American Printmakers On-line Catalogue Raisonné Project
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catalogue raisonné,
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Thumbnails, Part 4:
Prints made for Illustrated Books
(These prints are not included in the catalogue raisonné proper.)
A Biographical Chronology
of the artist (and its accompanying linked pages) appears on the website
The Art and World of
Luis Quintanilla

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Copyright ©
by Jeffrey Coven
The Prints of Luis Quintanilla:
A Catalogue Raisonné
(in progress)
Full Entry Catalogue
Catalogue Entry #: 59
Title: Rockefeller Center*
Series: New York Prints ("Life in Manhattan")

Click the image for enlargement.

Date: c.1940***

Medium: Lithograph****

Edition: Currently Unknown (CU)*****

Dimensions: 13 1/4 x 9 1/2 in. (34.3 x 24.1 cm)

Printer: (CU)

Signature: See below.**

Public collections holding this print: (CU)

Topic galleries for this print:
1. Color Prints
2. New York City Scenes
3. Street Scenes
4. Studies of Women


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, Rockefeller Center 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.

**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 (See below.) and one of Washington Square.

Hand-colored Impression: One impression of Rockefeller Center is hand-colored (with watercolor) and signed in ink within the image, l.r. (See immediately below.) An inscription in ink just below the signature has been scratched out, presumably by the artist.

***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.

The illustration below from an impression of Rockefeller Center shows the registration marks and, in the two outlines, l.l., the failure to superimpose exactly the image from one plate over the second.

*****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.

Setting: Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan was begun in 1929, its first group of buildings being completed in 1939, close to the time of Quintanilla's composition.

Accompanying Text: Quintanilla apparently prepared texts to accompany the images for the anticipated, but never realized, publication of "Life in Manhattan." Some of these texts survive in the estate of the artist including the one for Rockefeller Center. See typescript below. As Quintanilla knew little English at this time, he generally wrote in Spanish and texts were translated (and perhaps typed) by his American wife, Jan.

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This page last revised: Monday, October 30, 2006