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HVVACC Exhibits

Modernity vs. Nature: 20th Century Woodcut Prints

Image of item
Elsa Bates Freund
printing ink
woodcut (print)
12.7 x 15.24 cm (5 x 6 inches)

Elsa “Elsie” Bates Freund was a 20th century American art jeweler and painter.

As a child, Bates grew up on a 1,500 acre game preserve in Taney County, Missouri; she also lived within the vicinity of the scenic Ozark Mountains which often served as inspiration for her art later in her career.

This print depicts an abstracted scene of various sea birds congregating on an old wharf. While some birds float free on top of the water, others perch on pier pillars above them. The pillars jut out of the water at haphazard angles and draw the viewer’s eye to each bird. Large areas of white are used to delineate undulating waves and to depict a sizable cloud that almost engulfs two birds near the top of the composition.

Bates’ expressive rendering of this aquatic scene is telling of her lifelong appreciation of nature.