Issac J. Sanger
Relief print on Paper
Courtesy of the Fine Arts Program, Public Service, U.S. General Services Administration; commission through the New Deal art projects. Allocated to Indiana State University in 1943.
Sangers Sawmill, Nova Scotia is a quaint illustration of a wintry snow scene in the countryside. The lumber industry was successful during the 19th and 20th centuries along the east coast of Canada, however, just as every other business during the Great Depression, it faced challenges. Many sawmills were forced to lay off people or even shut down the operation. In this particular print, viewers are led to believe that this is one of the fortunate sawmills still in business due to the stock of timber outside the building on the left side of the print. Sawmills were purposely built on the river in order to transport logs from one area to another, and such a river snakes through the print and up into the background. The mill itself is a gable-roofed structure built upon stilts. Attached to the larger building is a shed with a tall smokestack situated on top of it. The position and boldness of the smokestacks vertical line guides the viewers eye upward toward the meticulously designed treetops dividing the background in half. The smokestack is the focal point, not only because of its bold black coloring, but also because of the diagonal ropes staked into the ground and attached near the top of the stack. These ropes create a triangular shape leading the viewer up to the top of the smokestack and into the trees. A rock wall and a wall of cut wood protruding out of the water recede from the right side of the print to the area below the ramp of the sawmill. Behind the mill is a bridge and a road that runs next to the river, with a village suggested on the far bank. The fence-lined roadway leads the viewers focus into the background and to the bend in the road and river. A large hillside in the far distance behind the village of three houses finishes off the composition. The grove of trees on the snow-covered hillside at the left side of the composition creates an aesthetically pleasing balance between the organic movement of the tree branches and the geometric shape of the sawmill buildings. Sanger shows his skillfulness through the variations in lines and textures. The blankets of snow covering the structures, the edges of the path, and the hillside in the background encourage the viewer to explore all corners of the composition. Sanger primarily uses parallel lines in the majority of areas; however, the trees, the blanket of snow covering the hillsides, and the timber all are illustrated through crosshatching. Description.Source Kaitlin Costley. "Isaac Sanger." Carrollton Collects: Prints from the WPA. Carrollton, GA: Department of Art, University of West Georgia, 2011. Print. Text.Reference Falk, Peter Hastings, ed. Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America. Vol. 3. 3 vols. Madison, CT: Sound View Press, 1999; Sanger, Isaac J., and Estill Curtis Pennington. Oral History Interview with Isaac Sanger (November 17, 1981). Archives of American Art, Washington DC.
Provided by Indiana State University Library