Martin Lewis, ‘Rainy Day, Queens’, 1931, Harris Schrank Fine Prints

Martin Lewis (1881-1962), Rainy Day, Queens, drypoint, 1931, signed in pencil lower right [also signed in the plate lower right]. Reference: McCarron 94, only state, from the edition of about 70. In very good condition, 10 5/8 x 11 7/8, the sheet 13 1/2 x 15 7/8 inches.

Provenance:

Estate of Edward G Kennedy (?) (with stamped initials EGK verso, cf. Lugt 857)

A fine rich impression of this iconic image, printed in black ink on an ivory laid paper.

Lewis described this location as “Skillman Ave. Queens”; it is probably at the intersection of Skillman Avenue and 49th Street.

Martin Lewis was interested in Japanese art early in his career, and in 1920 visited Japan, where he stayed for nearly two years. Rainy Day, Queens owes much to this influence: the careful placement of compositional elements, for example, and the atmospheric effects of rain, frequently found in Japanese prints and in Lewis’s Japan-based prints (e.g., Fishing Boats in the Rain, M. 41, and Showers on the Bay, M. 46).

Signature: signed in pencil

Estate of Edward G Kennedy (?) (with stamped initials EGK verso, cf. Lugt 857)

About Martin Lewis

A master of intaglio, Martin Lewis’s prints are characterized by the interplay of dark and light, evoking a film noir style that radiates an authentic New York City energy. The Australian-born artist spent much of his life in the United States, working as a commercial artist before devoting himself full-time to printmaking. Lewis incorporated elements of impressionism and tonalism, and his drypoint prints and graphite drawings elevate mundane city scenes, capturing both small moments of solitude and bustling crowds. Lewis worked briefly with Edward Hopper and influenced the painter’s cityscapes; although they worked in different mediums, the two shared similar artistic visions and goals. A seminal figure in the graphic arts of the 1930s, Lewis is regarded as one of the best printmakers of the 20th century, but he is largely unknown due to the small production runs of his works.

American, 1881-1962, Victoria, Australia