(Still Life with Lilies and Roses)
(Still Life with Lilies and Roses) is a uniquely printed color woodengraving from circa 1940 by American artist Meta Hendel (1883-1970). Hendel applied oil-based inks to the blocks, brushing on the various pigments to create painterly rich colors. Each impression from the blocks was a unique work. This impression is unsigned but was printed by the artist on ivory laid Japanese paper and the image measures 18-5/8 x 25-1/4 inches.
Despite being unsigned, we are featuring this impression because it highlights Hendel’s unique approach to printmaking. This exquisite still life explodes from the picture plane due to impasto layering of rich colors that add dimension and movement to the lilies and roses. It is an achievement in printmaking that is truly unique to Meta Hendel.
Meta C. Hendel, painter and printmaker, was born Meta Cohen (Cohn) in Berlin, Germany on July 7, 1883. She later adopted the name of her finance, Hendel, after he died in World War I. Meta Hendel studied painting and graphic arts at Berlin and Paris academies. She continued her studies at the Académie Moderne in Paris studying with Fernand Léger and Amédée Ozenfant.
In 1936, Hendel left Germany and lived for brief periods in Florence, Italy and Surrey, England, before emigrating to the United States in 1941. She lived for a time in New York but eventually settled in San Francisco establishing her studio on Buena Vista Hill. She became a United States citizen in 1946 or 1947.
Hendel developed a unique technique of color woodengraving in the 1920s. Her woodengravings were featured in 1930 in the International Exhibition of Alpine Art in Budapest and three years later they were included in an exhibition in Antwerp. In 1941, she exhibited her woodengravings at the New York Public Library and, with the encouragement of Meier Schapiro, she started her own business of reproducing modern masters in color woodengraving. She produced works after Klee, Léger, Picasso, and Rouault. She described her unique approach to the medium and her techniques in How To Make A Color Wood Engraving, published in the magazine of The San Francisco Women’s Club, National League For Women’s Service, July 1946. Art teachers at Bennington College in Vermont, filmed Hendel at work creating a color woodengraving in her San Francisco studio.
Meta Hendel was a member of and exhibited with the California Society of Etchers, the San Francisco Art Association, and the San Francisco Women Artists. Her first comprehensive exhibition was mounted in San Francisco at the Legion of Honor. Hendel had solo exhibitions at the City of Paris, Raymond and Raymond Gallery, Labaudt Gallery, and the de Young Museum in San Francisco, as well as solo exhibitions in Berlin, Budapest, Florence, London, Milan, Munich, and New York.
Her work is represented in the collections of Oakland Museum of California; Mills College, Oakland, California; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts; Kupferstichkabinette, Berlin; and Museo d'Arte Moderna, the Gabinetto delle Stampe, and the Lyceum in Milan.
Meta Cohen Hendel died in Mountain View, California on June 26, 1970.