Joseph Pennell. “Café des Exiles, N.O.” [New Orleans]
1882. 4 x 5 ¼ (image). Etching. Signed and dated in upper left hand corner of image. Top margin trimmed to plate mark. Tears along left and right hand plate marks repaired with archival tape. Old glue mounting stains in margin corners. Repaired tear into image at top. Else, fair condition. Wuerth: 46.
Joseph Pennell (1860-1926) was an etcher, lithographer, illustrator and author. He is one of the best known and respected of American artists from the etching revival period. Born in Philadelphia, Pennell trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and at the Pennsylvania School of Industrial Art, and later he taught at the National Academy and the Art Students League in New York City. From 1883, Pennell spent most of his time in Europe, until 1917 when he moved back permanently to the United States. Over his distinguished and prolific career, he won many medals and awards in the United States and in Europe, and is considered one of the great etching innovators of the time. Amongst his other achievements, Pennell illustrated and authored many books, contributed to leading magazines and was one of the founders of the Philadelphia Society of Etchers.
Pennell's major influence was James McNeill Whistler, whose biography he co-authored with his wife, and much of his style and etching technique reflects Whistler's. His prints had many themes, including monuments, cities, factories and for one documentary series, the Panama Canal. Pennell printed many of his own lithographs and etchings, and he continuously experimented with techniques and materials. His work is desirable for his technique, artistic style and the varied subject matter that he so imaginatively portrayed.
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