Papaver Somniferum

Date 1968
Technique Linocut
Price $300.00
Exhibitor The Annex Galleries
Contact the Exhibitor 707.546.7352
Buy From / See At This Exhibitor's Site

Papaver Somniferum is a color linoleum cut created in 1968 by American printmaker Henry Herman Evans. It is pencil signed, titled, dated, and editioned 92/95. Papaver Somniferum was printed by Onomiva Evans with the assistance of the artist on an ivory Japanese wove paper. The image measures 15-5/8 x 9-1/2 inches.

The common name for Papaver Somniferum is opium poppy or breadseed poppy as it is the species from which both opium and poppy seeds are derived. Papaver Somniferum is an elegant plant with an array of colors ranging from white to pink to red to purple to blue and it graces gardens around the world. The juice from this botanical beauty has sparked wars, created incalculable wealth, and wreaked indescribable suffering upon millions. This poppy is grouped with cannabis and coca as nature's addictive plants.

Henry Herman Evans, publisher and printmaker, was born in Superior, Wisconsin in May 16, 1918. He attended the University of California, Berkeley; the City College of San Francisco; the San Francisco State College; and the University of Arizona. Evans opened Porpoise Book Shop, his first bookstore, in Tucson, Arizona in 1942 but relocated in San Francisco in 1944. In 1949 he purchased an 1852 Washington Hand Press, and began producing letterpress books as Peregrine Press.

In 1958, Evans began creating botanical prints from linoleum and over thirty-one years created around 1,400 subjects, primarily illustrations of plants and flowers, with a special focus on California plants. He was self-taught as a botanist and developed his unique style of rendering portraits of plants and flowers. He drew directly from living subjects which were portrayed life-size. His wife, Marsha Onomiya Evans, printed his linocuts on the Washington Hand Press and, after the printing was completed, the blocks were destroyed. Among his numerous publications, his most important books and portfolios include The State Flowers of the United States (1972); Botanical Prints: With Excerpts from the Artist’s Notebooks (1977); and California Native Wildflowers (1985).

Henry Evans’s linocuts were included in numerous exhibitions, including Five West Coast Printmakers, at the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Other exhibitions were mounted at the National Arboretum, Washington, D.C.: Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois; the Royal Horticultural Society, London; the Field Museum, Chicago; the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; McGill University, Montreal, Canada; the Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis; the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco; and the Los Angeles County Museum. His work is represented in the collections of the Albertina in Vienna; the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; the New York Public Library; the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley; and the McCune Collection in Vallejo, California.

Henry Herman Evans died in Saint Helena, California in 30 March 1990.