Ad Code: 3
Available for John Taylor Arms, Jr.:
Quick facts (Styles, locations, mediums, teachers, subjects, geography, etc.) (John Arms, Jr.)
Dealers (John Arms, Jr.)
Please send me Alert Updates for John Taylor Arms, Jr. (free)
What is an alert list?
|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|One of the more famous printmaker of the early 20th century, John
Taylor Arms was known for his medieval architectural etchings that
combined precise realism with a sense of soaring spirituality. He
believed that Gothic architecture was man's greatest achievement,
uniting spiritual and aesthetic values, and was best known for his
renderings of gargoyles and European churches. He was remarkably
prolific, considering that he worked slowly and deliberately and spent
much time traveling, writing, and lecturing.|
He was born in
Washington D.C., and studied law at Princeton University and then
transferred to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study
architecture, earning a masters degrees in 1912. For five years
after his graduation, he worked for Carrere and Hastings, an
architectural firm and then became a partner in another firm named
Clark and Adams.
In 1913, he made his first etching and by 1927
began exhibiting his architectural etchings at the National Arts Club
and the Salmagundi Club in New York. He also worked in aquatint and
often combined the two mediums. In addition to medieval architecture,
he etched scenes of Maine and a series of American cities.
was a member of principal art organizations including the National
Institute of Arts and Letters, and he wrote several books on prints and
printmaking including Handbook on Printmaking and Printmakers.
Matthew Baigell, Dictionary of American Art
|Biography from Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery:|
|John Taylor Arms was, without question, one of the most respected
American printmakers in the first half of the 20th Century. His
etchings are in most of the major print collections in the United
States and Europe. Additionally, Arms' involvement in organized
efforts to promote printmaking includes serving as president of the
Society of American Etchers and publishing the Handbook of Print Making and Print Makers in 1934.|
The most distinctive characteristic of an etching by John Taylor
Arms is the exquisitely fine detail he developed. In many cases,
a magnifying glass is needed to adequately appreciate the artist's
work. Of special note are his depictions of Gothic architecture
from Europe. Both Birger Sandzén and his son-in-law, Charles
Pelham Greenough, were captivated by Arms' etchings, and this
exhibition features thirty-four of the finest examples from their
John Taylor Arms was born in Washington, D.C. in 1887. His
family of businessmen, clergymen and teachers descended from a knitter
of stockings who settled in Massachusetts in the seventeenth century.
In 1907, upon graduation from Lawrenceville School in Washington,
D.C., Arms transferred to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to
study architecture. He received a Master of Science degree in 1912 and
that year joined the firm of Carré and Hastings in New York as a
draftsman. He stayed with the firm for two years, after which he
went into partnership with Cameron Clark, a well-known designer of
houses in the Colonial Revival style. Arms soon tired of the
day-to-day paperwork routine of his profession that did not satisfy his
need for creative expression. He began spending evening hours on
drawings he was not able to do at the office.
In 1913, Arms married
Dorothy Frothingham Noyes. She gave him a small etching kit for
Christmas which brought about his first print in 1914, titled Sunlight and Shadow.
In 1916 he dissolved his partnership with Clark and joined the
Navy as a navigational officer on convoy duty during World War 1. Upon
discharge in 1919 he decided to make etching his life's work.
The romance and nostalgia for old buildings and churches drew Arms
to Gothic architecture imagery. He developed a plan to record the major
Gothic churches in prints. During the 1920s, he began three of his most
important series of etchings: The French Churches, The Spanish Churches, and The Italian Series.
Arms continued to travel in Europe in the 1930s. He and his wife
were particularly fond of Venice, with its intricate buildings and
bridges combining Gothic and Byzantine architecture.
Toward the end of the decade, the Arms' found a new home-away-from-home
in England. There he made many etchings of the small village churches
until 1937. In the late thirties and during World War II, when
travel in Europe became difficult, Arms and his family traveled to
Mexico. He studied and drew Pre-Columbian ruins and Spanish
Baroque architecture with his customary attention to detail and local
Arms developed his etchings from drawings made on location.
After he had settled into a location, he would select a spot with a
view of the subject he found satisfying and, perched on his camp stool,
would spend ten days to two weeks on one drawing. These drawings were
used as preparatory plans, with details added later, sometimes with the
use of photographs. To begin an etching, he used the main areas
of his drawings to trace an outline on a grounded etching plate.
The transferred lines appeared as distinct red markings and served as a
guide when he began to draw with the etching needle on the plate.
Arms often used ordinary sewing needles set in wooden handles to
draw through the ground, exposing the plate surface. Once the
image was satisfactory, he would print an edition of prints from the
plate. Occasionally he used a magnifying glass to draw the
closely packed dots and lines that suggest tonal values of sunlight and
shadow on stone. The most difficult prints to make were the miniature
images, with their extreme detail.
Henry Noyes Arms, the son of John Taylor Arms, characterized his
father as a man who felt he had been "born to draw Gothic
architecture." Arms wanted those who saw his prints to have the same
emotional experience he enjoyed in the presence of the great cathedrals
and other imagery he represented.
|** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.|