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"The Dark Portal" J Andre Smith, (Amer., 1880-1959)
Etching, ca. 1930, Ed. unknown, 9-1/8 x 5-3/4, on thin, yellowish wove vellum, a tiny repaired edge tear right margin center, reinforced weakness to platemark upper left corner, some attendant cockling, signed in pencil. A traditional draftsman of great skill, Smith's etchings of architecture and landscape alike were held in high regard. With his good friend Ernest Roth, Smith early on made the pilgrimage to Venice, and produced many fine etchings of the floating city. In the 1920's Smith also felt the pull of modernism, and his etchings took on a decidedly cubist and expressionist style which he referred to as "the new manner". The Dark Portal is a dynamic Venetian subject in "the new manner", with it's trio of gothic arches and gentle ripples radiating from the sillouetted gondolier.