Gertrude HERMES (1901-1983)

“Two People”

Wood engraving, 1934 (glazed and framed)

Signed, titled, dated and numbered 6/25

520 x 310 mm. (20 1/2 x 12 1/4 inches)


In his book, “Wood Engravings & The Woodcut 1890-1990”, James Hamilton notes that three large, dramatic engravings by Gertrude Hermes, “Two People” (1934), “More People” (1935) and “One Person” (1937) are “the most remarkable series of wood engravings of the 1930s and probably of the century”.  Simon Brett, in his Essay on Gertrude Hermes, tells us why they are remarkable; “her work, in its time, was the cutting edge of modernism in print”. Remarkable, as well, in their content as they tell the intense, personal story of the artist’s marital breakdown. “Two People” depicts her union in marriage to Blair Hughes-Stanton. “More People” comments on her husband’s infidelity. And “One Person” expresses Hermes’ belief, which she mentioned to James Hamilton with a sigh, “whatever may happen, you always go off on your own in the end.” Of these three large engravings “Two People” stands out as the most modern –  clearly influenced by cubism.                                                                                                                      So much for wood engraving  as home to the pastoral idyll.


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