Sea Gulls


Leo Meissner (1895-1977), Sea Gulls, wood engraving, 1936, not signed [signed and dated in the plate lower left]. Published by American Artists Group. In very good condition, on an ivory wove paper, the full sheet with full margins, 8 x 10, the sheet 13 x 18, still in the original AAG mat with the printed statement by the artist verso.

A fine impression of this dramatic image.

Although Meissner worked in several media he was a leading master of the difficult technique of wood engraving (using engraving tools to create an image on the polished hard end of the timber). Sea Gulls likely represents the birds hovering over the craggy Maine coast where he generally summered.

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, Ruzicka, Chaffetz and Lankes, among many other noted artists. Although the prices of these prints was minimal, sales were still sluggish in that difficult economy; most printings were in editions of under 200 and many under 100. Today, these prints are highly valued by discerning print collectors.