Friday, April 27, 2018

R. Crumb's 15 Panel Short History of America Giclee Edition Proudly Releases R. Crumb's 15 Panel Short History of America Giclee Edition

In 1992, Denis Kitchen of Kitchen Sink Press published Crumb's Short History of America as a serigraph edition. Denis might have requested Crumb to add three additional panels to the original 12 panel poster in an effort to differentiate the new serigraph edition from the posters. The three new panels predicted three possible future scenarios: Ecological disasterTechno Fix and the Ecotopian Solution

Denis hired me to print that edition, and I did, using 24 colors. Since then, I've printed and published the original 12 panel SHA serigraph edition, and also released it as a limited edition giclee print (500 pieces). Now, we're very excited to be releasing the giclee version of the 15 Panel Short History of America edition.

I scanned the 1992 serigraph and spent weeks cleaning it up, brightening up some colors in Photoshop as I knew Crumb considered the original serigraph edition too dark. I printed it out and sent it to Crumb for his approval. He had many color changes! All the trees and grass in each panel needed to be lightened. Certain cars had to have a certain color–"Turquoise was a popular color for Studebaker in those years," according to Crumb. And many other color changes per his historical color sense were requested. It took me over 70 hours to finish the job.

While I was on the phone with RC, I pointed out one of the details in the image, and said, "I've often wondered if you took this image from multiple historical photographs, or if you drew this from your imagination. This detail is so realistic, I have to think you found some photographs and based these panels off of them."

Crumb answered, "I drew that image entirely from my imagination. I wish I had found some photos, it would have been more accurate. For example, one mistake I made was with the railroad crossing signs. The real signs have "crossing" on one board, and the "rail" and the "road" broken up on the sign behind. I mistakenly flip-flopped 'em and broke up the word "crossing."

He went on to say, "When I was in study hall in high school, I used to draw street scenes circa 1900. Then I would erase it all and redraw it as if were in the teens. Then I would erase that and redraw the same scene as if it were in the '20's." [laughs]

Each print is on Somerset Velvet archival white paper (25" x 22"). The 21" x 18.5" image is printed with archival Epson UltraChrome inks. The edition is 500 pieces, with 40 artist proofs and 3 printer proofs. Each print is numbered by hand in pencil. To be released Friday, April 27th. Your complete satisfaction is guaranteed. 

Release date: Friday, April 27th, 2018


-Alexander Wood