Foote's Gun-Boats Ascending to Attack Fort Henry from Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated), 2005
Offset lithography and silkscreen on Somerset textured paper
Sheet: 39 x 53 inches (99.1 x 134.6 cm)
Edition of 35
Published by the LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies at Columbia University
Kara Walker
Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated)
Each of the 15 prints in Kara Walker's Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated) began with an enlargement, using offset lithography, of a woodcut plate from Ed. Alfred H. Guernsey and Henry M. Alden's Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War, which was first published in Chicago in 1866. Each of these images was then overlaid with Walker's silhouette figures rendered with solid black silkscreen. This print series marks the first time Walker has united her trademark silhouettes with the species of historical documentation that influenced the development of her aesthetics. "These prints," Walker explains, "are the landscapes that I imagine exist in the back of my somewhat more austere wall pieces." Walker uses a variety of strategies to break in, cover over, or otherwise intervene within the narrative of the woodcuts, usurping the images' original dramatic purposes in favor of ones of her own invention. Walker's silhouettes interrupt Union maneuvers as often as Confederate ones, as if no matter which side wins, there will be suffering.

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