Richard Correll "Pacification" linocut, 1970  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Artist
Correll, Richard V., 1904-1990
Title
Richard Correll "Pacification" linocut
Dates
1970 (inclusive)
Quantity
1 linocut
Collection Number
PH0759
Summary
Politically themed linocut by Pacific Northwest artist
Repository
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
98195-2900
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
speccoll@uw.edu
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public.

Languages
English
Sponsor
Funding for encoding this finding aid was partially provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Richard V. "Dick" Correll (1904-1990), described as "one of the leading masters of printmaking in the West", was best known for his powerful black and white linoleum cuts, etchings and woodblock prints. For most of his life he earned a living as a commercial artist in the book publishing and advertising fields while producing a large body of fine art in his own time. His themes ranged from landscapes, animals and agricultural scenes, harbors and ships, and music and dance to those which reflected his lifelong concern with political and social issues. As one curator wrote, "the maturity of his technique, with its rich textures and dramatic contrasts, combines with a wide range of subject matter to produce a body of work of great warmth, power, and depth". Correll stated that, above all, he was a humanist.

Born in Missouri 1904, Richard Correll spent most of his life in the three West Coast states, spending his early years in small farms or towns in Oregon and California. He absorbed his intellectual thirst -- and the craft of fine woodworking - from his father, a lawyer, school teacher, master carpenter, and voracious reader, and the love of art and music from his mother, a musician trained at Oberlin. A natural artist from early childhood, by the age of four Dick was cutting perfect farm animals out of paper with his mother's sewing scissors. He was largely self-taught: "I combed the library of every place we moved to for reproductions and critical articles on artwork or artists. I’m a constant student." He also became sensitized to the environment early on through working in his family’s small garden plots and farms and caring for the occasional family cow, horse or flock of chickens.

By the later 1920s the family had moved to Los Angeles. Dick's father and uncle began building houses there during the housing boom, with Dick doing the architectural drafting and his younger brother the electrical work. The two young men helped their father and brother with everything from basic construction to fine cabinetry. After the building boom collapsed with the Depression, Dick opened a couple of sign shops and did sign painting and calligraphy. He took a few art classes at what was then Chouinard Art Institute, but never attended as a matriculated student. He continued to sketch and draw on his own.

Dick's political thinking deepened with the Depression and seeing flocks of people uprooted by the Dust Bowl, hungry and homeless, stream into California. He began to see that art could be a vehicle to express ideas.

Correll specialized in printmaking, primarily wood and linoleum block prints, but produced etchings and lithographs as well. In addition, he produced drawings, gouache paintings and two murals. Especially notable from Correll's WPA period is a suite of prints depicting the legendary American folk hero, Paul Bunyan. In one exhibition catalogue these were described to be "as large in spirit as their inspiration."

During the Seattle years, Correll was a founding member of the Washington Artists' Union. He married his wife Alice in 1938. He had several solo shows and exhibited widely in national juried group shows (Print Club of Philadelphia, the California Etcher's Society, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's Print Annual.) In 1939 his work was exhibited at the New York World’s Fair. Many of the works from the WPA period are today in the collections of museums, universities, and public buildings and continue to be shown and circulated. His murals of Paul Bunyan remain in a high school in Bremerton, Washington.

Curator and fine print dealer M. Lee Stone writes, "In 1941 Correll and his wife moved to New York City where he remained for 11 years working in the commercial art field. New York's commercial and fine art scenes, however, were not without their difficulties. While commercial work paid decently, Correll always thought it a 'sorry thing' to use one's artistic abilities to sell products. His values were completely opposed to those of Madison Avenue, and this contradiction plagued him throughout his commercial career.

As America entered World War II, Correll, at 36, was too old for the draft. He joined the Civilian Defense Corps as an Air Raid Warden in the Greenwich Village area. He also did artwork for Civil Defense, producing dozens of pro bono flyers, banners, signs and posters for various causes." Daughter Leslie was born in 1944.

After joining the Artists League of America (ALA), an organization of progressive artists and sculptors "devoted to social, cultural, and economic interest of artists", Correll served as Publication Chair of the ALA News from 1943 on, and by 1946 was Editor. Membership in those years included Rockwell Kent, Lynd Ward, Jacob Lawrence and Moses Soyer. He exhibited regularly with ALA, and his linocut, "Air Raid Wardens" was included in the "Artists for Victory" travelling exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and 26 other venues in the USA and Canada.

Correll remarked, “New York was an especially exciting place for an artist during these years. Murals by the Mexican artists could be seen in the School for Social Research as well as in the Museum of Modern Art. Refugees from fascist persecution were bringing over the latest European art theories.” George Grosz was teaching at the Art Students League. Correll knew Fritz Eichenberg, Robert Gwathmey and Miguel Covarrubias among others. Receiving serious attention in New York for the first time were works by Kathe Kollwitz, Edvard Munch, Miguel Covarrubias, Joseph Cornell, and the major collection of African sculpture owned by fellow ALA member Ladislas Segy. Fellow artists Norman Barr, Harry Roth and Abe Blashko were good friends of the Corrells.

In 1952 Dick had had enough of Madison Avenue and the family moved back to the West Coast, this time to San Francisco. Soon Dick joined the newly-formed Graphic Arts Workshop and Printmaker’s Gallery of San Francisco, a dynamic group of progressive artist-activists who shared studio and exhibition space as well as the desire to serve the ideals of peace and social justice through their artwork. The GAW was then located in North Beach, which threw Dick into the vital art and cultural movement of the 50’s. Through his lifelong membership in the Workshop he and met and worked with many other noted San Francisco artists and muralists of his generation such as Emmy Lou Packard, Irving Fromer, Victor Arnautoff, William Wolff, Louise Gilbert, Pele de Lappe and Stanley Koppel. In 1954 he realized a lifelong dream of visiting México, the famous Taller de Gráfica Popular and the great works of Rivera, Orozco and Siqueiros that had so influenced him and his generation.

In 1969 Correll happily retired from the commercial art field and was able to work full time at his fine art. The family moved to Oakland, across the Bay from San Francisco in 1972, where Dick could at last have a garden and a large studio. Upon the occasion of his 80th birthday he was honored with a major retrospective exhibition and community celebration. He died in 1990 at the age of 85. A monograph on his work (Richard V. Correll: Prints and Drawings) was published in 2005, to recognize the centenary of his birth.

On two occasions Correll participated with other artists in an attempt to form a union: in Washington with the Washington Artists Union and in New York City with the Artists League of America. Colleagues in the latter included Rockwell Kent, Lynd Ward, Philip Evergood, Ladislas Segy, Harry Gottlieb, Robert Gwathmey, Moses Sawyer, Art Young and Harry Sternberg. Correll served as the organization's Publications Chair and Editor of the A.L.A. News.

Correll's gentle and reserved demeanor was in sharp contrast to what San Francisco art critic Thomas Albright saw as the "remarkable boldness and strength" of his artwork. His themes often reflected his social conscience and he was attracted by heroic acts committed by everyday people in the struggle to achieve respect, freedom, and human rights. He marched with César Chávez and the United Farm Workers on their historic journey from Delano to Sacramento, contributed to and mounted the inaugural exhibition for the S.F. Afro-American Historical and Cultural Society, and created countless posters, leaflets, signs, and exhibits to civil rights, Native American, senior, labor, environmental, and world peace groups.

-Text excerpted courtesy of Correll Studios, www.richardvcorrell.com. Copyright © 2012, Correll Studios. All rights reserved. Sources Correll Studios. "About Richard V. Correll and His Work" www.richardvcorrell.com. Retrieved November 28, 2012 from http://www.richardvcorrell.com/about/ Correll, Richard V., DeWitt Cheng, Lincoln Cushing, and Leslie Correll. 2005. Richard V. Correll: prints and drawings. Oakland, Calif: Correll Studios. Grijalva, Brian. "Richard Correll and the Woodcut Graphics of the Voice of Action," Communism in Washington State History and Memory Project Retrieved November 28, 2012 from http://depts.washington.edu/labhist/cpproject/correll.shtml.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Though Correll worked largely in woodcut, this piece is done using linocut, a relief print process similar to woodcut which uses linoleum rather than wood as the medium. The print depicts seven figures in a desolate landscape, viewed through a barbed wire fence and has been interpreted as an image of Vietnamese people standing helpless behind barbed wire in defoliated landscape.

The print is signed and numbered 6/100 by the artist.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Restrictions may exist on reproduction, quotation, or publication. Contact Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries for details.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Barbed wire--Art
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Art
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Linocut