In 1933 America was staggering through the Great Depression, and Angelenos Jake Zeitlin and Delmer Daves organized a small group to support an artist they believed in, Paul Landacre. Each contributed $100 a year — that went a long way in those days — which awarded them a new print every month. Zeitlin ran an antiquarian book store, which included a small art gallery, and Daves was a budding Hollywood writer who would later direct the film noir classic "Dark Passage" (1947) and the original "3:10 to Yuma" (1957).
"I think they were kindred spirits, my father was always very involved in the arts," says Debby Richards, Daves' daughter and a Pasadena resident. Twenty years ago she inherited the bulk of the Landacre prints her father had collected, and 18 of them have been lent to the exhibition "White on Black: The Modernist Prints of Paul Landacre" at the Pasadena Museum of California Art through Feb. 24. It's a modest exhibition, featuring 29 woodcut prints and two drawings mostly from the '30s, but large enough to reveal Landacre's exquisite precision of line and elegance of composition.
FOR THE RECORD:
Paul Landacre: An article in the Nov. 18 Arts & Books section about an exhibition of prints by the late artist Paul Landacre at the Pasadena Museum of California Art said that the Huntington Library had lent several pieces to the show. The library lent one piece. —
Born in Ohio in 1893, Landacre moved to California for his health. He eventually settled in Echo Park with his wife, Margaret McCreery. While he had taken life drawing classes at the Otis Art Institute, he was largely self-taught. "There weren't a lot of people working in woodcuts," says Jessica Smith, curator of American art at the Huntington, which lent one piece to the show. "It's physically demanding, and calls for planning carefully — once you make the cut into the wood, that's that." He eventually became known nationally, through his prints and through book illustrations, which won a number of prizes.