Repose (Reclining Figure Under a Tree)

Woodcut of reclining man under a tree (comb tooth lines for man and tree)

Artist: John Storrs (1885–1956)
Title: Repose (Reclining Figure Under a Tree), circa 1920
Medium: woodcut
Size: 6.375 x 6.375 inches (16.2 x 16.2 cm)

In his 2005 essay on "The Early Woodcuts of John Storrs" the scholar Daniel Schulman wrote:

Ezra Pound's begrudging acceptance of the extravagant poetic achievement of Walt Whitman can be read as emblematic of the artistic position of Pound's colleague and exact contemporary, John Storrs (1885 - 1956).  Like Pound, Storrs was an American who spent much of his life in Europe in order to play a role in the development of modernism.  But if Pound made peace with Whitman - the effusive and uncouth father-figure, the rootstock of the American character - Storrs embraced him.  Indeed, the principle, though ultimately unfulfilled, project of Storrs's early maturity revolved around Whitman.  It took many forms and was central to the development of Storrs's woodcuts.  Pound's metaphor of Whitman breaking new wood, and the need to carve it, applies quite well to Storr's work of the 1910's, for Storrs was a carver in a double sense - as a sculptor, and as a maker of woodblock prints.  The cross-fertilization between works in these two complementary forms of expression ... let to breakthroughs in both media....

John Storrs's remarkable achievement in printmaking in the years 1916 to 1920 has largely been overshadowed by the attention paid to his contributions to the field of modern sculpture.  However, the variety and breadth of his invention in graphic art, and its role in the develompent of Storrs's sculptural work, merits reconsideration.