This month the library has a display of the works of Fritz Eichenberg focusing on his “Works of Mercy”.
Eichenberg (October 24, 1901 – November 30, 1990) was a German-American illustrator and arts educator who worked primarily in wood engraving. His best-known works were concerned with religion, social justice and nonviolence.
Raised in a non-religious family, Eichenberg had been attracted to Taoism as a child. Following his wife’s unexpected death in 1937, he turned briefly to the practice of Zen Buddhist meditation, then joined the Religious Society of Friends in 1940. Though he remained a Quaker until his death, Eichenberg was also associated with Catholic charity work through his friendship with Dorothy Day—whom he met at a Quaker conference on religion and publishing]—and frequently contributed illustrations to Day’s newspaper the Catholic Worker.
His more famous book illustrations include A child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas, Jane Eyre and Wuthering heights, A collection of the work of Edgar Allen Poe, Crime and Punishment, War and Peace, Dance of Death, Wood and the Graver, and Fathers and Sons. The library holds 25 copies of his works, a number of them in the monastery because his work includes distinctive fragile covers, such as on the iconic Bronte works. Copies of the covers appear in the photo.
Born in Cologne, France he died in Peace Dale, Rhode Island after a long teaching and artistic printmaking career which ended as head of the art department at University of Rhode Island.
The display shows books, covers, a Christmas card (from the book Artists’ Christmas cards compiled by Steven Heller) and articles by Channing Gray on Eichenberg and an exhibit of his exhibited works before his death. (R.S.)