A Summer Day


Rudolph Ruzicka (1883-1978), A Summer Day, wood engraving, 1936, unsigned [with the initial R in the plate; the AAG logo, title, name, address stamp verso). Published by the American Artists Group. In very good condition, in the original AAG mat, the full sheet with full margins, 5 1/16 x 7 7/8 inches, the sheet 13 x 18 inches.

A fine impression, still in its original mat as issued.

The American Artists Group was formed in 1934, during the Great Depression, with the express purpose of providing unsigned inexpensive prints which were to be widely distributed. AAG published prints by Ganso, Spruance, Meissner, and Lankes, among many other noted artists. Although the prices of these prints was minimal, the editions were still not sold out; most printings were under 200 and many under 100. Ironically, today, these prints are considered rare collector’s items.

On the reverse of the mat for this print these words are written: This print is an original woodcut made by me and printed from the block with my approval. It is issued exclusively in this form and its price is made possible by the edition being neither signed nor limited – Rudolph Ruzicka. (Of course the edition was in fact limited, in large part by the market.)

Rudolph Ruzicka was an eminent wood engraver, etcher, illustrator, book designer and inventor of typographic fonts. He came to the US from Bohemia, living first in Chicago where he took drawing lessons at Hull House and later becoming an apprentice wood engraver. From 1900 to 1902 he studied at the Chicago art institute, and in 1903 moved to New York where he worked as an engraver and furthered his artistic studies. He went on to achieve fame as a book illustrator, artist and typographer. As a wood engraver he surely was influenced by the 19th Century French master August Lepere, and in turn Ruzicka influenced generations of American artists and illustrators who worked in the difficult and exacting field of wood engraving.