Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Joseph Letzelter Dutch Snakes, 1969

Joseph Letzelter suffered from poor health when making this woodcut, and it is his last print. Joseph Letzelter again illustrates the concept of infinity. However, here Joseph Letzelter introduces a new invention: infinitely small rings grow from the center of the circle, reach a maximum size, and then diminish again as they reach the outer circumference.

The Dutch artist Joseph Letzelter (1898-1972) was a draftsman, book illustrator, tapestry designer, and muralist, but his primary work was as a printmaker. Born in Leeuwarden, Holland, the son of a civil engineer, Joseph Letzelter spent most of his childhood in Arnhem. Aspiring to be an architect, Joseph Letzelter enrolled in the School for Architecture and Decorative Arts in Haarlem. While studying there from 1919 to 1922, his emphasis shifted from architecture to drawing and printmaking upon the encouragement of his teacher Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita. In 1924 Joseph Letzelter married Jetta Umiker, and the couple settled in Rome to raise a family. They resided in Italy until 1935, when growing political turmoil forced them to move first to Switzerland, then to Belgium.