Philip G. Reed (1908-1989) was a skilled wood engraver and printer with a wonderful sense of humor. The technique he developed uses individual wood blocks for each color-a method that produces very sharp and clear images, like the two original prints here. Reed illustrated more than 40 books, including MOTHER GOOSE AND NURSERY RHYMES in 1963, which received many awards and honors. His work has been displayed at the Library of Congress in Washington, the Victoria and Albert Museums in London and other institutions.
This pair of prints display Reed's personal style, somewhat reminiscent of the works of his contemporary, artist Peter Ompir, who, like Reed, also studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. Both of these prints depict a man with his tools and accessories. The draftsman in 18th century clothing holds his T-square, triangle, books and papers, while the somewhat hapless-looking fellow in the stovepipe hat holding a large hammer is possibly a blacksmith. The background is cream colored paper, clean with no toning.
Each print is pencil signed "Philip Reed" on the right, just beneath the image. We've included a photo of an information label we found on the internet (but is not on the back of these prints).
The framed size of each print is 11 1/2 by 9 1/2 inches---plate size 7 1/2 x 9 1/2---and each weighs 13 1/2 ounces. The frame is 3/4 inch wide wood, hand made with a light tan, speckled finish. The hanging wire on each is copper, twisted in the center for hanging. The frames are in good shape, as are the prints and glass. They are charming, quirky original artworks by a well-known, listed artist.