Civic Insomnia.



Gerald Kenneth Geerlings.


Civic Insomnia.




Aquatint, 10⅞ x 14 in.

Begun in 1976, my collection of American prints spans the period from 1900 to World War II, with a particular emphasis on the 1930s. Between 1929 and 1933, Gerald Geerlings created a series of masterful urban images. A trained architect, he was meticulous in his work.

Most urban landscape prints of this period were etchings. However, this is not the case with Civic Insomnia. To achieve the atmospheric effect in the view of the night skyline from across the river, Geerlings used a large watercolor brush to spread the acid and vary the length of acid biting time for each degree of blackness. The lovely dark night with beautiful gradations is unique to his work.

I had already owned Geerlings’s Jewelled City (1931), a Chicago night scene. And the addition of Civic Insomnia to my collection, with its splendid view of the Manhattan skyline, makes for a fitting accompaniment by this most creative printmaker.


Hersh Cohen