Monday, March 24, 2014

"Early Spring" by Eva Stockhaus

Even though I found many high-resolution images of Eva Stockhaus's wood engravings, the only information about the artist I've found in English was that she was Swedish, lived from 1919-2009, and exhibited primarily in Sweden and sometimes London, England. I only found one book on the artist, but it's in Swedish. I want a copy anyway just for the pictures. This is certainly an artist whose work I will write about more than once.

Stockhaus's wood engravings tend to be dramatic, often vertically oriented landscapes, such as this stoic scene of early spring. The image is loaded with subtle symbolism. One thick and gnarly tree stands with branches still bare from winter's sleep, but a gigantic knot, swirling and speckled, emerges from the trunk like a pregnant belly. Another tree's branches, these bursting with new leaves, reaches into the scene and in front of the bare tree. Blooming flowers merely creep into the bottom left corner of the composition. Most dramatically, a flock of birds in black silhouette rise up into flight, and form a dotted path into the sky. Normally, as they connect to spring, birds would symbolize return. But these are flying away from the viewer, which I find intriguing. I invariable conclude that the darkness of their plumage symbolizes the darkness of the coldest season as it slowly recedes and longer days return.


  1. Simon Brett includes information (and some great wood engraved images) of Eva Stockhaus' work in his marvelous survey of contemporary wood engravers, "An Engraver's Globe." Unfortunately, the reproductions in the book you refer to are relatively poor, as the publisher used a fairly course halftone screen in the printing process. Photos of the book here . . .