Dorrit Black (Australian, 1891-1951) The Eruption The rare linocut printed in black, blue, green and red, circa 1929-30, an excellent impression, on buff oriental laid, an unsigned proof impression aside from the proposed edition of 50, with margins, 254 x 187mm (10 x 7 3/8in) (B)
Lot 107*
Dorrit Black
(Australian, 1891-1951)
The Eruption
Sold for £47,500 (US$ 76,239) inc. premium

Lot Details
Dorrit Black (Australian, 1891-1951) The Eruption The rare linocut printed in black, blue, green and red, circa 1929-30, an excellent impression, on buff oriental laid, an unsigned proof impression aside from the proposed edition of 50, with margins, 254 x 187mm (10 x 7 3/8in) (B)
Dorrit Black (Australian, 1891-1951)
The Eruption (Coppel DB 7)
The rare linocut printed in black, blue, green and red, circa 1929-30, an excellent impression, on buff oriental laid, an unsigned proof impression aside from the proposed edition of 50, with margins, 254 x 187mm (10 x 7 3/8in) (B)

Footnotes

  • To paraphrase Ian North, The Eruption is arguably the most interesting of all [Black's] works [inspired by her travels in Europe], if not the most successful formally and represents "the apogee of expressionism in Black's linocuts".

    The composition depicts "the eruption of Mount Etna, Italy, which Black witnessed late in 1928. The sight impressed Black deeply as

    'A very dramatic and terrible spectacle....We drove across one afternoon to Mascali just at the moment that the lava was entering the town....there seemed to be a malevolent purpose about its slow, pushing, rustling, irresistible approach....A child in our party began to cry at the sight of it.'

    The linocut may have been executed at nearby Taormina; certainly it appears to register the imprint of a still vivid experience. The phenomenon is depicted at night, increasing its spectacle and dramatic impact. As if penetrating a depressing subterranean or submarine gloom, the flow of lava zig-zags down the mountain (the top of which is not depicted, emphasising its height), threatening the cowering figure scurrying from the scene of destruction. The emphasis on the plight of the ordinary person, the power of nature and, stylistically, the bold use of angular lines and complementary colours (red and green), recalls the work of Kirchner and Pechstein."

    Black's prints very rarely appear at auction. This is the only known impression to have come to the market. The proposed edition for this linocut was 50. The highest numbered impression noted in the Coppel catalogue is No.24 exhibited at the Redfern.



    Ian North, The Art of Dorrit Black (South Melbourne: The Macmillan Company of Australia; Artarmon: the Art Gallery of South Australia, 1979), 41-42.
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