The Death of the Niobids II
"The Death of the Niobids II" is a lift-ground etching and engraving created in 1952 by American printmaker Salvatore Grippi (1921-2017). It is pencil signed, titled, and dated, and was printed by the artist at Atelier 17 in New York, in a few proofs only, on ivory wove paper measuring 11-3/8 x 15-7/8 inches.
Like many of the Atelier 17 surrealists, Grippi explored Greek and Roman mythology in an attempt to make some historical sense of the chaos of the post-WWII world. Human figures are confronted by Greek deities in a chaotic scene of savagery. The figures are created by the use of short, engraved lines that do not try to define one from another, adding to the sense of confusion and drama. In Greek mythology, the Niobids were the twelve children of Amphion of Thebes and Niobe, slain by twins Apollo and Artemis because Niobe, born of the royal house of Phrygia, had boastfully compared the greater number of her own offspring with those of Leto, Apollo's and Artemis' mother and was punished for her pride.
Salvatore Grippi, painter, printmaker and sculptor, was born in Buffalo, New York in 1921. He studied at the Albright Art School, the Museum of Modern Art School, the Art Students’ League under the G.I. Bill, Atelier 17 in New York, and Istituto Statale d’Arte in Florence as a Fullbright Scholar. He taught at Cooper Union, Fieldston School Arts Center, School of Visual Arts, Pomona College, Claremont Graduate School, and Ithaca College.
He contributed to "Twenty-one Etchings and Poems," a collaboration between 21 Atelier 17 printmakers and 21 poets, which germinated at Atelier 17 in New York and was published by the Morris Gallery in 1960.
Grippi's work is included in the British Museum; the Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College; the Library of Congress; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the New York Public Library; the Whitney Museum of American Art; and the Hirshhorn Collection and the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.