March of Progress


Artist: Robert Lawson


LAWSON, Robert March of Progress. [New York: printed by the Artist, ca. 1928]. Etching on hand-made paper (Image being 9 3/4 x 7 15/16 inches on 10 3/4 x 9 inch sheet). Signed by Lawson in pencil under the lower right side of the etching, while under the lower left side is hand-written “Ed. 100.” Tape affixed to upper corners, but leaving a full quarter-inch of margin above etching unaffected.

A wonderful etching by the only person to win both a Newberry and Caldecott medal. The etching features a solemn procession of elves, gnomes, goblins and fawns led by a lone wolf, preparing to leave Central Park as modern society encroaches on their pastoral territory. The NYC skyline, seen clearly in the background, is of the corner of 59th Street and Fifth Avenue, with the Nederlander and Hotel Pierre clearly delineated.. Before achieving success as a popular book illustrator, Lawson survived during the late 1920s creating etchings in small quantities: giving artificial limitations of "Ed.50" or "Ed.100" but as he could not afford the luxury of so many sheets of fine paper, he printed them only as needed, and it is generally believed far fewer quantities were produced. None of the prints sold well, but they brought his work to the attention of those who were able to offer him several commercial book assignments and thus helped launch his career. Our favorite of all Lawson’s remarkable etchings.