Desert Vista

circa 1930

"Desert Vista" is a color linoleum cut created about 1930 by American artist Frances Gearhart (1869-1958). It is pencil signed and titled and printed by the artist in an edition of about 50 on a soft, antique-white wove Japanese paper measuring 10-3/8 x 9-1/4 inches.

"Desert Vista" is example of Gearhart's favorite subjects, the mountains of the Western United States. Here she created the illusion of a large mountain landscape in a small format by using the crevice in the rock walls as a preview of the snow covered peaks in the distance. Gearhart used a linoleum key-block, printed with blue oil-based ink, to create most of the linear elements for this landscape and then hand brushed color on a tone block. As a result of this direct approach, each impression will vary in color to some degree.

Frances Hammell Gearhart, painter, printmaker, and teacher, was born in Sagetown, Illinois in 1869 but raised in Pasadena, California. She joined her sisters, May and Edna, in the field of education, teaching English History in the Los Angeles School System. She spent summers in the east, studying art with Charles H. Woodbury and Henry R. Poore.

As a woodblock printmaker, Gearhart is considered to be self-taught. She created her first print in 1918 and joined the Print Makers Society of California in 1919. She opened her Pasadena studio for use by the society, organized shows, and co-chaired the selection committee. In 1920, she produced a color linocut that was the first gift print of the society.

Gearhart was a member of the Prairie Print Makers and the American Federation of Arts. Her work was included in survey exhibitions of American color woodcut at the Brooklyn Museum and the American Institute of Graphic Arts. She is represented in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Library of Congress, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Worcester Art Museum.

8 3/8 x 6 7/8 inches
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