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Wood Engraver

about Paul Landacre

Although he began with illustration, Paul Landacre eventually became known for his wood engraving — a printmaking and letterpress printing technique, in which an artist works an image or matrix of images into a block of wood —, a skill he learned at Otis Art Institute and refined through trial and error — each print taking years and using a hand press in his home. With a desire to use the medium expressively rather than as a resource for duplication, he produced stylized prints with strong textures, rhythmic linework, and highly contrasted blacks and whites.

Paul began his career as an artist when a life-threatening illness during his sophomore year at Ohio State University left the previously athletic student with a permanent physical handicap. Newly sedentary, he enrolled in drawing classes and upon graduation, relocated to California in pursuit of a better recovery. On long walks through nature to rebuild his strength, he brought his sketchbook and consequently began to develop his oeuvre.

Born in 1893 in Columbus, Ohio, Paul died in 1963, in Los Angeles, California, soon after—and emotionally resulting from—the death of his wife who had been an essential working companion for 38 years, even helping the artist late in his life pull impressions from the formidable Washington Hand Press. In March 2006, with the growing appreciation of his artistic significance, their hillside home was declared a City of Los Angeles landmark — Historic Cultural Monument No. 839.

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