Introduction

Stow Wengenroth (American, 1906 – 1978) is a well-regarded American lithographer, who worked mainly in Cape Ann, Massachusetts for much of his career. Born in 1906 in New York City, Wengenroth studied at the Art Students League and the Grand Central School of Art. He was known as a draftsman and, then, as a lithographer. He truly excelled technically and achieved great renown in lithography especially. Esteemed museums throughout the United States hold his works, including the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester, Massachusetts and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Portrait of Stow Wengenroth, ca. 1936
Stow Wengenroth, ca. 1936. Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Lithography

Lithography is a common version of printmaking that produces very detailed images that can be reproduced multiple times. The word “lithography” itself expresses how this process works: the word comes from the Greek words “lithos” meaning “stone” and “graphein” meaning “to write”. The artist draws directly onto a lithographic stone with a grease crayon. After treating the stone with chemicals and a number of other steps, the stone is inked and prints can be made. Lithography allows for only one color to be printed at a time and multiple stones can be used to make multi-colored lithographs. Wengenroth, however, preferred the aesthetic of black ink on white paper.

Wengenroth’s Style

Stow Wengenroth began working in Cape Ann, Massachusetts in the 1930s. He found that this region, with the artistic hubs of Rockport and Gloucester, fit his vision quite well. The buildings, fishing fleets, forests, landscapes, and roads of Cape Ann and coastal New England all provided fodder for Wengenroth’s imagery. While people make occasional appearances in his lithographs, his prints are more often devoid of human activity. This creates a stark and serene atmosphere within his prints. When figures do appear, they are often alone, and we do not see their faces. Wengenroth’s prints create a calm, quiet image of America and New England in the early to mid 20th century not unlike the paintings of his well-known contemporary, Edward Hopper (American, 1882 – 1967).

Stow Wengenroth Lithograph of Trees and Ship
Stow Wengenroth, "Copse of Trees with Ship". ca. mid 20th century. Lithograph on Paper.

Exclusivity of Wengenroth's Prints

Stow Wengenroth’s prints are highly unique, and rather exclusive. While print makers can often produce many copies of their works, Wengenroth limited his editions. His editions were usually limited to 50 or 60 copies, meaning that any original Wengenroth lithograph is one of only a handful available. In addition, Wengenroth would hand sign and number his editions to make this quite clear. Thus, Wengenroth lithographs are sought-after examples of New England art.

Stow Wengenroth, "Gulls and Rocks" lithograph
Stow Wengenroth, "Gulls and Rocks". ca. mid 20th century. Lithograph on Paper.

Selling Wengenroth Prints at Nest Egg Auctions

Nest Egg Auctions has sold the works of Stow Wengenroth on multiple occasions. Two lithographs in particular deserve particular mention. One, Gulls and Rocks, depicts a group of seagulls that have congregated on a rocky outcropping. Another lithograph is quite similar, showing a scene of a schooner sailing on the Atlantic, spied through a copse of pine trees. Both scenes depict the stony, forested landscape characteristic of coastal New England, and provide an excellent sense of place. The level of detail, in addition, is remarkable, and it becomes clear how gifted an artist Wengenroth was.

If you have a lithograph signed by Stow Wengenroth, Nest Egg Auctions would love to see it! Since Wengenroth was a New England artist, his art speaks to us on a personal level as New Englanders. We feel a connection and an affinity to the scenes which Wengenroth depicted. Nest Egg Auctions is always happy to sell works by Wengenroth, and we would be happy to provide you more information on yours.