Adolph Gottlieb (American, 1903–1974)
Associated American Artists (1994), no.24 (illus.)
Platemark: 22.3 x 17.5 cm (8 3/4 x 6 7/8 in.) Sheet: 29.2 x 23 cm (11 1/2 x 9 1/16 in.)
Medium or Technique
Etching and aquatint
Not On View
Gottlieb was one of the few prominent members of the New York School who turned to printmaking to advance his creative ideas. He worked in woodcut, intaglio, lithography, and silkscreen, and his total body of printed works numbers 83. Voyage, from about 1946, is one his most successful.
Gottlieb belonged to a group that called itself the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors. With Mark Rothko and Barnet Newman he wrote a letter to NY Times in 1943 declaring as one of their tenets: “We favor the simple expression of the complex thought.”
From 1942-49 he made a series of prints using linocut, drypoint, etching, and aquatint, which he called Pictographs, and exhibited them during that period in New York as part of The Graphic Circle. His term “pictograph” referred to picture writing (like hieroglyphics) on a two dimensional plane that was often divided, gridlike, into compartments. Rather than fully realized objects, Gottlieb’s visual elements were an invented language of linear signs to be “read”. These signs were not meant to be precisely decoded but were intended to guide the viewer through a process of evocation, much as the surrealists relied on free association to explore the wanderings of the unconscious and subconscious. In the Klee-like Voyage, a still life, triangles implying boat sails and architectural spires, a sun, and stars are elements in a landscape to be explored over time; the light and shade produced by bitten aquatint tone conveying the passage of time from night to day.
In graphite, l.l. : 7/20, b.c.: "Voyage". ;/r.: Adolph Gottlieb
Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, Inc; Pace Master Prints, NY, NY purchased by MFA March 22, 2006
Lee M. Friedman Fund
© Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation/ Licensed by VAGA New York, NY