Sam Glankoff (1894-1982)Woodcuts/Collage/Monoprints

Ellen Sragow
Jun 14, 2016 6:58PM

From the 1940s to the 1960s, Sam Glankoff created nontraditional woodcuts. He had a unique way of dealing with the woodblock surface. The color he used was water based pigment with casein to give depth as well as transparency, often like a painterly wash. (Oil based inks are more opaque.) He also printed on handmade Japanese papers, which creates a more delicate surface.

Many of his prints can be described as collage watercolor woodcuts. Glankoff often affixed a fine piece of cord as a line element, or a piece of canvas as a design element, onto the surface of the block. These he added to his already incised lines on the block.

The prints were unique monoprints. No two prints are alike. Glankoff would change his colors and the way they were applied. He would also vary the amount of pressure in the printing process. These abstract woodcuts came out of the figurative woodcuts he had done in the 1920s as well as book illustrations he had done for publications by Random House, McGraw Hill, and Knopf, among others. His pictorial language became abstract, but was based on the figure. 

Untitled, 1950-1960
Sragow Gallery
Untitled, 1940-1960
Sragow Gallery
Untitled, ca. 1940
Sragow Gallery
Untitled, ca. 1955
Sragow Gallery
Untitled, ca. 1950
Sragow Gallery
Untitled (pale green), 1950-1960
Sragow Gallery


Public Collections (partial listing)

The Arkansas Art Center

Davidson Art Center, Wesleyan University

Detroit Institute of Arts

The Fogg Art Museum

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

The Jewish Museum

Metropolitan Museum of Art

New York University

The Skirball Cultural Center

Smith College Museum of Art

The National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

The Worcester Museum of Art

Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Museum

Ellen Sragow