Carol Summers


Carol Summers


Carol Summers


The Big Horn at Night 1971
Woodcut, ed. 23/50 49 x 37 inches

Signed Lower Left

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Carol Summers has worked as an artist throughout the second half of the 20th century and into the first years of the next, outliving most of his mid-century modernist peers.  Initially trained as a painter, Summers was drawn to color woodcuts around 1950 and it became his specialty thereafter.

Over the years he has developed a process and style that is both innovative and readily recognizable. His art is known for it's large scale, saturated fields of bold color, semi-abstract treatment of landscapes from around the world and a luminescent quality achieved through a printmaking process he invented.

In a career that has extended over half a century, Summers has hand-pulled approximately 245 woodcuts in editions that have typically run from 25 to 100 in number.  His talent was both inherited and learned.

Born in 1925 in Kingston, a small town in upstate New York, Summers was raised in nearby Woodstock with his older sister, Mary.  His parents were both artists who had met in art school in St. Louis.  During the Great Depression, when Carol was growing up, his father supported the family as a medical illustrator until he could return to painting. His mother was a watercolorist and also quite knowledgeable about the different kinds of papers used for various kinds of painting. Many years later, Summers would paint or print on thinly textured paper originally collected by his mother.

From 1948 to 1951, Carol Summers trained in the classical fine and studio arts at Bard College and at the Art Students League of New York.  He studied painting with Steven Hirsh and printmaking with Louis Schanker.  He admired the shapes and colors favored by early modernists Paul Klee (Sw: 1879-1940) and Matt Phillips (Am: b.1927- ). 

After graduating, Summers quit working as a part-time carpenter and cabinetmaker (which had supported his schooling and living expenses) to focus full time on art.  That same year, an early abstract, Bridge No. 1, was selected for a Purchase Prize in a competition sponsored by the Brooklyn Museum. In 1952, his work, Cathedral, Construction and Icarus, was shown the first time at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in an exhibition of American woodcuts.

biography taken from  Red Dot Lady through