"Dory Fisherman," Raphael LeRoy (Tod) Lindenmuth (1930)
Raphael LeRoy (Tod) Lindenmuth
Woodcut or linocut
A sailboat is traveling in rough waters, dwarfed by the overpowering force of the ocean that seems to crush it against the horizon. Ocean waves rise like mountains behind the boat, while three large seagulls fly midair cutting through the image and occupying the focal point in the composition. Engulfed by the surrounding waves and the seagulls, the fisherman’s boat appears small and fragile. Used extensively by New England fishermen, the dory boat was exposed to violent weather conditions as it was carried by ferry to rough waters. Maritime scenes were a recurrent theme throughout the work of American painter, and printmaker Tod Lindenmuth (1885-1976). Here, he celebrates fishermen's labor, acknowledging their special connection with nature and the danger implicated in their task. In this woodcut print, Lindenmuth takes as his subject the fishermen from Provincetown, Massachusetts, where he lived and painted. He was a member of the Provincetown Art Association and one of the original painters of a small art colony that during the 1940s and 1950s attracted artists who practiced a style of painting known as Abstract Expressionism. Under their influence, Lindenmuth imbued his work with spontaneity and energy, visibly here in the expressive gestural linework and contrasting fields of color that conveys a sense of depth and motion through jagged line patterns. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Lindenmuth never abandoned figurative art, allowing him to stay connected to his community.