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The Owl that calls upon the Night speaks the Unbeliever's Fright, from Auguries of Innocence by William Blake

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Leonard Baskin, The Owl that calls upon the Night speaks the Unbeliever's Fright, from Auguries of Innocence by William Blake, 1968, wood engraving on Japanese vellum, Bequest of Dr. Francis J. Newton, © The Estate of Leonard Baskin; Courtesy Galerie St. Etienne, New York, 2007.65.3

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Details
Title

The Owl that calls upon the Night speaks the Unbeliever's Fright, from Auguries of Innocence by William Blake

Artist

Leonard Baskin (American, 1922-2000)

Related People

author: William Blake (English, 1757-1827)

Date

1968

Medium

wood engraving on Japanese vellum

Edition

21/100

Dimensions (H x W x D)

image: 4 13/16 in x 3 3/8 in; sheet: 9 in x 6 1/16 in

Collection Area

Graphic Arts

Category

Prints

Object Type

relief print

Culture

American

Credit Line

Bequest of Dr. Francis J. Newton

Accession Number

2007.65.3

Copyright

© The Estate of Leonard Baskin; Courtesy Galerie St. Etienne, New York

Terms

Japanese vellum

owl

relief printing

relief prints

wood engraving

Place Made

Created in: New York

Description

From the trade publication, Auguries of Innocence by William Blake, Grossman Publishers, New York.

In 1942, while a student at Yale University, Leonard Baskin learned that the visionary artist and poet William Blake had printed his own books. Baskin described the discovery as akin to being hit by a locomotive. He promptly learned the art of printing and founded the Gehenna Press. Gehenna produced over 100 handcrafted books and portfolios throughout Baskin’s lifetime. It was the longest running private press until the artist’s death in 2000.

Trade publications were occasionally issued of Gehenna Press books such Auguries of Innocence by William Blake, which was first published by Gehenna in 1959 for the Print Club of Philadelphia, and later made into a trade volume by Grossman Publishers of New York in 1968. The latter version, which is now in the Crumpacker library, contained this original wood engraving on Japanese vellum. Titled after a line in the poem, The Owl that calls upon the Night speaks the Unbeliever’s Fright consists of one of Baskin’s recurring motifs in his work: the owl. The bird was often used by Baskin for its ancient symbolism associated with wisdom.

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