Wednesday, November 16, 2005

John De Pol - Wood Engraver

"Happy is the man who has found his work"
E. Hubbard

"On an occasional day off I made several sketches of Vittel and neighboring towns. Some were made into etchings when I returned home, as was this monastery at nearby Parey-sous-Montfort. It was not functioning as a monastery, but part of it was a school; the elderly woman seen under the archway lived in an apartment next to it. I stood there, sketching, when presently the door opened and she came out, holding a chair. She walked slowly in my direction and, smiling when she reached me, silently offered me the chair. Smiling, I accepted it. A little later that afternoon, children, just let out of class, ran over, surrounded me, and watched me sketch. Soon I pulled some sticks of chewing gum from my pockets, broke them into small pieces and passed them around. Smiles replaced all language barriers.

A buddy, Staff Sergeant Leif Graae and I cycled the countryside to buy fresh eggs for the Major and ourselves. Along the way I gathered subjects for my art. On such an excursion, I visited Domjulien, scene of a later wood-engraving as was another, "GI Stove, Vittel," a view of my office in an old hotel. I made an etching of the monastery tower, the front view of which was the church. From a sketch of Gemmelaincourt I later made a watercolor. Then, one day, as I walked briskly along a tree-lined road, I became elated, for it was a bright, early spring day, it was in France, and, finally, the war seemed to be drawing to a close."

John DePol (1913-2004) master printer, etcher, book illustrator, author, painter, but most importantly, wood engraver, loved his work so much that he did a lot of it virtually for free.

His career passion seems to have taken off when he retired in the 70s. He undertook private press engraving work for which he might receive a couple of copies of the resultant book by way of payment. He was still working up until his death just before Christmas last year. I have to say (not that it doesn't happen every day, one way or another) that I really enjoyed reading about this man and researching his work. He even made a book engraving for the great Dard Hunter.

1 comment :

Ajay said...

ooh man u have got nice collection of art work.. i life them very much...

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