Sailing (Provincetown)


William Zorach (1887-1966), Sailing (Provincetown), 1916, linocut, signed and titled (as Provincetown). In generally good condition, on tan Japan paper, with margins (staining and thin spots from prior hinging at top margin edge, away from image). 10 11/16 x 8 9/16, the sheet 12 1/5 x 10 1/8 inches, archival mounting (non-attached mylar hinging, acid free window mat).

A fine proof impression of this rarity, hand rubbed by the artist in an oily black ink.

In his landmark article “The Prints of William Zorach” (Print Quarterly, Vol. XIX, December, 2002) Efram Burke accounts for only 6 impressions (all in black and white) of Sailing (Provincetown) in public institutions: Brooklyn Museum, NY Public Library, Boston MFA, Ackland Art Museum (UNC at Chapel Hill), Philadelphia MFA, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Burke notes that the sails of the boat (holding a family which could be Zorach’s) are left mostly transparent, enabling the viewer to see more of the coastline. Provincetown landmarks are visible, including the uniform wharves of the city along the water, and at the center, the tower known as the Pilgrim Monument.

William Zorach was a pioneering American modernist. Born in Lithuania, his parents migrated to Cleveland when he was four. After working as an apprentice commercial lithographer he studied art in Cleveland and New York, then in Paris from 1909 to 1911. He eventually became best known as a modernist American sculptor, but before that he and his wife Marguerite spent a number of summers in New England, including four in Provincetown where they made prints inspired by the New England countryside and coast.