Woodcut art leaves an experience

Whitewater’s Art Alliance Bartlett Woodcut Experience

Gracia Boley, Journalist

The Whitewater’s Art Alliance showcased Elwood Warren Bartlett’s woodcut pieces. Roughly 40 pieces were presented and had been collected by Dan Richardson. The show duration was from Sept. 2-25 at the Whitewater’s Cultural Arts Center.


Copy of 1. Elwood Warren Bartlett’s piece “In Walworth County”

Bartlett was an early and mid-20th century Wisconsin wood engraver and linocut artist. Bartlett was born in Walworth County, Wisconsin in 1906. He had a career as a railroad clerk in 1920 at the Division Engineer’s Office in Milwaukee. He was interested in printmaking and self-taught himself in the art of wood engraving. In 1932 and by 1936 he entered a prestigious National Academy of Design annual exhibit in New York. Bartlett was well known regionally and had exhibits in 1936 in the Pennsylvania Academy Show, the 1940 National Academy of Design Annual Exhibition, and the 1946 Philadelphia Press club, Northwest Press and Milwaukee Art Institute.

Bartlett’s prints are in collections like the Library of Congress, New York Public Library, West Bend Art Museum, Milwaukee Public Library, and the West Bend Mutual Insurance Company. Along with having some of his work collected in well-known institutions, he has also sold his pieces to some prestigious publications. Some of the prestigious publications include, the Milwaukee Journal, Chicago Tribune, Saturday Review, The Rotarian, Pilgrim magazine, the Christian Advocate and more. Along with being well-known regionally and within Walworth County, he has been listed in the publication, “Who Was Who in American Art”, Southview Press, 1985 Edition. Bartlett passed away in 1981 in Elgin, Illinois.

Copy of 2. Elwood Warren Bartlett’s piece “Deserted Creamery”

Bartlett used a lot of his work to showcase the beauty he saw in his community. That being farmhouses, country landscapes, and Walworth County. He used his illustrations to bring the best out of his community while also using art as his media, specifically wooden engravings.

 The art alliance aims to bring in art from many time periods, not just the contemporary art today. Bartlett’s work is from an older period but also a different way of art or a different media, that being wood carvings. The art alliance also aims to bring together the community and art and that is just another thing Bartlett’s art influences.

 “Bringing in something like this is one way of saying ‘art has been around and been meaningful for a long time,’” said member of Whitewater’s Art Alliance Virginia Epps, “community is important to us.”

 The gallery itself contained about 40 pieces of his work. Each piece was showcased with its own description and title. Since Bartlett engraved in wood, his usage of texture allowed the piece to have dramatic and detailed features. For example, in his piece, “In Walworth County” there is a clear distinction between the tree, the field surrounding it and the landscape behind it. Another example of Bartlett’s work is his piece, “Deserted Creamery.” Bartlett includes all different types of carving strokes to emphasize each feature so that each tree looks different from one another and that the clouds are represented instead of being a plain sky. Bartlett, in each piece, works to highlight each beauty in his community.