Michele & Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Print Gallery, First Floor
Celebrated self-taught artist, Asa Cheffetz, became a master wood engraver over the course of his nearly 50-year career. Although he was born in Buffalo, New York, he lived in Springfield, Massachusetts for most of his life. His crisp, incisive images were created with a great attention to detail, illustrating the New England landscape and its barns, bridges and snowy forest scenes.
The museum’s large collection of wood engravings by Cheffetz began the year that the museum opened to the public. In 1934, the print entitled “Monday,” was given to the museum by Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Kamberg. It was the first of many prints to be added to the collection over time by generous donors such as the Junior League of Springfield, Frederick M. Jones, the Kambergs, Lucy Mitchell, Mrs. Louis Cheffetz (sister-in-law of the artist) as well as those added to the collection through museum purchase.
As an expert in the art and craft of wood engraving, Cheffetz displayed his impressive technique and versatility in prints of snow scenes, glass goblets, reflections on water as well as tiny illustrations used as book plates and for the New England Calendar series. Exciting recent additions to the collection that are on display include several early prints that were experimental in nature, drawings, wood engravings, the artist’s sketchbook, woodblocks and artist’s tools. While this exhibit displays only a portion of Cheffetz’ work, it offers viewers a glimpse of his vision, sensitivity and creative passion.