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The Master Engraver

Richard Ziemann has spent his life studying both the grandness and finiteness of the American landscape, particularly at his country home in Connecticut. His focus is almost always the woods. He works entirely in black and white and his medium is etching, engraving or a combination of the two. He makes his prints, sitting in the woods drawing in hard ground on a zinc plate. The etching process is done in his studio and later finished with engraving. He particularly enjoys engraving and says, "I enjoy it; it’s one of those things which I suppose is not part of our times, but, in a way, I just like the direct cutting into metal." His images are created by a building up of tiny marks, and often; take him several years to complete.

Ziemann considers himself lucky to have studied at Yale when he did, along with classmates, George Birmelin and Michael Mazur. "Everything at Yale at that time was very intriguing to us. We all came from different schools from different parts of the country. Our group related very much to what was going on. We all studied with Gabor Peterdi who not only taught us etching, he taught everything."

It was Peterdi who introduced me to Ziemann’s work. When I first exhibited Ziemann’s work, many years ago, in my booth at the International Fine Prints Dealers Association’s fine print fair in the New York Armory I was happily surprised to find that many artists and museums curators studied his every mark and then purchased his work. Later I took his prints to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. The curator who greeted me asked me to spread his work out on their large wooden table. She then called all the curators in to see his prints. After much discussion and studying with magnifying glasses they purchased his work for their permanent collection. Ziemann has always been an innovator. He was one of the first, along with Mauricio Lasansky, to expand the size of intaglio prints. And his work was included in the Oversize Print exhibition at the Whitney museum in 1971. More recently the British Museum purchased a large selection of his work for their collection.

While we have been showing Ziemann’a work a lot recently we have now installed the new prints he has just sent us. These exquisite works must be seen to be believed. Each is entirely different from the other and every mark is rendered to achieve simplicity and meaning. Bring your magnifying glasses and enjoy this visual treat. Richard Ziemann is certainly "the great engraving master." His work defies categorization; rather it is a continuation of what has come before.

Richard Ziemann, Back Grasses (Detail) Back Grasses (Detail), Richard Ziemann

Back Grasses detail

Back Grasses detail