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Building a Babylon, Tudor City, NY. 1929. Drypoint. McCarron 76. 12 7/8 x 7 7/8 (sheet 16 5/8 x 12 1/4). 6th trial proof (McCarron records 84 impressions including 4 trial proofs). Illustrated: L'Amérique de la Dépression: Artistes Engagés des Années 30, Musée-Galerie de la Seita, Paris, 1996. A rich impression printed on FJ Head cream-laid paper with a partial initial countermark and a hand watermark. A rare proof, unknown to McCarron. Annotated '6th trial proof' and signed 'Martin Lewis imp' in pencil, indicating an impression printed by the artist. Housed in a 23 x 17-inchHoused in a 10 1/4 x 24 1/4-inch period gold leaf frame. $12,500.
Bay Windows. 1929. Drypoint and sandpaper ground. McCarron 80. 11 5/8 x 7 7/8 (29.7 by 19.4 cm.) (sheet 16 5/8 x 10 1/2 (42.4 by 26.9.). Edition 104. A fine impression printed on wove paper with wide margins. Good condition apart from a very faint mat line. Signed and annotated "imp" in pencil, indicating a proof printed by the artist. $37,500
Cathedral Steps. 1931. Drypoint. McCarron 93. 10 1/2 x 16 3/4 (sheet 14 x 20). Edition 42 recorded impressions (including 7 trial proofs). A richly inked impression printed on cream wove paper. Signed in pencil. $25,000.
Derricks at Night. 1927. Drypoint. McCarron 62.ii. 7 7/8 x 11 7/8 (sheet 11 1/2 x 16 1/8). Edition of 104 recorded impressions. Illustrated: Contemporary American Etching, American Art Dealers Association, New York, 1930. A rich impression printed on cream wove paper, with full. Signed and annotated 'imp' in pencil, indicating a proof printed by the artist.$11,000.
(Dock Workers under the Brooklyn Bridge). c. 1916-18. Aquatint and etching. McCarron 15. 17 3/4 x 23 3/4 (sheet 26 x 31). 5 recorded impressions (including 4 trial proofs), plus a proposed edition of 100 issued by Kennedy Galleries in 1973 (fewer proofs were printed). A rich impression printed on cream wove paper with full margins. Annotated '26/100' and signed 'Martin Lewis (L. D. L. 1973) by Louise Deming, the artist's wife. Housed in a dramatic 26 1/2 x 31 1/2-inch black/brown wood frame. $10,000.
Fifth Avenue Bridge. 1928. Drypoint. McCarron 72. 9 7/8 x 12 (sheet 12 3/4 x 15). Edition of 108 recorded impressions. A rich impression printed on cream laid paper, with full margins. Signed in pencil. Housed in a 22 x 24-inch modernist gold leaf frame. $18,000.
The Glow of the City. 1929. Drypoint. McCarron 77. 11 1/4 x 14 1/4 (sheet 14 1/8 x 18 3/4). Edition of 110 recorded impressions, including 4 trial proofs. Illustrated: American Etchers: Martin Lewis; Fine Prints of the Year, 1930. A rich impression printed on Kalmer Swedish paper, with full margins. Signed and annotated "imp" in pencil, indicating a proof printed by the artist. $65,000.
Quarter of Nine, Saturday's Children. 1929. Drypoint. McCarron 78. 9 3/4 x 12 3/4 (sheet 12 7/8 x 17 7/8). Illustrated: American Etchers: Martin Lewis. Edition 107. A fine impression printed on Swedish cream wove paper with full margins. Signed and annotated "imp" in pencil, indicating a proof printed by the artist. Housed in a 19 3/8 x 21 3/8 1-inch black stepped wood frame. $35,000.
Relics (Speakeasy Corner). 1928. Drypoint. McCarron 74. 11 7/8 x 9 7/8 (sheet 17 1/8 x 13 3/4). Edition of 111. Illustrated: American Etchers: Martin Lewis; Contemporary American Etching, American Art Dealers Association, New York, 1930. A brilliant, luminous impression with rich, velvety burr, printed on cream laid paper. Signed in pencil. $70,000.
Shadows on the Ramp. 1927. Drypoint and sand ground. McCarron 64. 9 x 10 1/2 (sheet 12 3/8 x 14). Edition 75 recorded impressions. A rich, tonal impression with drypoint burr, printed on cream wove paper. Signed in pencil. Housed in a striking French mat and a 19 1/8 x 21 3/8-inch black wood modernist frame. $10,000.
Skyline, New York. 1919. Etching and drypoint. McCarron 36. 8 7/8 x 10 3/8 (sheet 12 1/4 x 14 . 11 recorded impressions (intended edition 50. Lewis states that he destroyed 6 of the 11 proofs returned to him by Kennedy). A luminous impression printed on beige wove paper. An extremely rare image as apparently only 5 proofs are noted. Signed in pencil. Housed in an archival French mat and a, 18 1/2 x 20 x 1 1/4-inch modernist gold leaf frame. $8,500
Snow on the 'El'. 1931. Drypoint and sandpaper ground. McCarron 95. 14 x 8 7/8 (sheet 16 3/4 by 11 7/8). Edition 49 recorded impressions (including 5 trial proofs). A rich, tonal impression with wide margins in good condition. Signed in pencil. $55,000.
Spring Night, Greenwich Village. 1930. Drypoint and sand ground. McCarron 85. 10 x 12 3/8 (sheet 13 1/4 x 15 5/8). Edition 92. A rich, tonal impression printed on laid paper. Housed in a 21 x 22 1/2-inch gold and silver Art Deco style frame. Signed in pencil. $20,000.
Stoops in Snow. 1930. Drypoint and sandpaper ground. McCarron 89.ii. 9 3/4 x 14 3/4 (sheet 13 7/16 x 18 7/16 ). Edition 115 recorded impressions. Illustrated: American Etchers: Martin Lewis; Cortissoz, Contemporary American Prints, 1931; "The Grand Central's Second Print Anniversary," Prints (November, 1932):41. A rich, tonal impression printed on white laid paper with full margins. Signed in pencil. Housed in a stunning archival black mat and a 20 x 24 3/4-inch modernist black wood frame. $35,000.
Two A.M. 1932. Drypoint. McCarron 101.ii. 8 3/4 x 14 3/4 (sheet 13 3/8 X 18 7 13/16). Edition 44 recorded impressions, including 3 trial proofs. A rich,atmospheric impression printed on cream laid paper with full margins. Annotated '$36' in the lower right-hand margin; signed in pencil. Housed in a 17 1/8 x 22 1/2-inch silver wood frame. $30,000.
Yorkville Night. 1947. Drypoint. McCarron 140. 8 1/2 x 11 3/8 (sheet 10 7/8 x 14 1/2). Edition of 18 recorded impressions, including 1 trial proof. Provenance: Henry Christensen, III. A brilliant, luminous impression with rich, velvety burr, printed on cream laid paper. An extremely rare image. Signed in pencil. Housed in a dramatic 17 x 19 3/4-inch beaded gold leaf frame. $40,000.
Day's End. 1937. Drypoint. McCarron 120.ii/iii. Sixth trial proof. 9 3/4 x 13 1/2 (sheet 13 7/16/4 x 17). Edition 34 proofs (including 8 trial proofs). A rich, glowing impression with carefully-wiped plate tone printed on cream wove paper. Illustrated: Fine Prints of the Year, 1937. Ex-collection Patricia Lewis. Signed in pencil. $32,500.
The Passing Freight, Danbury. 1934. Drypoint and sand ground. McCarron 108. 8 7/8 x 14 7/8 (sheet 12 1/7 x 17 5/8). Edition 46 (including 6 trial proofs). A rich, tonal impression printed on cream laid paper with full margins. Signed in pencil. Housed in a stunning 19 1/4 x 23 1/2 inch gold frame. $27,500.
Martin Lewis (1881-1962) was born in Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia on 7 June 1881. He was the second of eight children and had a passion for drawing. At the age of 15, he left home and traveled in New South Wales, Australia, and in New Zealand, working as a pothole digger and a merchant seaman. He returned to Sydney and settled into a Bohemian community outside Sydney. Two of his drawings were published in the radical Sydney newspaper, The Bulletin. He studied with Julian Ashton at the Art Society's School in Sydney. Ashton, an English-born Australian artist and teacher, known for his support of the Heidelberg School and for his influential art school in Sydney. In 1900, Lewis left Australia for the United States. His first job was in San Francisco, painting stage decorations for William McKinley's presidential campaign of 1900. By 1909, Lewis was living in New York, where he found work in commercial illustration. His earliest known etching is dated 1915. However, the level of skill in this piece suggests he had been working in the medium for some time previously. It was during this period that he helped Edward Hopper learn the basics of etching. In 1920, after the breakup of a romance, Lewis traveled to Japan, where for two years he drew and painted and studied Japanese art. The influence of Japanese prints is very evident in Lewis's prints after that period. In 1925, he returned to etching and produced most of his well-known works between 1925 and 1935 Lewis's first solo exhibition in 1929 was successful enough for him to give up commercial work and concentrate entirely on printmaking.
Lewis is most famous for his black and white prints, mostly of night scenes of non-tourist, real life street scenes of New York City. During the Depression, however, he was forced to leave the city for four years between 1932 and 1936 and move to Newtown, Connecticut. His work from this period includes a number of rural, night-time and winter scenes in this area. Lewis returned to Manhattan in 1936 and continued to etch and paint. He taught printmaking at the Art Students League of New York from 1944 until his retirement in 1952. Now he is considered one of the most important American printmakers of the twentieth century.
American Fine Prints.
New York Images.
Allinson Gallery Index.
Framed Works of Art.
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