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|The Prints of Luis Quintanilla:
A Catalogue Raisonné
|Catalogue Entry #: 58
Title: Museum of Modern Art Swept by Fire*
Series: New York Prints ("Life in Manhattan")
Edition: Currently Unknown (CU)****
Dimensions: 19 3/8 x 16 in. (49.2 x 40.6 cm)*****
The proposed but never published book "Life in Manhattan" was intended to be Quintanilla's "poetic/artistic commentary on the myriad scenes" he encountered as he first experienced New York. The exiled artist arrived in the United States from facist Spain as the Spanish Civil War was ending and was fascinated by his new city, so different from Madrid and anything he had known in Europe (Quintanilla, Paul. Art and World of Luis Quintanilla).
As a precursor to this set of visual impressions of Manhattan, "the artist created at least 140 small sketches on scraps of paper," hasty studies performed as he wandered about the city. (To view a sampling of these sketches from Paul Quintanilla's website "The Art and World of Luis Quintanilla," please click here.) The only images actually intended for inclusion in the never published book are eleven lithographs, Museum of Modern Art Swept by Fire being one of them. To view thumbnails of all eleven lithographs, click here.
*Title and other annotations: At least one impression of each of the "Life in Manhattan" lithographs is titled in pencil (hand-printed), l.l. or l.c. (here lower left), just below the image. (See immediately below.) Although it is uncertain if these titles are in the artist's hand, they were undoubtedly known to him and are hence accepted as the titles of the lithographs for this catalogue raisonné.
**Date: The c.1940 dating for Quintanilla's "Life in Manhattan" lithographs is currently based on the date, 1940, inscribed on the Museum of Modern Art's impression of the lithograph, Museum of Modern Art, a print from this series. No other observed impressions from the series are dated, but as they were all created for the same project, the date of one can likely be attributed to the others.
***Medium: MoMA's catalogue entry for its impression of the Museum of Modern Art from this series says, "Lithograph printed from two zinc plates." Given the similarity of technique found in all of the "Life in Manhattan" series lithographs, it is likely they were all made in a similar fashion.
****Edition: Very little is known regarding an edition number for any of the lithographs from the "Life in Manhattan" series. One or two impressions of each image exist in the estate of the artist, while only a few impressions of lithographs from the series have been located outside of the estate.
*****Dimensions: It should be noted that Museum of Modern Art Swept by Fire is larger than the other lithographs in the "Life in Manhattan" grouping.
******Signature: Signed impressions from "Life in Manhattan" have rarely been observed; however, MoMA's impression of Museum of Modern Art as well as one other impression of that print bear a pencil signature. So do at least two impressions of Rockefeller Center and one of Washington Square.
Color: It is currently undetermined how the elements of color were added or if they exist on impressions other than the reproduced one above.
Setting: The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) New York, was founded in 1929. MoMA moved to its current location on West 53rd Street between 5th and Sixth Avenues in 1932 and its present building was dedicated in 1939. It has undergone several major renovations since. (Research into whether this image refers to an actual fire at MoMA is underway.)
Quintanilla came to the United States in January, 1938 primarily because The Museum of Modern Art was to mount an exhibition of his drawings of the Spanish Civil War. The exhibition opened in April and ran for a month. It then traveled to various museums around the country. (For further information about this exhibition, visit the Chronology on the website, The Art and World of Luis Quintanilla and follow the appropriate links.)
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