BISHOP, Isabel (1902-1988)
Eight Etchings 1930-1959
New York: Sylvan Cole Gallery, 1985. Quarto. (13 1/4 x 10 inches). Portfolio with complete text and 8 etchings, printed by Stephen Sholinsky at Stem Graphics, New York, and published by Associated American Artists, New York. Each etching signed by Bishop and numbered I/VII. Sheet size: (12 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches). Plate mark: (6 3/4 x 5 1/2 inches).
Publisher's gray clamshell cloth box, upper cover and spine lettered in gilt.
One of seven sets of artist's proofs, with each of the 8 etchings signed and numbered by Bishop, a groundbreaking twentieth-century social realist.
Upon packing up her Union Square studio in 1983, Bishop discovered a small group of original copper printing plates from 1930-1959 which had only been used for one or two proofs and had otherwise not been printed. As the colophon relates: "Until this printing, only proofs of these images were ever printed. This printing was done on Rives Heavyweight paper by Stephen Sholinsky of Stem Graphics, New York . . . The total number of impressions pulled from each plate is 60." There is a regular edition of 50, seven artist's proofs (as the present), a Whitney proof in the collection of the Whitney Museum of Art, a "bon a tirer" suite, and a printer's proof set. Following production of the work the original copper plates were cancelled. A pioneering social realist, Isabel Bishop documented urban life in New York City, especially around Union Square where she long kept her studio. Bishop taught at the Art Students League of New York, where she was the only woman teacher. As a writer for the National Museum for Women in the Arts explains, "After moving to Union Square in 1926, she became enamored of the area and its inhabitants. Shop girls, straphangers, laborers, and derelicts became her models as they traversed. By capturing their motions and gestures in prints, Bishop produced the walking figures for which she is best known." The eight etching plates, each signed by Bishop and numbered I/VII, comprise: "Sleeping Man" (1930); "Delayed Departure" (1935); "Putting on the Jacket" (1945); "Park Bench" (1946); "In the Square" (1949); "Sweet Sixteen" (1954); "Lunch Break" (1956); "Girl at Soda Fountain" (1959).