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'So Many Children’ is an exquisite example of Charles Blackman’s mastery over the graphic practice. It is a rare dry-point etching from Blackmans beloved Mother Goose series, printed in collaboration with printer Satish Sharma and Charles’s son Auguste Blackman at Well House Press Studio in Paddington, Sydney in 1977.
Well House Press Studio took its name from a convict-built well on the Blackman’s property. It was the setting for some of Blackmans boldest printmaking experiments, not least of which were the Mother Goose works. Auguste gives insight into creating the series, reflecting:
“We devised a way of Charles working directly onto sheets of laser cut perspex. No one has attempted this before as the artist has to have immense confidence, a very strong hand and a will of iron to etch directly onto the perspex sheet. The stylus does not want to make a curved line due to the nature of the way the Perspex is made… Plexiglass or Perspex determined the low edition of 20 only as the plates were delicate and we could only extract a certain amount of passes under the roller before the drypoint etch flattened out!“
Not only technically difficult, ‘So Many Children is visually engrossing. As the keen storyteller he is, Blackman distills the nursery rhyme, There was an old woman who lived in a shoe, into a single framed. At once whimsical and deliciously dark, this work is a twist (and compression) of Blackmans iconic images of children. It evokes the roles mothers and stories tell in our lives, while remaining a witty bottle blue delight in and of itself.
Master print Satish Sharma described working with Blackman as “magicians leading each other from madness to madness” and etching as “like a man-eating tiger - once it gets hold of you it wont let go. This emboldened ferocity emanates from ‘So Many Children. Rare to market this museum-quality work is a tale your whole family can treasure. Charles BLACKMAN (1928 - 2018)'So Many Children ' 1977Etching on paperEdition of 20Image Size: 40 x 50 cm Dimensions: 60 x 70 cm Signed: Signed Charles Blackman in margin, titled and numberedComes with Letter of Provenance
© Charles Blackman / Copyright Agency 2023
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