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Mabel Hewit

Mabel A. Hewit (b. 1903, Conneaut, OH – d. 1984, Cleveland, OH) was an artist known for adopting the Provincetown white-line color woodcut technique. She was introduced to the artistic method by Blanche Lazzell, who was one of the original six Provincetown wood-cutters, and from this initial instruction, Hewit went on to create scenes of buildings, industrial structures, town views, and landscapes in Provincetown as well as her native Midwest. In the 1910s and 1920s, the Provincetown artist colony was a leading center in painting, as well as in printmaking. Hewit was a distinguished printmaker, working across disciplines, but focusing primarily on the white-line woodcut. Her signature style consists of condensed space, simplified design, flat foreground, and hard-edge forms.

Born in Conneaut, OH, Hewit received her Masters degree from Teachers College at Columbia University where she studied under Blanche Lazzell. By the Depression era of the 1930s, Hewit was living and working at the artist’s colony in Provincetown, Massachusetts. She taught at Skidmore College for three years in the Fine and Applied Arts department. At this time the Provincetown Art Association was a major arts center, particularly in the medium of original printmaking. Artists who worked and exhibited there during this period included Gustave Baumann, Ethel Mars, Bror Julius Olsson Nordfeldt, and Lazzell.

During the 1930s and 1940s, Mabel Hewit worked mostly in the mediums of lithography, woodcut and linocut. She learned white-line woodcuts in the 1930’s, a technique she went on to use for the rest of her five-decade career. Hewit’s prints depict a wide range of subjects, including views of Provincetown, Saugatuck, Michigan as well as scenes from Mexico and the West Indies, where she traveled frequently from 1950 on.

Hewit’s work is in numerous museum collections, including the Amon Carter Museum, TX; Cincinnati Art Museum, OH; Cleveland Museum of Art, OH; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, NY; Indianapolis Museum of Art, IN; Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University, AL; Princeton University Art Museum, NJ and the Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, MA.

In 2010, the Cleveland Museum of Art debuted their new prints and drawings galleries with the exhibition Midwest Modern: The Color Woodcuts of Mabel Hewit, curated by Jane Glaubinger, who wrote the text in the accompanying catalog. Hewit was also included in From Paris to Provincetown: Blanche Lazell and the Color Woodcut held at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 2002. Most recently, Hewit's work was featured in The Provincetown Printmakers, a landmark survey of Provincetown prints held by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 2023.
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