Joel Shapiro


Joel Shapiro (b. 1941) is an American sculptor living in New York City. 

Blurring the distinction between figuration and geometric abstraction in sculpture, his work is frequently comprised of rectangular blocks that suggest figures in motion. One could consider him a second-generation minimalist, despite the depictions of the perceived human forms. 

This woodcut is dense, dark and elaborate created by many small repeated marks that collectively suggest the form of a hummingbird in flight. Similar to Shaprio's sculpture, an assortment of dynamic lines both present as abstract yet simultaneously as a form in motion. This print is a fine example of Shapiro's approach to printmaking and working in two-dimensions.

"Hummingbird" was created for the celebrated artist book "A Bestiary" by Bradford Morrow, who collaborated with 18 contemporary American artists to create artworks depicting the animals in his manuscript. 

Since the ancient world, bestiaries have been used to catalog and describe collective knowledge on wonders, particularly animals, from the natural world. 

Participating artists included James Nares, Erich Fischl, Kiki Smith and Vija Celmins, to mention a few. Working at Grenfell Press, the artists used traditional printmaking, including wood cuts, linoleum cuts, engravings and pochoir. The resulting artworks from this collaboration are as diverse in their style and beauty as the animals themselves. Click here to see Joel Shapiro's other contribution to A Bestiary Which do you prefer?

Questions about this piece? Contact us or call +1.416.704.1720

"Hummingbird" (From artist book A Bestiary by Bradford Morrow) 

USA, 1990

Wood cut relief print in black and ochre on Somerset paper

Signed and numbered by the artist on the colophon page

From an edition of 100

14.8"H 10.7"W (sheet)

Very good condition

Publisher: The Grenfell Press, New York

"Hummingbird" in the book Bestiary by Bradford Morrow (New York: Grenfell Press, 1990)

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