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Arch, Midnight. 1930. Drypoint. McCarron 84. 8 1/8 x 11 5/8 (sheet 11 1/16 x 14 3/4). Edition of 99 recorded impressions. Illustrated American Etchers: Martin Lewis. A rich, well-inked impression printed on Whatman antique paper. Signed and dedicated 'To Charles S. White with best regards - April 4th - '30' in pencil. Housed in a striking 17 1/2 x 21 1/2-inch black wood frame. $19,000.
Building a Babylon, Tudor City, NY. 1929. Drypoint. McCarron 76. 12 7/8 x 7 7/8 (sheet 16 5/8 x 12 1/4). 6th trial proof (McCarron records 84 impressions including 4 trial proofs). Illustrated: L'Amérique de la Dépression: Artistes Engagés des Années 30, Musée-Gallerie de la Seita, Paris, 1996. A rich impression printed on FJ Head creamlaid paper with a partial initial countermark and a hand watermark. A rare proof, unknown to McCarron. Annotated '6th trial proof' and signed 'Martin Lewis imp' in pencil, indicating an impression printed by the artist. Housed in a 23 x 17-inchHoused in a 10 1/4 x 24 1/4-inch period gold leaf frame. $12,500.
Cathedral Steps. 1931. Drypoint. McCarron 93. 10 1/2 x 16 3/4 (sheet 14 x 20). Edition 42 recorded impressions (including 7 trial proofs). A richly inked impression printed on cream wove paper. Signed in pencil. Housed in a 23 1/2 x 28 1/4-inch modernist gold leaf frame. $25,000.
Derricks at Night. 1927. Drypoint. McCarron 62.ii. 7 7/8 x 11 7/8 (sheet 11 1/2 x 16 1/8). Edition of 104 recorded impressions. Illustrated: Contemporary American Etching, American Art Dealers Association, New York, 1930. A rich impression printed on cream wove paper, with full. Signed and annotated 'imp' in pencil, indicating a proof printed by the artist. $11,000.
(Dock Workers under the Brooklyn Bridge). c. 1916-18. Aquatint and etching. McCarron 15. 17 3/4 x 23 3/4 (sheet 26 x 31). 5 recorded impressions (including 4 trial proofs), plus a proposed edition of 100 issued by Kennedy Galleries in 1973 (fewer proofs were printed). A rich impression printed on cream wove paper with full margins. Annotated '26/100' and signed 'Martin Lewis (L. D. L. 1973) by Louise Deming, the artist's wife. Housed in a dramatic 26 1/2 x 31 1/2-inch black/brown wood frame. $10,000. The last retail price I found for the lifetime impression was $40,000 in 2016.
Fifth Avenue Bridge. 1928. Drypoint. McCarron 72. 9 7/8 x 12 (sheet 12 3/4 x 15). Edition of 108 recorded impressions. A rich impression printed on cream laid paper, with full margins. Signed in pencil. Housed in a 22 x 24-inch modernist gold leaf frame. $17,500.
The Glow of the City. 1929. Drypoint. McCarron 77. 11 1/4 x 14 1/4 (sheet 15 1/4 x 18 3/4). Edition of 110 recorded impressions, including 4 trial proofs. Illustrated: American Etchers: Martin Lewis; Fine Prints of the Year, 1930. A rich impression printed on cream wove paper, with full margins. Titled in the lower center margin "The City Glow" possibly in another hand. Annotated 'last proof in lighter ink" and dedicated in pencil "To Dr. Eugene Noble -- with best wishes and much appreciation -- Sept. 27th 29." Signed and annotated "imp" in pencil, indicating a proof printed by the artist. Housed in a dramatic 18 1/2 x 21 3/4-inch black wood frame. $55,000.
The Great Shadow. 1925. Drypoint. McCarron 44. 9 7/8 x 7 inches (sheet 13 3/4 x 10 1/4). Edition of 86 recorded impressions (intended edition 100). A superb impression with carefully wiped plate tone printed on cream wove paper, with full margins. Signed and annotated 'Great Shadow' in the lower left-hand margin and '14'in the lower centermargin in pencil. Housed in a striking 18 3/4 x 14 3/4 x 3/4-inch black wood frame with gold decorations. $7,500.
Quarter of Nine, Saturday's Children. 1929. Drypoint. McCarron 78. 9 3/4 x 12 3/4 (sheet 12 7/8 x 17 7/8). Illustrated: American Etchers: Martin Lewis. Edition 107. A fine impression printed on Swedish cream wove paper with full margins. Signed and annotated "imp" in pencil, indicating a proof printed by the artist. Housed in a 19 3/8 x 21 3/8 1-inch black stepped wod frame. $30,000.
Relics (Speakeasy Corner). 1928. Drypoint. McCarron 74. 11 7/8 x 9 7/8 (sheet 17 1/8 x 13 3/4). Edition of 111. Illustrated: American Etchers: Martin Lewis. A brilliant, luminous impression with rich, velvety burr, printed on cream laid paper. Signed in pencil. Housed in an archival mat and a 25 x 21-inch black wood frame. $70,000.
Shadows on the Ramp. 1927. Drypoint and sand ground. McCarron 64. 9 x 10 1/2 (sheet 12 3/8 x 14). Edition 75 recorded impressions. A rich, tonal impression with drypoint burr, printed on cream wove paper. Signed in pencil. Housed in a striking French mat and a 19 1/8 x 21 3/8-inch black wood modernist frame. $15,000.
Skyline, New York. 1919. Etching and drypoint. McCarron 36. 8 7/8 x 10 3/8 (sheet 12 1/4 x 14 . 11 recorded impressions (intended edition 50. Lewis states that he destroyed 6 of the 11 proofs returned to him by Kennedy). A luminous impression printed on beige wove paper. An extremely rare image as apparently only 5 proofs are noted. Housed in an archival French mat and a, 18 1/2 x 20 x 1 1/4-inch modernist gold leaf frame with brown wood sides. $9,000.
Snow on the 'El'. 1931. Drypoint and sandpaper ground. McCarron 95. 14 x 9 (sheet 17 1/2 x 12 5/8). Edition 49 recorded impressions (including 5 trial proofs). A rich, tonal impression printed on Whatman antique laid paper with full margins. Signed and dedicated 'To Beatrice Bruehl with all good wishes- from M.L. Dec. 25/43' in pencil. Housed in a 25 3/4 x 19 5/8 x 1-inch modernist gold leaf frame. $57,500.
Spring Night, Greenwich Village. 1930. Drypoint and sand ground. McCarron 85. 10 x 12 3/8 (sheet 13 1/4 x 15 5/8). Edition 92. A rich, tonal impression printed on laid paper. Housed in a 21 x 22 1/2-inch gold and silver Art Deco style frame. Signed in pencil. $25,000.
Stoops in Snow. 1930. Drypoint and sandpaper ground. McCarron 89.ii. 9 3/4 x 14 3/4 (sheet 13 7/16 x 18 7/16 ). Edition 115 recorded impressions. Illustrated: American Etchers: Martin Lewis. A rich, tonal impression printed on white laid paper with full margins. Signed in pencil. Housed in a stunning archival black mat and a 20 x 24 3/4-inch modernist black wood frame. $Price upon request.
Yorkville Night. 1947. Drypoint. McCarron 140. 8 1/2 x 11 3/8 (sheet 10 7/8 x 14 1/2). Edition of 18 recorded impressions, including 1 trial proof. Provenance: Henry Christensen, III. A brilliant, luminous impression with rich, velvety burr, printed on cream laid paper. An extremely rare image. Signed in pencil. Housed in a dramatic 18 1/4 x 21-inch burled wood frame. $42,500.
Day's End. 1937. Drypoint. McCarron 120.ii/iii. Sixth trial proof. 9 3/4 x 13 1/2 (sheet 13 7/16/4 x 17). Edition 34 proofs (including 8 trial proofs). A rich, glowing impression with carefully-wiped plate tone printed on cream wove paper. Ex-collection Patricia Lewis. Signed pencil $35,000. Housed in an archival double mat and an 18 x 21-inch silver frame. $35,000.
The Passing Freight, Danbury. 1934. Drypoint and sand ground. McCarron 108. 8 7/8 x 14 7/8 (sheet 12 1/7 x 17 5/8). Edition 46 (including 6 trial proofs). A rich, tonal impression printed on cream laid paper with full margins. Signed in pencil. Housed in an 18 x 24-inch modernist stepped gold and silver frame. $35,000.
politics. 1936. Drypoint and sand ground. McCarron 118.ii. 9 3/4 x 10 5/8 (sheet 13 7/8 x 15). Trial proof 10, edition 27 (including 11 trial proofs). McCarron cites this impression to describe the second state. A rich, carefully inked impression printed on 'FJ Head & Co' cream wove paper with full margins. $7,000.
Shadows -- Garage at Night. c. 1928. Conte crayon drawing. Study for the drypoint, McCarron 69. 10 1/8 x 12 3/4 (the drypoint measures 9 7/8 x 11 7/8). The drypoint is illustrated in Fine Prints of the Year, 1928. Paper losses in the upper and lower right-hand corners and a 3/8-inch tear in the upper right-hand corner. The catalogue raisonne mentions this study: "There is a preparatory drawing for this print in charcoal, pencil and brown crayon on gray brown paper (LDL-323, 255 x 330 mm), signed by Patricia Lewis after the artist's death. " (p. 130). Small paper losses at top sheet corners and a 3/8-inch tear, backed with mulberry paper; otherwise fine condition. Estate stamp verso: Lucile Deming Collection [the artist's wife]. Signed and initialed by Patricia Lewis, the artist's daughter-in-law. The image is not reversed in the etching, as is often the case. Housed in a 16 x 20-inch triple mat. $7,500.
Martin Lewis (1881-1962) was born in Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia on 7 June 1881. He was the second of eight children and had a passion for drawing. At the age of 15, he left home and traveled in New South Wales, Australia, and in New Zealand, working as a pothole digger and a merchant seaman. He returned to Sydney and settled into a Bohemian community outside Sydney. Two of his drawings were published in the radical Sydney newspaper, The Bulletin. He studied with Julian Ashton at the Art Society's School in Sydney. Ashton, an English-born Australian artist and teacher, known for his support of the Heidelberg School and for his influential art school in Sydney. In 1900, Lewis left Australia for the United States. His first job was in San Francisco, painting stage decorations for William McKinley's presidential campaign of 1900. By 1909, Lewis was living in New York, where he found work in commercial illustration. His earliest known etching is dated 1915. However, the level of skill in this piece suggests he had been working in the medium for some time previously. It was during this period that he helped Edward Hopper learn the basics of etching. In 1920, after the breakup of a romance, Lewis traveled to Japan, where for two years he drew and painted and studied Japanese art. The influence of Japanese prints is very evident in Lewis's prints after that period. In 1925, he returned to etching and produced most of his well-known works between 1925 and 1935 Lewis's first solo exhibition in 1929 was successful enough for him to give up commercial work and concentrate entirely on printmaking.
Lewis is most famous for his black and white prints, mostly of night scenes of non-tourist, real life street scenes of New York City. During the Depression, however, he was forced to leave the city for four years between 1932 and 1936 and move to Newtown, Connecticut. His work from this period includes a number of rural, night-time and winter scenes in this area. Lewis returned to Manhattan in 1936 and continued to etch and paint. He taught printmaking at the Art Students League of New York from 1944 until his retirement in 1952. Now he is considered one of the most important American printmakers of the twentieth century.
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