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Gene Kloss Etchings

Phillips Kloss

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ISBN 10: 0865340080 / ISBN 13: 9780865340084
Published by Sunstone Press, Santa Fe, NM, 2000
Condition: Fine Hardcover
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Fine as new hardcover in fine dust jacket. 8vo. 192pp. Illustrated with 172 etchings. With catalogue raisonne. Bookseller Inventory # 007840

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Gene Kloss Etchings

Publisher: Sunstone Press, Santa Fe, NM

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Edition: Anniversity Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

Today the name Gene Kloss, NA, is synonymous with copperplate etchings and when this book was first published by Sunstone Press in the early 80s, it quickly became a collector's item. No wonder because her limited edition prints are now becoming priceless on the art market. This 20th anniversary edition, the sole complete source of information on this outstanding artist, contains 81 black and white reproductions on 192 pages and includes a text by Gene's husband, poet and noted author Phillips Kloss. When Gene and Phillips Kloss first arrived in Taos, New Mexico, her first etching press, a sixty-pound machine, was installed at their camp in Taos Canyon by cementing it to a large rock. That press was eventually replaced by a 1,084 pound Sturges etching press purchased from a defunct greeting card company. With the years and the continual dedication came honors, national and international. The Smithsonian, the National Gallery, The Corcoran Gallery of Fine Art, the Library of Congress, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as many others, house the works of Gene Kloss in their permanent collections. From her spare life on the eastern edge of Taos with neither water nor electricity, but plenty of firewood, kerosene and inspiration, Gene Kloss informed the art world of the special beauty inherent in southwestern images: the churches, the Indian faces, the mountains and valleys, the dances and intricate rhythms of life in a part of the United States that remains essentially unchanged to this day.

Review:

''Gene Kloss Etchings is the life work in book form of one of America's finest copper plate etchers who has captured for all time the inescapable yet vanishing beauty of American Indian customs, ceremonies and tribal life. Beginning with a chronology of the early 1920s the etchings describe the places and people visited by Gene Kloss and her writer husband, Phillips, who supplies Gene Kloss Etchings with insights of a literary, social, and anthropological nature. Together the Klosses make Gene Kloss Etchings a true celebration of her many years as a major American artist and a valued contribution to Native American studies.'' --Midwest Book Review

''Gene Kloss Etchings is a superbly presented and memorable collection of impressive black-and-white art pieces by Taos, New Mexico-based artist Gene Kloss showcasing the spirit of the southwest, especially its Native American cultural traditions. Moving images enhanced with brief yet thoughtful commentary by the artist's poet husband Phillips Kloss fill the pages of this spellbinding and enthusiastically recommended artbook from cover to cover.'' --Wisconsin Bookwatch, March 2003

'A healthy artistic climate does not depend solely on the work of a handful of supremely gifted individuals. It demands the cultivation of talent and ability at all levels. It demands that everyday work, run-of-the-mill work, esoteric and unpopular work should be given a chance; not so much in the hope that genius may one day spring from it, but because, for those who make the arts their life and work, even modest accomplishment is an end in itself and a value worth encouraging. The pursuit of excellence is a proper goal, but it is not the race itself.'--Gough Whitlam, Prime Minister of Australia 1973-74, quoted in The Obstacle Race by Germaine Greer.

''The above quote exactly describes the work of longtime Taos artist Gene Kloss, whose beautifully produced book of etchings was published by Sunstone Press of Santa Fe.

Her work is the opposite of 'esoteric' and 'unpopular' and may therefore suffer in this age of fashion, novelty, hype and nervous chic. It may never set the Rio Grande on fire, but it is definitely a loving and valuable observation of Taos and the Southwest over some sixty years. As her husband Phillips Kloss notes in the introduction, 'The etchings in this volume constitute not only an aesthetic record but also a historical record. She has done over six hundred copper plate etchings, too many to be included in one book, and we have selected the ones that reveal the full scope of her work.'

Though etching certainly still exists, it is one of the mediums of reproduction that has undeniably suffered from the rise of photography. Not many artists today possess the finicky patience, the love of craft, and the dedication to pursue so difficult a medium. That Gene Kloss has produced such a large body of work is important to the overall history of Southwestern art.

She belongs, historically, to that honorable line of artists who worked when the term 'illustrator' was not a pejorative one, stretching clear back to Winslow Homer and including such distinguished American artists as John Sloan, Robert Henri, George Luks, George Bellows, Boardman Robinson and, not least, that factory full of women who worked for Currier & Ives.

If her work lacks the rhythmic sweep, the powerful fist of some of these other artists, many of her etchings display a quiet charm that is wholly unassuming.

In today's hype-economy, the prices that art commands on the market are a subject of constant discussion. Supposedly, the higher, the better. But I mean it as a compliment when I say that I wish Gene Kloss could have had the great good fortune of living when and where Hokusai (the 19th century Japanese printmaker whose name means 'old man mad about drawing') lived. It was a time when a print could be sold for the equivalent of $1.00, and thus reach a mass audience. Not a photo of a print in a book, mind you, but the thing itself. Unfortunately, that sort of world is long gone, and the next best thing remains this lovingly done book.'' --Joanne Forman, ARTlines, August 1982

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