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South Street Seaport
1988 Woodblock



From The Dauer Collection

September 20, 1988
Woodblock Print on Paper
10"x15" framed, 3"x4.5" unframed

Entitled South Street Seaport/Bowne, this 1988 woodblock print on paper scene is signed in the lower right by the artist John DePol. Excellent vintage condition. Framed in a restored vintage wood frame with gold and black patina finish using archival matting behind conservation clear glass.

About the Artist

John DePol (1913-2004) was born September 16, 1913, in Greenwich Village, New York, where he was raised, the eldest of three children of Theresa and Joseph DePol. 

From an early age, guided by his love of art, DePol devoted himself in his spare time to becoming a self-taught artist. He would sketch the streets, landmark buildings and waterfront scenes of Manhattan, and scrutinized gallery windows, studying the etchings of various artists. Decades later he would recall how he was drawn to the masters.

Although John DePol is known as a master of wood engraving, he also produced prints by etching with aquatint and drypoint, as well as lithography. His earliest works were etchings with subjects taken from his life as a young man in New York City. Even these early works, done with almost no professional training, show DePol's sense of design, use of light and shadow, and his abiding interest in the lives of ordinary people. The University of Delaware Library holds the only known collection of DePol's early etchings. Throughout his life, John DePol returned to the New York City of his birth for inspiration. Many of his earliest artwork was of the lower Manhattan neighborhood he grew up in. Over the years, he continued to make engravings of the buildings, skyline and neighborhoods of the city.

About the Collector

John A. Dauer (1933-2017) was a collector of many things, the vast majority of which convey stories of hard work, craftsmanship, industry, unsung histories, and associations with those he loved and respected. 

Born and raised on Staten Island, New York in 1933, John grew up among a close-knit family of entrepreneurial bakers, wood carvers, and leather merchants. He graduated in 1954 from Columbia College with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology.  He went on to work with his father John Sr., at the New York City-based John A. Dauer Leather Company.

During and after his undergraduate studies, John enrolled in painting, print making, and sculpture classes at Columbia, the New School for Social Research, and Greenwich House. Many of his teachers (including Margot Kempe and Peppino Mangravite) were recent European emigres and WPA artists, sympathetic to the themes of social realism and late modernism.

Although he made his living and supported his family as a leather salesman, John consistently maintained an interest in, and passion for, the creative work of artists and craft people throughout his life. The subjects and scale of his collecting varied over the years (from large 18th century cupboards to hand carved fishing lures), but let’s just say his houses and barns often resembled mini-Mercer Museums.

During his last 2 decades, John focused his collecting efforts on the work of print makers and painters who reminded him or were directly associated with those who influenced him during his New York youth. Images and the stories of sailors, stevedores, factory workers, craftsmen, pushcart vendors, musicians, stoop sitters, and artists abound.