October 12, 2011

Nura, Nura Woodson Ulreich

nura_buttermilk_50watts.jpg

Another incredible vintage children's book find at 50 Watts. This time, it's illustrations by New York artist Norah Woodson Ulreich, who worked under the name Nura.

Above is The Buttermilk Tree from 1934, which, I hear the photogravures are amazingly printed.

Below, the latest post, is The Silver Bridge, from 1937, which look to be lithographs. There are apparently more to come, too.

nura_silverbridge_50watts.jpg

No word on what the stories are like, but if the title page is any indication, they're probably a little ethereal-loopy:

The Silver Bridge/ written, designed and illustrated by Nuda/ An unobtrusive book for those mature in years but young in spirit/ Seek a quiet corner and invest your thought with peace/ For your passage through the pages of this book
Nura may have been a cat lady.

Reading ahead a bit [on Abebooks and Amazon], Nura illustrated several books over 20 or so years; conceptually/strategically, at least, my favorite might be one of her earliest, Stories, which she published in 1932. It reads, "12 pictures waiting for an author! And YOU are the AUTHOR!" and has some blank pages for filling in the stories.

And Googling around generally, there's a fair amount of Nura Ulreich artwork circulating; she did prints, paintings, WPA murals. Just a couple of weeks ago, in fact, Sotheby's sold this 1935 painting, Bosom Friends, for only $563. It had been in the Detroit Institute of Arts collection. Not a masterpiece, perhaps, but it does have a certain Mary Blair-meets-Yoshitomo Nara appeal.

nura_ulreich_dia_bosom.jpg

The Buttermilk Tree by Nura [50watts.com]
The Silver Bridge [50watts.com]
Rather than just "Nura," Search Amazon for Nura Ulreich titles [amazon]

1 Comment

Glad you are digging Nura! Another cool thing is that she seems to have inscribed each one for the family buying the book. I haven't had the urge to actually read them, but I agree with your hunch that they're probably ethereal/loopy.

In "The Silver Bridge," Nura specifically names the person who did the color printing -- her attention to quality is really noticeable. I wonder what she charged for the books, since her production costs had to be sky-high.

Will

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