Paul Landacre

Born into a family of scientists in Columbus, Ohio in 1893, Paul Landacre was a college track star who had to give up athletic pursuits after a serious respiratory illness left his upper body permanently weakened. While recovering, Landacre enrolled in a drawing class before relocating with his family to San Diego to rehabilitate further. In 1918, Landacre took a job as a commercial illustrator and regularly went on walks in the nearby rural, hilly areas to boost his strength. After moving to Los Angeles in 1923, Landacre began studying at the Otis College of Art and Design, where he met advertising copywriter Margaret McCreery, whom he married in 1925.

While at Otis, Landacre learned printmaking mostly on his own, soon excelling at both wood engravings and woodcuts. In the late 1920s, Landacre met Jake Zeitlin, who owned an influential antiquarian bookstore in Los Angeles and was responsible for launching the careers of various printmakers during the early 20th century. Zeitlin organized Landacre's first solo exhibition in 1930. The following year, Landacre published his first book of prints, California Hills and Other Wood Engravings, which was very well received. Zeitlin formed the Paul Landacre Association in 1934 to promote the artist's work, with its characteristic high-contrast, modernist style focused on landscapes, nudes, and still lifes.

Known for printing all of his works by hand using high-quality materials, Landacre and his wife Margaret lived and worked in a bungalow atop a hill in Edendale, a historic district in the present-day Echo Park neighborhood. The couple moved into their home in 1932 and Landacre had a hand press on site for the entirety of his time there. Landacre became an associate of the National Academy of Design in 1939. For most of the next two decades, Landacre practiced his art, illustrated books, and taught printmaking. Landacre died in 1963, not long after Margaret passed away. In 2006, the Landacres' home was recognized as a historic/cultural monument by the City of Los Angeles.

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