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Rita Dove

The documentary focuses on the life and artistic achievements of Julius John Lankes, a Buffalo native who was involved in New England's woodcutting and printmaking revival movement. The film delves into Lankes' connections and relationships with other artists and intellectuals during the interwar period of the 20th century. To provide context, writer-director Montes-Bradley references notable figures such as Robert Frost, Charles Burchfield, Sherwood Anderson, and Rockwell Kent.


Lankes' artistic journey is traced from his settling in the "provincial south of confederate veterans and Jim Craw" to his contributions to similar movements in other parts of the world. The documentary also explores how Lankes responded to the political struggles of American intellectualism. The film is 30 minutes long, in HD, and available in English on Kanopy Streaming and Alexander Street Press.


by Welford Dunaway Taylor

What does it take for a complete novice to approach an unfamiliar artistic subject, read around the edges of it, slowly get drawn into its interior, and then become immersed—to the point that the former naïf is no longer a novice but an initiate, capable of reporting his subject to the world? If the novice is Eduardo Montes-Bradley, and the artistic subject is the work and life of the artist J. J. Lankes (1884-1960), then the process requires subject than two years. But the product of this effort is a film that bids fair to present the full, prolific substance of Lankes' œuvre to the current generation

of art fanciers.

The film is rich in its selection of graphic images, and its storyline carries the viewer through the significant courses of Lankes’ career, from his beginnings as a draughtsman through his apprentice years of art study in his native Buffalo and his transformative experiences as a scholarship student at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. It also explores Lankes’ artistic and personal connections to contemporary authors such as Robert Frost and Sherwood Anderson.


The figure that emerges is that of a masterful artist who elevated a demanding graphic genre, the woodcut, to unprecedented artistic heights and engaged with his times on significant issues such as social justice, war, and the importance of individual crafts in an industrial age. 

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