Although Gays' work was largely known in painting circles as part of the Society of Six: California Colorists, his work on etchings is rare and virtually unknown. This collection of etchings began its new life of recognition six months after the death of August Francois Gay (1947). Clarice and Jim Pruitt moved into the house next door and as with every Christmas, an exchange of gifts was customary. After several years of this annual tradition, Marcelle Gay gave Jim and Clarice Pruitt a collection of copper plates as a present. Jim thought that one or two may be printable but thought framing the plates would be a better idea and would make nice gifts for the future. He gave one of the framed plates back to Marcelle Gay as a gift. To date, its whereabouts remains unknown.
The collection of plates account for all but five of the known images from Gay's body of work in print.
For many decades the plates were wrapped in tissue and kept in a small battered hand painted tin box. Despite the obvious fears of the plates being housed near the ocean and the damage of how degraded they would become through time, it was surprising that the ocean air had left them moderately tarnished as they were revealed beneath the yellowing tissues and the scrapes of encrusted green copper were carefully removed.
Discovering a previously unknown dimension to an artist's work can only be thrilling, but to discover most of his entire body of work in this medium in one place is nothing short of amazing. Very few, if any, prints were made from these plates and certainly to our knowledge no limited editions exist of this body of work. The Pruitt Collection of Limited Editions Etchings will be the only and last prints ever made from these plates and are exclusive to Luminos.
The plate is approx 6" x 7" (15cm x 18cm) printed on 23" x 16" Fabiano Rosapina 285gsm Bianco Smooth. Total paper size (59cm x 42cm)
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