I have finally managed to find time to complete this post on the Belgian artist, Frans Masereel (1889-1972). Masereel was one of the most important and influential graphic artists of the first half of the 20th century. His woodcuts, charged with social and political observations from the years between the two world wars, were an inspiration for future artists like Lynd Ward and Eric Drooker from the US and Clifford Harper. Here's the Wikipedia link on his biography: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frans_Masereel
Here is an excerpt from Marina Warner's introduction in this book:
"Masereel's city was Paris: he was living there when he made the woodcuts for the book, on the Butte de Montmartre, but he had come there from Ghent, via Berlin, and the excitements and the horrors of the German capital in the Twenties inform the witness he bears in THE CITY. It was however Paris that he had epitomised, since the 19th century, the special character of modern life, the frenzy of urban existence, the new tumultuous conglomeration of the masses."
I could have chosen any of the 100 woodcuts of this book - the are all brilliant in detail, composition and craftsmanship while displaying the horrors and drama Europe was going through during those years. The image below is the artist's self-portrait from 1923.