and the Taos artist's colony, returning throughout his life (he relocated there permanently in 1939 and ultimately died in Santa Fe). By the end of the 1920s, Cook's adept printmaking caught the interest of Carl Zigrosser, the esteemed director of the Weyhe Gallery in New York who supported many emerging artists. In 1929, Zigrosser both hosted Cook's first solo exhibition and encouraged him to travel to Paris, providing him entrée into the venerable lithography studio Atelier Desjobert. Despite experimenting in a range of printmaking techniques, the woodcut remained Cook's medium of choice.

      At the peak of his career, from the late 1920s until his 1939 move to New Mexico, Cook feverishly depicted a rapidly-changing New York. Construction on skyscrapers flourished in the interwar period, with landmark towers like the Chrysler Building completed in 1930 (see lot 195) and the Empire State Building completed the following year, while the Great Depression halted progress on other projects and construction sites remained commonplace. Artists like Cook, Martin Lewis (see lots 166-172), Louis Lozowick (see lots 190-192) and Samuel Margolies (see lot 193) embraced the evolving city as their subject, using exaggerated perspective to emphasize the grandeur of buildings, and portraying construction workers as everyday heroes. Duffy 76.

      Estimate $8,000 - 12,000

      Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $8,125