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Lill Tschudi: An Important Private Collection
From the Artist Estate and then by Decent
At the tender age of eighteen, Swiss born artist, Lill Tschudi (1911-2001) was already immersed in London's Grosvenor School producing work alongside some of its renowned members, Claude Flight, Cyril Power and Sybil Andrews. Lill Tschudi spent a brief period studying under the tutelage of Claude Flight in 1929. It was a lasting bond between them which would result in Tschudi achieving the recognition for creating some of the greatest examples of the British linocut movement.
The complex compositions and colour combinations of Lill Tschudi's linocuts and preparatory drawings, illustrated in this exceptional collection, demonstrate her passion for this medium. It was the novelty of linoleum as a printing matrix that allowed the artists of the Grosvenor School to develop new techniques for block printing and flourish in their depictions of dynamic scenes from everyday life of the era.
In the 1930's, Tschudi, along with her contemporaries devised a rhythmic and often hypnotic composition of lines to emulate the streamlined speed and power of the modern machine age (Underground, lot 227). The repetitive and homogenous appearance of increasingly popular sporting and leisure activities were also ideal examples of the dynamism they sought to capture (Just Off, lot 236). Such experimentations with line and form are apparent in Tschudi's preparatory drawings and sketchbooks throughout this section of the sale.
As well as studying these shared ideals, Tschudi also pursued her own themes, depicting scenes of Swiss life in many of her linocuts. While certain subjects are more overtly Swiss, such as her prints of winter sports, she also chose to create more personal works of her immediate family members, holidays and certain public events distinctive of her region (National Vote I, Lot 231).
The appreciation for Lill Tschudi's linocuts was fuelled, in part by Flight's zealous publicity of her work through his annual exhibitions held at the Redfern Gallery and later, the Ward Gallery. Their overseas exhibitions in Canada and the USA were well received and a subsequent edition, often annotated 'USA,' was produced by Tschudi to meet this demand for her work.
By the end of World War II many artist's enthusiasm for the vibrant modern machine age had ceased, including Tschudi's. As is evident in the later linocuts of this collection, she began to embrace a more abstract style of printing moving further away from the earlier dynamic style once ardently embraced by Flight and the Grosvenor School (Venezianische Rhythmen II, Lot 273).
HAND PRINTED LINOCUTS The inscription 'Handdruck,' or in English 'Handprint,' found on a vast array of Tschudi's linocuts, is evidence of the strong technical influence Claude Flight had on Tschudi's printed works. In his teachings, Flight advocated the importance of hand printing over the use of a printing press, refuting the uniformity of a press and underlining the autographic quality of manual printing.