Exquisite wood blocks and a stunning hand-printed book, “Early California,” with block prints in color by the late Sierra Madre artist and resident Marvin (Elmer) Weese, will be on display in August at the Sierra Madre Public Library.
Weese was a master of wood print art. He lived in Sierra Madre for 38 years. As an active member in the community, he ran the Sierra Madre City Hall Art Gallery and had artistic ties to noted local artist Alfred Dewey.
In the late 1930s, Weese combined his passions of early California history, southwestern Native American culture, wood block printing, and photography into one project. Weese cut out 160 blocks in linoleum on wood and used 200 colors to create block prints illustrating early Sierra Madre and California history. Each illustration required the creation of five wood blocks. Beauty, detail, and expertise shine in each of the 38 wood block prints that make up his handmade masterpiece.
The block print illustrations of his book are made from a process involving the creation of watercolor sketches, block cut-outs, and hand-printing – a project that took Weese 15 years to complete.
The artist’s book and a portfolio of prints from it are part of Sierra Madre Library’s rare book collection.
The collection includes rare editions and signed copies of books with special Sierra Madre, San Gabriel Valley, and California interests. The archive is jointly owned by the Sierra Madre Public Library and the Sierra Madre Historical Preservation Society. It includes historical Sierra Madre documents, photographs (prints and negatives), slides, maps, sound recordings, oral histories, moving images, scrapbooks, ledgers, news clippings, books, works of art, and ephemera.
The public is welcome to make appointments to view other rare books and to use the local history archives. Please contact Michelle An at (626) 355-7186 or via email at Man@cityofsierramadre.com.
Read, discover, and connect at the Sierra Madre Public Library (440 W. Sierra Madre Blvd.). For more information, call (626) 355-7186, text (626) 662-1254, or visit: http://cityofsierramadre.com/services/library.