View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
Catalogue entryNaum Gabo 1890-1977
P02002 Opus 2 1950
Inscribed 'Gabo' at b.r. of image, and (all these inscriptions the other way up) 'op 2' t.r., 'Gabo' t.l. and stamped with monogram 'NG' at extreme t.l.
Wood engraving, 8 x 6 (20.4 x 15.3) on paper 11 x 9 (27.9 x 22.8)
Presented by the artist through the American Federation of Arts 1967
Lit: Michael Mazur, 'The Monoprints of Naum Gabo' in Print Collector's Newsletter, IX, No.5, 1978, pp.149-50
Repr: Herbert Read and Leslie Martin, Gabo: Constructions, Sculpture, Paintings, Drawings, Engravings (London 1957), pl.127 (the variant given to Mrs Gabo, with a completely different background)
This print is signed at the top and bottom, in two opposite directions. The artist wrote that 'my double signature on it is deliberately intended to indicate that there is no up and no down on it. I would not like to definitely "rule", but personally I prefer the signature within the actual engraving to be down'. (Letter of 28 April 1968).
According to Michael Mazur, the block was cut and proofed somewhere between January and April of 1950, and there are about 31 titled and signed examples, three signed proofs and two black proofs with Gabo's stamp. There is also one presentation proof 'For Miriam' (the one reproduced by Read and Martin), which is unique in having a grid pattern printed with corrugated cardboard or a straight edge. In all there are at least ten major variations, including the corrugated.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.255, reproduced p.255