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Avey, from Cane

Black-and-white woodcut of an abstracted sunset. On the top is the sun rising from a straight horizon line, and on the bottom is an upside down sun-like form, connected to curving lines and dots.
© Martin Puryear

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  • Black-and-white woodcut of an abstracted sunset. On the top is the sun rising from a straight horizon line, and on the bottom is an upside down sun-like form, connected to curving lines and dots.

Date:

2000

Artist:

Martin Puryear
American, born 1941

About this artwork

Jean Toomer’s Cane is regarded as the highest literary achievement of the Harlem Renaissance and a masterpiece of African American writing, a blend of fiction, poetry, and drama set alternately in rural Georgia and Washington, D.C., among other locations. Puryear first read Cane while he was teaching at Fisk University, in Nashville, his first experience living in the south. He said that he related to the point of view of a visitor “looking at what so defines blackness in America, the agricultural life of the South, the sharecropping that had grown out of slavery.” In the late 1990s Puryear was asked to contribute illustrations to a new edition of the book. About his work for the project, Puryear has commented:
The overriding issue was to work in a two-dimensional medium. To make flat images is such a departure from what I do as a sculptor. I had seldom made woodcuts since my student days. The challenge was to create a set of images that would relate together in a familial way, suggestive of the narrative but not overtly so.

Status

Currently Off View

Department

Prints and Drawings

Artist

Martin Puryear

Title

Avey, from Cane

Place

United States (Artist's nationality)

Date

2000

Medium

Woodcut in black on cream colored Kitakata, a Japanese handmade paper

Dimensions

Image: 26.5 × 32.5 cm (10 7/16 × 12 13/16 in.); Sheet: 42.9 × 52.3 cm (16 15/16 × 20 5/8 in.)

Credit Line

Margaret Fisher Endowment

Reference Number

2002.120

Copyright

© Martin Puryear

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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