Tompkins County Public Library

Friday, November 25, 2011

Elfriede Abbe - Illustrator, Printer, Sculptor

An Exhibit of Prints, Private Press Books, Botanical Illustrations, Wood Engravings, Carvings and Photographs

Curated by Nancy E. Green, 
The Gale and Ira Drukier Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University 

A reception and curator's talk, with workshop on wood block printing by Jenny Pope of the Ink Shop, and exhibit tour by James Tyler, PhD, will be held on December 1, 2011, from 6:00 to 7:30 PM in the Thaler/Howell Program Room. The exhibit will be on display until December 31, 2011.

Born in 1919 in Washington, DC, Elfriede Abbe graduated from Cornell in 1940 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and worked as an illustrator for Cornell from 1942 until her retirement in 1974. Since then, she has continued her artistic output from her studio in Manchester Center, Vermont, printing her own private press books, botanical illustrations, and wood engravings, and creating sculptures.  Even today Abbe sets all her type by hand, one letter at a time, and prints on a Chandler & Price platen press which is entirely hand-operated.

Abbe’s remarkable career began with the exhibition of her sculpture The Hunter at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Other awards include the Tiffany Foundation Fellowship (1948), gold medals from Pen and Brush, New York (1964), the National Arts Club (1970), the Academy of Artists Association in Springfield, Massachusetts (1976), and the E. Liskin Cash Award at  the Salmagundi Club (1979), among others.
Even while pursuing her career at Cornell, Abbe continued to maintain an active exhibition schedule with works shown at a variety of venues, including the Hunt Institute at Carnegie-Mellon University (1968, 1972, 1977); the London Chappel Exhibition (1963); the Middle East tour of the Kerlan Collection, sponsored by the State Department (1952); the National Academy of Design (1978); the National Society of Mural Painters, Nashua Art Center, New Hampshire (1981); and at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York (1990). Her sculpture has been placed at the Herzog August Bibliothek in Germany; the Hunt Library in Pittsburgh; at McGill University; and at the Woodrow Wilson School in Binghamton. Her wood engravings and books are in many collections both here and abroad, including the Beineke Library at Yale University, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Grolier Club in New York, the Houghton Library at Harvard, the Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum, the New York Public Library, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, the Kroch Library at Cornell, and Tompkins County Public Library.

The works in this exhibition are from the collection of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum at Cornell, which were given by James Tyler PhD 1969 and the Tyler Family in memory of George Tyler M.D. 1939-2005; from the private collection of James Tyler; from The Bookery, Antiquarian and Used Book Store, Ithaca; and from Auraca Herbarists.

Abbe’s preferred choice of medium has always been wood—both as a basis for her sculpture and as a surface for her engravings, the blocks themselves transforming into works of art. Equally important for her print and book projects is the choice of papers. These are carefully selected to create a harmonious marriage between the image and the surface on which it’s printed, each complimenting the other.

The subjects of Abbe’s work range from the botanical to the Biblical, all carefully thought out and rendered with simple precision. This seeming simplicity is deceptive though; after a longer acquaintance with her work, details are revealed, and it is easy to appreciate the delicate and deft hand that creates these artistic jewel.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Seriously, Series

Curated by Rebecca Godin

On display at the Library October through December 2011

The opening reception will take place on Friday, October 7, 5:00 to 8:00 PM, in conjunction with Gallery Opening night.  Please enter the Library through the BorgWarner Community Room Door, behind the bus shelter on Green Street.

Almost all artists explore a series sometime during their careers. From Monet to O’Keefe, Kahlo to Ringgold, ancient times to the present, the attractions of creating a series are powerful and varied.

An artist can view an image, a motif, or concept from multiple perspectives. Repetition and variation of a theme can be seductive and rewarding.

Sometimes an artist can create vastly different images within a series which still expand one idea, one portrait, place, activity, color or quest.

Seriously, Series offers abstraction, design, photography, sculpture, portraiture, place, time, obsessions and joys which we hope you enjoy.

Visit this exhibit in the Library and on Flickr at

The artists and series titles are:

Rebecca Godin

Kurt Lichtmann
Dance: Time and Magnetism

Daniel McPheeters

John Lyon Paul

Terry Plater

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Romance, Exploits & Peril: When Movies Were Made in Ithaca

Exhibition Opening Sept, 29, 2011
Depicting the history of the Wharton brothers’ silent film studio in Ithaca this installation is presented by IMPP, the Ithaca Motion Picture Project and will be on display at TCPL through November 8, 2011. 

Created by award-winning architect Todd Zwigard in collaboration with Art & Anthropology principals Jason Otero and Joe Lamarre, the timeline allows viewers to walk through the exhibit as if on a film set. The exhibit puts the Wharton movie studio and the movies made in our community in context of the history of the motion picture industry.  The Wharton brothers established their studio in present day Stewart Park and transformed Ithaca, with its dramatic natural landscapes built around a bustling town with a thriving academic community, into a center for early movie-making.