Bert's Iris

William Seltzer RICE
circa 1920

"Bert's Iris" is a color woodcut created about 1920 by American artist William S. Rice (1873-1963). It is pencil signed and titled and was printed by the artist on Japanese laid paper measuring 14-3/8 x 12-1/4 inches. This is an example of his technique of brushing color onto his blocks. Impressions vary dramatically within an edition of fewer than twelve.

In "William S. Rice: Art & Life," Sexauer discusses "Bert's Iris" on page 159: "Bert and Lizzie Fitch had a small farm outside of Stockton where they grew flowers, principally for the florists in the city. Bert did all the work himself and grew marvelous irises, zinnias, delphiniums, lilies, and other cut flowers, which sometimes appeared in Rice's watercolors and block prints."

William Rice, painter and printmaker, was born in Manheim, Pennsylvania in 1873. He was awarded a scholarship to the Pennsylvania School of Industrial Art. After graduating in 1895, he was hired as staff artist for the Philadelphia Times but continued taking classes with Howard Pyle at the Drexel Institute. In 1900, Frederick H. Meyer offered Rice a job and, at the age of twenty-seven, he became Assistant Art Supervisor in the Stockton Public Schools in northern California. He taught for thirty years in the Alameda and Oakland public schools. In 1929, he earned his BFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts.

Rice was a member of the Print Makers Society of California, California Society of Etchers, Prairie Printmakers, Northwest Printmakers, and the San Francisco Art Association. He exhibited with the California Water Color Society, Association of American Etchers, Print Club of Philadelphia, and the Wichita Art Association.

Rice’s work is in the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, Boston Public Library, Fitzwilliam Museum, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Library of Congress, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, New York Public Library, Oakland Museum of California, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Worcester Art Museum.

12 x 9 inches
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