Culture

Blanche Lazzell Exhibition Opens June 5 at Huntington Museum of Art

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Blanche Lazzell is one of West Virginia’s most internationally renowned artists, world famous for her modernist white-line woodcuts inspired by Cubism and abstraction.

The Huntington Museum of Art will open an exhibition highlighting Lazzell’s work Saturday, June 5. Entitled “Doug and Lynn McCorkle Present Blanche Lazzell: West Virginia Modernist,” the exhibition will showcase a number of works from the private collections of Lazzell’s extended family.

“She’s just a fascinating character,” said Huntington Museum of Art Executive Director Geoffrey K. Fleming. “In addition to her print work, she did paintings, ceramics, hooked, rugs — she just became so well-known during her time, and she’s super collected today. So it’s exciting able to show her work at the museum.”

Blanche Lazzell
Blanche Lazzell (American, 1878-1956), Petunias and Planes, 1953. Color woodblock on paper; 15 x 12 1/2 inches. Museum purchase, 1988.13. Photo by John Spurlock.

Lazzell was born on a farm near Maidsville, WV. During her life she travelled to Europe twice to study under Cubists Albert Gleizes, Fernand Léger, and André Lhote; as well as post-Impressionist Charles-François-Prosper Guérin. Eventually she would settle in Massachusetts, becoming a part of the Provincetown Printers group, although she continued to travel back and forth to her home state regularly throughout her life.

“(Lazzell) is among the first to do white line woodblock prints and to help perfect that method. The rarest block prints by Lazzell can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Fleming. “Women were sidelined for so long in the art world. (Lazzell) is an early example of someone who really rises to the top and is really successful during her career. I think that says a lot about her as a person, that she was able to overcome all the obstacles that the male dominated art world put in her way.”

“Doug and Lynn McCorkle Present Blanche Lazzell: West Virginia Modernist” will be on display at the Huntington Museum of Art (2033 McCoy Rd., Huntington, WV) through September 5.