Boat Scene in Central Park


Jan Matulka (1890-1972), Boat Scene in Central Park, etching and drypoint, 1923 [initialed in the plate JM and bearing signature by another hand lower right]. Reference: Flint 20, second state (of three), a proof impression. In very good condition, with margins (the usual ink marks in the margins as typical of proofs pulled by Matulka), on J Whatman wove paper, with the J Whatman 1923 watermark, 10 3/4 x 13 1/2, the sheet 13 3/4 x 16 1/2 inches, archival mounting.

A very fine rich and fresh impression of this night scene, with a moderate veil of platetone overall, wiped only slightly more on figures in foreground and around the lamp, and with the burr from the drypoint work strong.

The British Museum recently exhibited their impression of this rare work in their landmark show “The American Scene.” Their impression, also an unsigned proof, has the same watermark and although they identified its state as between first and second, appears to be the same state as this proof (Flint’s description calls for the addition of considerable linework to the lamp, sky, platform, fence and figures in the third state, but the differences between the first two states are not so clear).

The evening boat scene in New York’s Central Park was a subject of great interest to Matulka, who returned to it a number of times in prints and paintings.