Through a generous donation by the collectors Robert and Toni Crisell, the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library at UCLA has received a large archive of the work of Southern California wood engraver, Paul Landacre. The items in this archive comprise prints, print proofs, preliminary drawings and page layouts, chapbooks, correspondence, catalogs, clippings, magazines, photographs, and ephemera, as well as more personal items the Crisells acquired and gave to the Clark Library in August 2020.
The generosity of this donation adds to the Clark Library’s existing Landacre collection—the majority given to the library by his brother, Joseph Landacre in 1986 and 1991—of artwork, books, manuscripts, correspondence, blocks, and tools. The Crisells started collecting Paul Landacre materials after becoming interested in American prints of the period between the wars (1920–50). After collecting several important prints by Landacre and other artists, they “were fortunate … to acquire the entire Landacre collection started in 1966 by Patricia Adler Ingram.” Also included are numerous proofs and drawings that allow scholars to understand Landacre’s working methods, and personal items such as blue ribbons he won for his work at the Los Angeles County Fair and portfolio cases he used during his lifetime. This gift further strengthens the Clark Library’s deep holdings of Paul Landacre’s work.
As Robert Crisell notes, “The more we did our research on the legacy of Paul Landacre the more we felt an obligation to make certain that the bulk of the ephemera was made available to the public for future generations for research and to further the memory of this first artist from Southern California to be recognized across America for his achievements. During a career that spanned nearly four decades, Landacre was praised by the most respected people in printmaking. In 1939 John Taylor Arms, president of the National Committee of Engraving, referred to him as ‘America’s no. one wood engraver.’ There is so much more to know about this underappreciated artist that we thought the only choice for this important part of his legacy was to donate it to the Clark Library, to not only supplement the archival materials on this artist they already own, but to allow future scholars to fill in missing pieces of his life and work.”
Paul Hambleton Landacre was born in Columbus, OH, on 9 July 1893. He attended Ohio State University as a horticulture major, but a mysterious infection left him partly paralyzed and cut short his academic career. He moved to Southern California with his widowed father in 1916 and took work as a commercial illustrator. From 1923 to 1925 he attended Otis Art Institute—where he returned to teach for ten years until his death in 1963. His increasing skill at wood engraving and linocut, particularly of natural and landscape subjects, was first recognized by the bookseller Jake Zeitlin. During the 1930s he produced editions of single prints, and illustrations for books published mostly by local fine presses. Increasing commissions for book illustrations from about 1942 drew his attention away from art prints. The most notable books containing his work are California Hills (1931), The Boar and Shibboleth (1933), De Rerum Natura (1957), and On the Origin of Species (1963).
We look forward to sharing the collection with researchers when the collection is processed. Please note that due to the effects of the pandemic, the Clark Library is closed to the general public and access to this collection is not currently available. For more information, please contact the Clark Library at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 794-5155.