Printed at the Peter Pauper Press in Mount Vernon, New York. Wood engravings by Hans Alexander Mueller.
Mueller (1888-1963) was born in Nordhausen, Leipzig, Germany. A designer and author, he was best known for his work with woodcuts and wood engravings. In Leipzig he taught at the Academy of Graphic Arts. Mueller moved to New York around 1935. Up until the late 1920s, Leipzig was a major center for the arts, and for book printing in particular. In 1933 many of the influential artist’s associations that had formed in the earlier decades were disbanded as the Nazi Party came to power.
Here is an Expressionist rendering of Mark 8:22-26, wherein Jesus cures the blind man at Bethsaida. This bold woodcut has a much more somber tone than our other examples. The blind man sits before Jesus with his hands clasped together. His mouth is wide, which expresses his suffering. The darkly carved witness figures crowd around the figure of Jesus. The man behind Jesus claps his hands together and seems to be crying out. The postures of the figures suggest a feeling of turmoil. The figure of Jesus is posed in contrast to the crowd. He is dressed in white and is positioned above them on a rock. His right hand touches the right eye of the blind man. The depiction of Jesus in the center is calm and gentle; the artist’s choice to show the suffering of the people evokes a feeling of compassion for them, and in turn we feel that the figure of Jesus here is merciful.
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