Rhea – Abstract Figures

James Goetz (1915-1946) , Rhea, etching and engraving, 1946, signed in pencil lower right, from the Primordials Portfolio, in an edition of only 30. In very good condition, printed on Murillo paper (heavy buff wove paper).  Printed at Atelier 17. The full sheet, 8 7/8 x 4 7/8, the sheet 12 7/8 x 9 3/8 inches.

A very fine, intricately engraved and printed impression.

S.W.Hayter, the famed printmaker and founder of Atelier 17, said of Goetz: “James Goetz was young. He was an artist who became a soldier; I understand a good one… An officer in the 5th Armored Division, he was wounded in action at Alencon. We who worked beside him in the atelier feel that his absence must have been regretted by his men as deeply as it is by us. He returned after convalescence to his preoccupations of before the war. The engraving medium in which, as these prints show, he found an instrument of great power, served him to state the problem of existence…But for the senseless accident which put an end to his work in June 1946 he might perhaps have found a solution in life.”

Goetz wrote of this subject: “Through the ages Kronos and Rhea produce the gods Hera, Aides, Poseidon and Zeus. Kronos, who creates only to destroy, swallows all his children at birth – but Zeus – for whom Rhea substitutes a stone. Zeus forces his father to disgorge the others and he becomes the sire of all gods and men who follow.”

A close reading of this complex abstraction yields some sense of Goetz’s meaning, and leads to a myriad of other thoughts, feelings and observations as well.