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 Lynd Kendall Ward  (1905 - 1985)

About: Lynd Kendall Ward
 

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Lived/Active: New Jersey/New York/Illinois      Known for: wood engraved book illustration, painting, lithography

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Ad Code: 3
Lynd Kendall Ward
from Auction House Records.
Boy on rearing horse
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Lynd Kendall Ward was an American artist and storyteller, and son of Methodist minister and prominent political organizer Harry F. Ward. He illustrated some 200 juvenile and adult books. Ward was best known for his wood engraving* and is considered one of the founders of the American graphic novel, but he also worked in watercolor, oil, brush and ink, lithography* and mezzotint*.

Ward spent his childhood in Illinois, Massachusetts and New Jersey. When he was in the first grade, Ward discovered that his last name spelled "draw" backwards, and decided that he wanted to be an artist. He studied fine arts at Columbia Teachers' College in New York. There he met his future wife, May McNeer, and they were married shortly after their graduation in 1926. The first year of their marriage was spent in Europe, where Ward studied printmaking and book design at the National Academy of Graphic Arts in Leipzig, Germany. While browsing in a bookstore in Leipzig, Ward came upon a book by the Belgian engraver Frans Masereel, which told a story in woodcuts. This was the spark which inspired Ward to create his first graphic novel, Gods' Man, published in October 1929, the same week the stock market crashed. It was the first novel-length story told in wood engravings to be published in the United States. He went on to publish six graphic novels in total, of which Vertigo was the last and the most ambitious.

In addition to woodcuts, Ward also worked in watercolor, oil, brush and ink, lithography and mezzotint. Ward illustrated over a hundred children's books, several of which were collaborations with his wife, May McNeer. Starting in 1938, Ward became a frequent illustrator of the Heritage Limited Editions Club's series of classic works. He was well known for the political themes of his artwork, often addressing labor and class issues.

In 1932 he founded Equinox Cooperative Press. He was a member of the Society of Illustrators*, the Society of American Graphic Arts, and the National Academy of Design*. Ward retired to his home in Reston, Virginia, in 1979. He died on June 28, 1985, two days after his 80th birthday.

In celebration of the art and life of this American printmaker and illustrator, independent filmmaker Michael Maglaras of 217 Films produced a new film titled O Brother Man: The Art and Life of Lynd Ward. The documentary features an interview with the artist’s daughter Robin Ward Savage, as well as more than 150 works from all periods of Ward's career. The 94-minute documentary, culled from over 7 hours of film and narrated by Maglaras, premiered at Penn State University Libraries, Foster Auditorium, on April 20, 2012, where it was warmly received. Penn State's Special Collections Library has also become the repository for much Lynd Ward material, and may continue to receive material from Ward family collections.

He won a number of awards, including a Library of Congress Award for wood engraving, the Caldecott Medal for America's Ethan Allen in 1950 and The Biggest Bear in 1953, and a Rutgers University award for Distinguished Contribution to Children's Literature. He illustrated six Newbery Honor Medal books and two Newbery Medal books. In 2011, Ward was listed as a Judges' Choice for The Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame*.

Ward is known for his wordless novels told entirely through dramatic wood engravings. Ward's first work, Gods' Man (1929), uses a blend of Art Deco* and Expressionist* styles to tell the story of an artist's struggle with his craft, his seduction and subsequent abuse by money and power, and his escape to innocence. Ward, in employing the concept of the wordless pictorial narrative, acknowledged as his predecessors the European artists Frans Masereel and Otto Nückel. Released the week of the 1929 stock market crash, Gods' Man would continue to exert influence well beyond the Depression era, becoming an important source of inspiration for Beat Generation poet Allen Ginsberg.

Source:
Wikipedia,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynd_Ward

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see AskART.com Glossary http://www.askart.com/AskART/lists/Art_Definition.aspx


This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Ward's father was Harry Frederick Ward, a powerful activist Methodist minister in Chicago who co-founded the American Civil Liberties Union and ran the Northwestern University Settlement House, a Hull House-like center of progressive reform on the North Shore.  His father also inadvertently exposed him to tuberculosis, dragging the young Ward into Back of the Yards tenements as an infant, leaving him sickly for life.  Every summer, his father would send him to northern Ontario for fresh air.  To flip through his books, however, is to see those family trials played out: Ward's work shifts repeatedly, Spiegelman said, between the urban jungle of Chicago and the untraveled wilderness and nature, which is how Ward lived. (Lynd Ward's masterful wood-carved narratives: 'Six Novels in Woodcuts' collection honors Chicago artist, by Christopher Borrelli).

Chicago Tribune, November 20, 2010, p.15, s.1

Information provided by Gene Meier

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Engraver, Lithographer, and Illustrator

Born in Chicago, Illinois 1905

Studied:
Teachers College, Columbia University and in Germany. Member: Society of American Etchers, Engravers, Lithographers & Woodcutters; Artist League of America; and Associate National Academy.

Represented: Library of Congress and Newark Museum, etc.

Awarded prizes by Library of Congress; Carteret Book Club Award for Book Illustration.

Submitted by:
Katherine Tozier

Source: American Prize Prints for the 20th Century, by Albert Reese. Published by the American Artists Group in New York, 1939.

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