woodcut, 11 1/2 by 8 inches
Illinois State Museum collection
Cutting is one of a series of woodcuts Clare Leighton made about a lumber camp. Here two men use a two-handed crosscut saw to fell an evergreen tree, much like settlers did in Illinois to cut trees for building in the nineteenth century.
Art critics labeled her a regionalist (artist who depicted rural life of his/her area of the country). This art movement was popular in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s. She was not a regionalist by geography, but by subject matter. Other regionalists, such as Grant Wood in the Midwest and Paul Landacre in California, also made the rural life their main subject. More Illinois State Museum artworks with a regionalist flavor and a 1930's Art Deco style can be seen in Depression Era Art in the Art module.
Leighton moved to the United States about 1930, when she came for a book tour and decided to stay. She spent most of her career in Connecticut. Her first book was called The Farmer's Year. It contained text and wood engravings that complemented each other. She often chose country life as her subject matter. Other books she wrote and illustrated were titled Four Hedges and Growing New Roots.