Bill Ritchie's art in Washington State
Zena Chew Collection
Facsimile of the actual print in the Zena Chew
Little Spaceship Crash
Provenance: 1977. Print. Intaglio, relief, stencil, litho. Ochre, red, blue, black, gray. Image 12 X 9 in on 15 X 11 3/4 in Van Gelder Zonen (natural, buff) paper. 4/5 of one of the series. Signed lower right.
Bill's Comment about the Little Spaceship Crash: Spanning two years of development and about 75 impressions, Little Spaceship Crash was the seed for a larger work. These came out of the movie, Planet of the Apes. I like to tell the story about the path flown by the helicopter filming it, and then my entry into computers graphics and how I learned the X-Y-Z of IT. This print was test of methods I would need for a larger version, then the tests resulted in an edition that stood on its own.
Institutions and corporate collections: Art Planning Consultants, New York, NY; Baker University, Baldwin, KS; Landau/Alexander Gallery, Los Angeles CA;Oregon Arts Commission; Bill Mally Collection, University of Washington IMS, Seattle, WA; Norton Building, Seattle, WA; Teller Training Institute, Seattle, WA; United Pacific Reliance Corporation, CA; USIA Tokyo, Japan.
Back story: This print was originally purchased by Elizabeth Neaville from the Erica Williams / Anne Johnson Gallery, Seattle, possibly in 1980. Ms. Neaville was a neighbor lady to Zena. When Elizabeth died, she left these instructions: "If I should die suddenly this picture is my gift to Zena Chew, the little girl next door, in gratitude for the year of comfort and joy in watching her happy and bouncing around when everything else seemed bleak. I miss little children, all of ours were so wonderful; Zena reminds me of them and is very special herself to me. It was most kind of her father [Carl Chew] to share her. Thank you." - Elizabeth C. Neaville, February 29, 1980.
The instructions were sealed in an envelope, taped to the back of the print with instructions to her daughter to return the print to Zena by way of Carl. The contents were not known for 39 years until September 20, 2019 when Carl broke the seal and read it aloud to Bill and Lynda Ritchie. He then handed the print to Bill for cleaning and safekeeping. "As I cleaned the glass (it might be acrylic) and oiled the frame with teak oil, it came back to me that it was in the first days of my series of the Little Spaceship Crash that Zena was born. In fact, as I was making the first videotape recording of the movie, Planet of the Apes to capture the spaceship crash and Carl and Laura, his first wife, came to dinner to watch the broadcast. On that night - Zena's birthday - Laura's water broke, and they rushed off to the hospital."
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