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Throwback Thursday: The Marchbanks Calendar—December by Harry Cimino
January 1, 2015

It's Throwback Thursday! And we at Eye Level have decided it's a great opportunity to bring back some of our interesting posts from the past. Since the holidays signal the start of winter we thought you'd enjoy Howard's post from 2008 on Harry Cimino's The Marchbanks Calendar—December. We here at the Smithsonian American Art Museum wish all of our readers the best for 2015.

We've just turned the last page on this year's calendar and it's time to count down the days remaining in 2008. To take a good look at the last month of the year, I've chosen December from Harry Cimino's Marchbanks Calendar. The artist was born in Indiana in 1898 and died in New York in 1969. Not the longest life on record but certainly one that saw its share of changes, beginning while Queen Victoria was still in power, and ending when men were putting their footprints on the moon. Somewhere in between (as this woodcut is undated), Cimino crafted this image. From what I can gather, the work was likely done in the 1920s.

For me, it has that Currier and Ives feel of Americana deepened by the artist's choice of color. The red is vital to the sky and the church windows, while the gray-blue of the horse and riders carries most of the action (though the horse's hind legs seem to be lacking a certain rhythm). I like the woosh of the woman's scarf and the almost opposite effect of the man's blanket, which seems to be melting into the snow.

Cimino produced a calendar for the Marchbanks Company, and many of the illustrations are in American Art's collection. I hope we can look at more because they create miniature worlds that capture a time and place. Cimino also created woodcuts for book illustrations that also endear . . . and endure.

Posted by Jeff on January 1, 2015 in American Art Here, Throwback Thursday


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