Guardians of the Spire; Amiens Cathedral Number 2
New York: 1937. Etching and drypoint on watermarked F.J. Head cream-colored, antique laid paper, 6 3/4 x 9 7/8 inches (171 x 252 mm), full margins. SIGNED AND TITLED in French in pencil in the lower margin, edition of 75. Printed by Frederick Thomas Reynolds, New York. Plate number 4 from the Gargoyle Series. One small, round pea-sized spot of paper thinning, perhaps an innate defect in the paper, well outside of image area, and completely unobtrusive. A dark, inky and rich impression, framed handsomely with archival materials and museum grade glass in a wood gilt frame with a garland and flower motif.
Illustrated: Dorothy Noyes Arms, Churches of France p.20.
Born in 1887 in Washington DC, John Taylor Arms studied at Princeton University, and ultimately earned a degree in architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1912. With the outbreak of W.W.I, Arms served as an officer in the United States Navy, and it was during this time that he turned his focus to printmaking, having published his first etching in 1919. His first subjects were the Brooklyn Bridge, near the Navy Yard, and it was during his wartime travel that Arms created a series of extraordinarily detailed etchings based on gothic cathedrals and churches he visited in France and Italy (the plate for Guardians of the Spire was created in 1921). He used what was available to him, namely sewing needles and a magnifying glass, to create the incredibly rich and fine detail that his etchings are known for. Upon his return to New York after the war, Arms enjoyed a successful career as a graphic artist, created a series of etchings of American cities, and published Handbook of Print Making and Print Makers (Macmillan, 1934). He served as President of the Society of American Graphic Artists, and in 1933, was made a full member of the National Academy of Design. Arms died in Fairfield, Connecticut in 1953.
Item number: 471