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Tillers of the Soil
Tillers of the Soil
Gift of The Print Club of Cleveland 1986.39
© Glenbow-Alberta Institute, 2010
Catalogue raisonné: White 31
Claude Flight, an instructor at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art in London, appreciated linoleum's unique characteristics, popularizing the floor covering as an important printmaking medium in the 1910s. Like a woodcut, a linocut is a relief technique. A knife or gouge is used to cut away the background, leaving the lines standing in relief. The surface of the block is then inked and printed, sometimes by hand. Because linoleum is supple, easily incised, cheap, and readily available, its use quickly became widespread.
Andrews, Flight's most important and famous student, chose subjects from everyday life. Using bold lines and flat shapes printed as bright masses of color, she exploited the fact that linoleum is easy to cut in fluid lines and has a lightly textured surface. Like Tillers of the Soil, Grosvenor School linocuts purposefully look handmade. Despising printing with a press, which obtained "deplorably mechanical[,]" mass-produced prints, Flight continued to espouse the 19th-century arts-and-crafts tradition of William Morris (see The Life and Death of Jason nearby in gallery 110), emphasizing printing by hand to retain the personal expression of the artist.
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