Live from the Farmer's Market
July 21, 2008
Howard Cook's Summer Vegetables
Inspired by Howard Cook's 1930 woodcut Summer Vegetables, I wandered through the farmer's market at Dupont Circle (fairly close to my home in downtown Washington, D.C.) in search of the same items that appear in Cook's work. And I'd say I came back with a pretty successful haul: corn, tomatoes, summer squash, and snap peas. On my dining room table it even had a little of the still-life to it. My problem: getting the food from the still-life version to the kind you can eat.
Howard Cook has done some really interesting work in addition to Summer Vegetables. At SAAM, Cook is also represented by more than three hundred works on paper, including a series of self-portraits taken at various times in his life. (I plan on taking another look at these in a separate post as one of Cook as a young man has really caught my attention.)
Howard Cook was born in Massachusetts and in the early 1920s studied printmaking with Joseph Pennell at the Art Students League in New York City. Cook lived in New York but was also fascinated by the Southwest after being assigned as the illustrator for Willa Cather's book, Death Comes for the Archbishop. In 1939 he and his wife left New York and settled in New Mexico.
One of the joys of writing this blog is discovering an artist I really didn't know too much about. I know a little more now and hope to keep returning to his works to learn more. Of course, I still have my farmer's market still-life on my dining room table. Nevertheless, in terms of art, this Howard is putting his trust in a man named Cook.
- Howard Cook, Woodcut, Farmer's Market, Joseph Pennell, Willa Cather, American Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum
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