William Seltzer Rice (1873–1963) was a young artist of twenty-seven when he stepped off a train in Stockton, California, in 1900; he had left his home in Pennsylvania to take the job of assistant art supervisor for the Stockton public schools. California became not only his lifelong home but also his muse, inspiring a prolific career in art. Rice soon moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where the region’s Arts and Crafts movement was flowering. He was talented in several mediums, but block printing ultimately became his favorite, for it gave him the opportunity to combine his skills of draftsmanship, carving, and printing. California’s flora, fauna, and landscapes—from the Sierra Nevada to the Pacific—were the subjects that fed his creativity.
William S. Rice: California Block Prints is the first book published on the artist’s work and presents more than sixty of his color block prints dating from 1910 to 1935. Among the prints featured are scenes from Yosemite, Mt. Shasta, Monterey, Carmel, the San Francisco Bay Area, Lake Tahoe, and other California landmarks. An essay by Roberta Rice Treseder, Rice’s daughter, recounts his life and achievements, with special emphasis on his block printing methods and materials. William S. Rice’s works are in many private and public collections, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Oakland Museum of California, the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, the New York Public Library, and the Worcester Art Museum.