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Untitled, ca. 1925, Woodcut
Frans Masereel (Belgian, 1889 – 1972)

Frans Masereel was a Flemish painter and graphic artist who worked mainly in France. Masereel is widely known for his woodcuts, and he is considered by some to be the creator of the woodcut novel. Masereel’s The City (1925) stands as an early graphic novel and consists of 100 captionless woodcuts depicting the many facets of early 20th century urban life. Matt Williams, who curated an exhibition on The City at London’s ICA in 2017, notes: “Amongst the rise of right-wing populist thinking, Masereel came from a humanist and deeply pacifist point of view. He resisted bourgeois values and depicted in one image what would take 1,000 words to communicate.”