Morning on the East Side


Jerome Myers (1867-1940), Morning on the East Side, c. 1910, colored etching, signed in pencil lower right and annotated “imp.”; numbered and titled (twice) lower left. In very good condition, with full margins, 7 5/8 x 6 3/8, the sheet 11 1/2 x 8 7/8 inches, printed on a cream wove paper, archival matting.

A fine impression of this rarely encountered print, with the colors fresh, printed in brown, yellow, pink, blue.

This print is numbered 100/14, suggesting there was an edition of 100. Since we have not encountered another impression of this print, we doubt that this print was editioned at all, and suggest that – as was often the case – the numbering on this print is an expression of hoped for sales rather than an actual edition.

This print was printed by Myers personally (hence the imp annotation, Latin for impressit), using different plates for the coloring. Myers’s artistry, and printing skill, are apparent here – one can discern that the various plates used for the coloring were not registered perfectly. This gives the print a hand-crafted, unique quality all too absent in contemporary printmaking.

Myers was an actor and artist, a specialist in the American turn of the century immigrant experience, particularly those immigrants in the Lower East Side of Manhattan; and those immigrants are the subject matter of this work.

Active in the art life of the times, he was a prime mover behind the Armory Show of 1913, working with Walt Kuhn to get the (then) highly esteemed Arthur B. Davies to help arrange the show. Myer’s paintings are an important part of America’s aesthetic and historical heritage; they can be found, for example, in the National Gallery in Washington alongside those of Bellows and the members of the Ashcan school. Although his paintings show that he was a talented colorist, his etchings prove that he was (unlike several of his colleagues) also a master draughtsman, able to capture the spirit and atmosphere of the times with an impressionistic approach to printmaking.