Saturday, August 13, 2016

William Blake in San Francisco

William Blake. Blake’s Illustrations of Dante. Plate 1: “The Circle of the Lustful: Paolo and Francesca” US: 1954 Large folio, fine, clear uniform impression on hand-made paper with no watermark, inscribed in pencil by Lessing Rosenwald.
After 50 years in the book trade and 43 years operating John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller, longtime rare book dealer, John Windle, will launch his retrospective of the artist in October, 2016, within San Francisco’s historic 49 Geary building. The first physical space exclusively dedicated to Blake's work in over two hundred years, The William Blake Gallery will display over 1,000 original blake pieces alongside thousands of reproductions of the artist’s own writings and artwork. Over the years, I have had some great talks with Mr. Windle, have been impressed by the depth and breadth of his knowledge and really look forward to seeing this collection. I don't think any of our museums have any pieces by Blake on display.

Of the decision to open a gallery of William Blake’s works, John Windle remarks: “I must be stark raving mad. Like Blake.”

William Blake (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) was an English poet, painter, and print maker. Largely unrecognized during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. His prophetic works have been said to form "what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the English language". His visual artistry led one contemporary art critic to proclaim him "far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced". Although he lived in London his entire life (except for three years spent in Felpham), he produced a diverse and symbolically rich oeuvre, which embraced the imagination as "the body of God"or "human existence itself". His work and beliefs are far to complex to be summarized in one paragraph but they include political beliefs that were revolutionary and anarchist, anti-slavery, pro free love, radical religious ideas, and a humanitarian goal of wholeness of body and spirit. His visionary works, complex and symbolic were looked upon with scorn by the critics of the day and he lived and died in poverty.

William Blake: Wikipedia

Some of the works to be shown are:

 Illustrations to Dante’s Inferno, Earliest known proof set, Seven plates and oblong folio, printed on laid paper
The Complaint of Job, 1785, Monochrome wash drawing
Songs of Innocence: “Holy Thursday”, 1789, Single sheet, printed in black, matted
• Plates from the final lifetime printing of The Gates of Paradise

• The Virgin Hushing, 1799, Tempera on paper

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