C.A. Seward

1884 - 1939

 

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Only five of Seward’s many sketch books have been found to date.  The first book in 1923 and the last in 1931-1938 contain Kansas subjects. The 1924, 1925-1930 books have sketches from both New Mexico and Kansas. The third book from 1925 contains all New Mexico subjects, including drawings for traditional New Mexican furniture.  All five books provide insight into his method of creating his prints and paintings.  In his museum guidebook on Lithographs Seward explains “It goes without saying that all things being equal, the drawing process will probably be more autographic, more direct, and more spontaneous than the engraving process, and therefore is likely to hold for us more of the individuality of the artist.” This autographic quality of the lithograph, its ability to most closely share the artist’s experience was of great importance to Seward and thus lithography was most often his chosen medium. 


The pages from his sketchbooks and the related prints  demonstrate not only his sheer joy in drawing but also Seward’s varied ways of turning his on-site sketches into his final print images. Sometimes an on-site sketch like that of Toadstool Rock (Camel Rock) in New Mexico was fluidly transferred into a final printed image. Although the details of the surrounding hills and mountains as well as the cloud filled sky were from the many other study sketches he did of both clouds and mountains.  In some instances a series of sketches became a reference point for a final printed image like Mountain Forms of 1931.  His many careful studies of trees honed his masterful ability to capture the subtle differences between an Elm and a Poplar. All of these studies became reference points for his many print images of trees.











 

Seward -  sketch books

1923

1925 - 1930

1925

1931-38

1924