Calver’s cuts


Linoleum, it ain’t what it used to be

For many of us, the word linoleum evokes memories of summer cottages and mid-century kitchen flooring. The often maligned linoleum does have another function- the linocut. Although the bane of many first year art students, the humble linocut, in the hands of a creative genius, can be a thing of beauty. Canada and Canadian collectors are lucky to have Richard Calver; Canada and astute Canadian collectors were lucky to have Sybil Andrews. Andrews taught Calver and the linocut came alive.

     Andrews not only created  her own magnificent linocuts but also shared her technical expertise as  a teacher. Andrews was careful not to turn out ersatz Andrews by demanding that her students find their own artistic voices. One such student was Richard Calver.

     Andrews was heavily influenced by Vorticism; Calver not so much but there are hints of the teacher’s oeuvre. Calver’s linocuts are rich, gaudy, and influenced by his passion for gardening. There is the smell of the earth and the sense of life bursting out all around us. Andrews with her highly stylized renderings engages on an almost architectural level. On the surface, there appears to be no overtly obvious connections between the teacher and the student but they are there in the compelling visions, the flawless technique, and the courage to take roads less travelled.

     Why should a collector buy Calver linocuts? He is good, very good. Depending on the individual image, the print run is small. He is still reasonably priced. His work will engage the collector for a long time. Linocuts are not the poor cousins of the woodcut. Linocut prices are calculated based on size, the image, and the number of colours. Do yourself a favour and check out Mayberry Fine Art  which represents Calver. If you go to the gallery, ask for Melissa who knows her Calver and was so helpful with this post. Given below are images of a linocut block, a linocut by Sybil Andrews, and one from Richard Calver.

Thank you and happy collecting.

Tom Maunder,

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