Venetian Mirror (The Grand Canal, Venice)

John Taylor ARMS

Venetian Mirror (The Grand Canal, Venice). 1933. Etching. Fletcher 289.ii. 6 1/4 x 14 1/4 (sheet 10 3/16 x 18 1/8). Edition 169 (+ 27 trial proofs). Italian Series #27. Illustrated:Prints vol. VI, no. 2, 1935, p. 79; Eric Denker, Reflections & Undercurrents: Ernest Roth and Printmaking in Venice, 1900-1940, p. 119. Printer: David Strang. A rich impression on 'David Strang' cream laid paper with full margins. Signed, dated 1935, titled and annotated 'II' in pencil. Housed in a stunning antique 20 1/8 x 28-inch gold leaf frame.

An extensive selection of fine prints by John Taylor Arms is available on the Allinson Gallery, Inc. website

John Taylor Arms (1887-1953) is one of the foremost American printmakers of the first half of the 20th century. Arms was born in Washington, DC in 1887. He studied law at Princeton University, transferring to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, to study architecture, graduating in 1912. After serving as an officer in the United States Navy during World War I, he devoted himself full-time to etching. He published his first original etchings in 1919.

His initial subject was the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City near which he worked. Arms developed a successful career as a graphic artist in the 1920s and 1930s, specializing in series of etchings of Gothic churches and cathedrals in France and Italy. In addition to medieval subjects, Arms made a series of prints of American cities. he spent the majority of his 50-year career documenting Europe's great Gothic churches. Arms believed that art could be a tool for the spiritual and moral improvement of mankind and that Gothic cathedrals represented “the most significant expression of man's aspirations.” He viewed printmaking as a vehicle for disseminating images of subjects that would uplift and inspire contemporary society."

He used sewing needles and magnifying glasses to get a fine level of detail. A member of many printmaking societies, Arms served as president of the American Society of Graphic Artists. An educator, Arms wrote the Handbook of Print Making and Print Makers (1934) and did numerous demonstrations and lectures. Arms was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate member in 1930, and became a full member in 1933.