Irish Elegans is a color woodcut from about 1920 by American artist William Seltzer Rice. It is pencil signed and titled and it thought to be from an edition of 15 or fewer impressions. It was printed by the artist on soft laid Japanese paper and the image measures 8-7/8 x 11-7/8 inches.
Irish Elegance is a hybrid tea rose that is described as having veined salmon-flame buds which open peach and then fade to salmon-buff. Five petals create this flat bloom rose which is very fragrant. Rice loved all of nature including the fleeting bloom of this tea rose. He placed the bouquet in a ceramic pot probably crafted by his own hands and offset the delicate colors against a black background. Rice created a number of floral color woodcuts and produced some of them using the one-block or white line technique he learned from Cora Boone. In this image, he defined the delicate petals with black outlines causing the roses to pop forward in the picture plane.
William Seltzer Rice, painter, printmaker, educator, and author, was born to Sarah Graeff Seltzer and John Maurer Rice on 23 June 1873 in Manheim, Pennsylvania. He moved to Philadelphia in the fall of 1892 to attend the Pennsylvania School of Industrial Art and was awarded a three-year scholarship to the school the following year. In June 1894, Rice received a Certificate in Industrial Drawings and the following June he received a Certificate in Decorative Painting and Applied Design.
After graduating in 1895, Rice was hired as staff artist for the Philadelphia Times but continued taking classes with Howard Pyle at the Drexel Institute. In August 1900, Rice moved to California and his friend Frederick H. Meyer offered him a job as Assistant Art Supervisor in the Stockton Public Schools. Rice taught for thirty years in the Alameda and Oakland public schools and, in 1929, he received his BFA degree from the California College of Arts and Crafts. That same year he published his book, Block Printing in the Schools.
Rice was a member of the Print Makers Society of California, the California Society of Etchers, the Prairie Printmakers, the Northwest Printmakers, and the San Francisco Art Association. He exhibited with the California Water Color Society, the Association of American Etchers, the Print Club of Philadelphia, and the Wichita Art Association. His work is represented in the collections of the Boston Public Library and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Massachusetts; the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana; the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Ithaca, New York; the Monterey Museum of Art, California; the New York Public Library, New York; the Oakland Museum of California; the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California; the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California; the Library of Congress, the National Gallery of Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; the Wichita Art Museum, Kansas; and the Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts..
William Seltzer Rice died at his home in Oakland, California on 27 August 1963.