Hand Colored Flowers
New York: Printed by Mitchell Friedman, assisted by Jeremy Dine, 1977. Etching, soft-ground etching, aquatint, drypoint, engraving, and electric tools on one plumber's copper plate. Printed in black with hand painting in blue, two shades of pink, yellow, violet, and green watercolour after editioning. State i/iii. Edition of 50, No. 48/50, signed and dated in pencil lower right corner. In pristine condition. Image size: 35 5/8 x 23 ½ inches. Sheet size: 413/4 x 29 1/2 inches.
An early masterpiece by Jim Dine, one of America's greatest artists.
Jim Dine is regarded as one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century. In the late 1950's and early 1960's he gained public attention in New York with his Happenings and mixed media assemblages, but his real acclaim followed through his association with the Pop art movement. An innovative and versatile artist, Dine works in a multitude of mediums including painting, sculpture, photography, and printmaking. As a printmaker, he displays an uncommon love of the art form and a penchant for innovative printmaking techniques. He commonly combines etching, drypoint, mezzotint, lithography and woodcut to create complicated images, which resonate with a sense of drama and hidden meaning. He utilizes a myriad of unconventional hand and machine tools, which he uses on the plate and sometimes directly on the paper. As with this print, Dine often recycles his plates to create new or altered images that often display a ghost image of the first work. Dine's oeuvre focuses on isolated objects, which act as the stand-in of autobiography. Hearts, statues, robes, and flowers become metaphors for Dine's life experiences and his visual quest for the self. This important print is the first of three prints, Hand Colored Flowers (1977), Black and White Flowers (1977), and Red Ochre Flowers (1978), which Dine made from the same plate. In creating this print, Dine used a staggering array of different engraving techniques to create a heavily worked plate. In addition to soft-ground etching, hard-ground etching, aquatint, and drypoint, Dine used a mezzotint rocker as an engraving tool and to raise burr. The plate was cut down for the two later states and a die-grinder was used to change the shape of the vase and the details of the bouquets. According to D'Oench, the dense plate work and heavy inking is typical of the prints editioned with Mitchell and Friedman, Dine's primary American printer between 1975 and 1979. This haunting image is an important early print by Dine and a wonderful expression of his artistic genius. It is rarely seen on the market, making it a true collector's item.
D'Oench and Feinberg, Jim Dine Prints 1977-1985, p. 1-38, 61, no. 1, state i/iii; Carpenter, Jim Dine Prints 1985-2000: A Catalogue Raisonné, no. 31.