The Emblematic Wood Engravings of Carroll Thayer Berry
This March we are celebrating the emblematic wood engravings by printmaker Carroll Thayer Berry, who was born one-hundred and thirty-seven years ago in New Gloucester, Maine, on March 28, 1886.
As the son of a dairy farmer, Berry did not want to follow in his father’s footsteps. Instead, he enrolled at the University of Michigan and became an engineer. Although Berry thought like an engineer, he dreamed like an artist, and in 1905, Berry began taking classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He eventually became a commercial artist in New York City.
During the Depression, many artists, like Berry, turned to printmaking to survive. He moved back to Maine, and bought a three-story brick building in Rockport that served as a studio for the rest of his life. Equipped with a 19th-century printing press, Berry perfected his printmaking skills, producing over 10,000 wood engravings, woodcuts, and linoleum prints.
Berry cherished Maine, specifically the glory of her seacoast villages. He believed they were in danger of disappearing, and he made it his life-long passion to capture them in his prints. Berry focused on indigenous subjects, including the limestone mills in Rockland, the windjammers of Rockport and Camden harbors, local fishermen and lobstermen, the falls in Camden, Deer Isle, and Port Clyde, among others. These emblematic wood engraving are Berry’s legacy to the people of Maine.
Berry wanted his prints to be available to as many people as possible and sold them for $5 in the 1950s. Eventually an artist confronted him on his prices, saying others artists couldn’t compete. Although Berry raised his prices, he never sold a print for more than $15. This collection of Berry prints comes from the artist’s estate, and are still accessible to everyone.
We hope you will come to appreciate Carroll Thayer Berry’s unique contribution to the history of Maine art.
CARROLL THAYER BERRY
Eternal Conflict: The Sea and the Land, 1974
woodblock print, 11 x 13 inches