Here we have an Earl Marshawn (E.M.) Washington woodcut print entitled "Pandamas Tree." The print is signed and dated 1935....but here's where the story gets interesting. Before we get into the details behind this and the other E.M. Washington prints in my shop, let me cover the logistics.
The art print is housed in matting. The entire artwork measures 13.5" x 10.5". The woodcut measures 12" by 9". The image measures 6.5" x 5". The print is attached to the matting with a piece of art tape. Please see all pics as they are part for he description.
His prints are now in demand because of the following story. Only in America! Here goes:
"Earl Marshawn Washington (born 1962) is an American entrepreneur, printmaker, and engraver.
Beginning in 1998, woodcut prints from Washington began appearing on eBay and elsewhere; Washington claiming variously that the woodcuts were originals by famous artists, that they had been made by a great-grandfather whom he identified as named “Earl Mack Washington” and as having lived from 1862 until 1952, or that this alleged great-grandfather had rescued the associated blocks from a fire-bombed Manhattan print shop in the 1880s. E.M. Washington is an African American artist and reported his great-grandfather as such, which led to increased interest in the work. It was estimated by September 2004 that as many as 60,000 prints had been sold, at prices ranging from $20 to a $350. (Washington himself has since admitted to “creating over 1700 wood engravings”.)
In 1999, not long after Washington's work began being sold, a Canadian collector and lawyer, Kenneth Martens, found that Washington had counterfeited work by Eric Gill. Unable to get eBay or other authorities to act, Martens created a website, “Washington Unmasked”, which began assembling and presenting evidence that Washington's work was counterfeit. The M.C. Escher Co. found that Washington was forging the work of M. C. Escher, pressed eBay into promising that it would forbid listing of these, and filed a complaint of criminal fraud in California, as prints were being handled there by stripper Stacy Ortiz (who would later become Washington's wife). Another collector was unable to find any census record for Earl Mack Washington; others failed to find corresponding Social Security records, or evidence in the records of artists with whom Earl Mack Washington had supposedly associated. An expert in art deco identified one of the images, duplicating work by Rockwell Kent, as necessarily dated more than twenty years after the supposed death of the supposed Earl Mack Washington.
A special exhibition of the work, scheduled for October 2004 at the Mid America Council Conference in Lincoln, Nebraska, was cancelled by the Amity Art Foundation after Washington both failed to produce proof that the work was other than his own and was discovered using advertisement for the exhibition to persuade others of the legitimacy of the work.
A criminal complaint was filed in Kalamazoo County, Michigan, by the owners of Prairie Home Antiques, who had purchased 82 prints from Washington for $1,640 on 17 June 2004.
One of Washington's former girlfriends, hairdresser Terra Zavala, provided Martens with a signed statement that she had witnessed Washington creating some of the woodcuts, and that Earl Marshawn Washington had admitted to her not knowing even the name of his great-grandfather.
By 2004, Washington admitted to creating some of the images, but insisted that he had not invented Earl Mack Washington. Some of Washington's more recent listings on eBay, however, declare:
African American Earl M. Washington gained worldwide recognition as a wood engraver by faking his death and creating over 1700 wood engravings and offering them to the art buying public at extremely affordable prices.
Virtually all of the images appear to be copies of the work of other artists, available from books or other reprints, traced onto blocks. Some images have no significant modifications; in other cases the modifications result in absurdities, such as incongruous reflections and German words turned into nonsense."
I ship to the continental USA only. Free shipping on this piece.
Here's your opportunity to be a part of this killer story. Don't miss out.