Woman Sewing (Esther Lorena Upton)

Woman Sewing (Esther Lorena Upton)

Based on one other known etching of the sitter, the subject of this interior study of a woman sewing is Esther Lorena Upton. Born in 1890 in Flint, Michigan, she was a student who earned a diploma in Household Arts (Group 1-2)  from Columbia University Teachers College in 1913, the same year she married fellow student Charles James Martin. The artwork is an etching printed on watermarked rag plate paper. (from a cold plate by means of the retroussage method)  (1.)

American modernist artist Charles James Martin (1886-1955) studied with Arthur Wesley Dow, and later taught alongside him at Columbia University Teachers College. At TC, he also studied photography with Clarence H. White, and became an instructor at White’s School of Photography in 1918. Martin began teaching at the Art Students League of New York in 1921. The following background on Martin and his involvement with the White school appeared in the February, 1921 issue of “The Touchstone and the American Art Student Magazine”:

“The Clarence H. White School of Photography announces a course of instruction in Print Making by Prof. Charles J. Martin of the Department of Fine Arts, Columbia University. The purpose of the course is to develop an appreciation of prints through a study of fine examples and particularly through practice in etching plates, cutting blocks and printing. There will be also an opportunity to do photo-engraving such as the line cut and photogravure. The course will consist of twenty sessions. The earlier sessions are now under way, and the response to this announcement gives evidence that the student of the Photographic Arts is endeavoring to gain practical knowledge as well as artistic reproduction.” (p. 406)

print notes: signed in graphite at lower right corner outside of plate impression: Charles J Martin; along right lower margin in graphite: rag  retroussage  cloth  cold plate; title devised by this website.

provenance: acquired by PhotoSeed 2013 from California heir to the Charles James Martin estate.

1. Definition of retroussage. plural -s. : the wiping of an inked engraved plate with a cloth so as to draw up a slight amount of ink to the edges of the filled lines and soften the definition of the lines when printed. (Merriam-Webster)

Woman Sewing (Esther Lorena Upton)

Image Dimensions20.2 x 15.2 cm

Support Dimensions26.0 x 19.9 cm