Martin Puryear: Cane

Northeast Bedroom Gallery

In 1923, the Harlem Renaissance writer Jean Toomer published Cane, a highly experimental and lyrical novel that wove together diverse stories of African American characters. In 2000, Arion Press collaborated with contemporary sculptor and printmaker Martin Puryear to create woodcut prints to illustrate a new edition of the novel. Puryear chose to focus on the women, many of them southern and black, described in Toomer’s book. He created portraits of seven characters, working in an inventive and nearly abstract style. Arion Press bound the prints into a new, limited edition of only 400 copies of Cane. Arion Press also issued a separate portfolio of seven woodblock portraits Puryear created out of African wenge, Swiss pear, Italian walnut, and New England maple. This exhibition on view in the historic house includes the woodblock portraits and seven prints.