The Runway (Provincetown)


Tod Lindemuth (1885-1956), The Runway (Provincetown), color woodcut, 1917, signed in pencil lower right, titled and numbered (67/100; possibly later, see below)  lower left. On medium weight Japan paper, in very good condition, with margins (slight evidence of yellowing here and there, the slightest marginal light staining), the full sheet with deckle edges, 14 3/8 x 11 1/8, the sheet 18 x 15 1/2 inches, archival mounting with window mat.

A fine, carefully printed impression of this important – and rare – American early modernist woodcut.

Although the print is annotated with a number, we believe this is probably not evidence of the number of impressions made (and this misnumbering of prints was not unusual at that time); in fact this print appears to be exceedingly rare, and probably was not made in an edition at all. When Lindemuth’s daughter was interviewed for the artist’s file for the Archives of American Art (Smithsonian Institute) she noted that this print was “one of the few color wood blocks I’m aware of, it’s of the fish hauling runways in Provincetown in 1917.”

A variant of this print (from the collection of the New York Public Library), without the background structure (the runway, in fact) is pictured in Una Johnson’s American Prints and Printmakers (page 14). There it’s called “Low Tide.” (We have another Lindemuth print which he titled “Low Tide” which bears no resemblance to either of these.)

Lindemuth, a painter, was one of a number of American artists (including the Zorachs, Max Weber, BJO Nordfeldt) who were influenced by European Modernim and  Japonisme, and who made woodcuts (often in Provincetown) in the 1915-1925 period; these were in many respects the beginnings of American Modernism.