Item No: #1508 Hand. Frank Cieciorka.

The Original Counterculture Fist


Cieciorka, Frank

Notes: An original woodblock print of the iconic counterculture fist, signed and dated by the artist in the year of its creation. Cieciorka's image became one of the most widely used protest symbols of the last fifty years.

According to the New York Times obituary of Cieciorka (1939–2008), his "woodcut rendering of a clenched-fist salute was a model for the New Left's most ubiquitous emblem." It was used, often with little or no modification, by the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and the Black Panthers. A more stylized version, drawn by Cieciorka for an anti-draft rally, was also widely disseminated. More recently, Occupy Oakland adopted his original woodcut version, and many Black Lives Matter protest signs incorporate the design.

Rare: The Oakland Museum of California has a 1966 screen-printed version. A copy was exhibited at St. Mary's College in a show called California in Relief, about which Robert Taylor wrote: "Just around a corner panel in the exhibit is a 1965 woodcut modestly titled "Hand" by Frank Cieciorka, who was working with voting rights activists in that era. It is so basic, just a fist, a print not much larger than 2-by-3-inches. Yet it was one of the precursors of the fists on buttons, T-shirts and posters that launched decades of social and political activism. Among the scores of prints on display, it most depicts the power of simplicity."

4 by 5 inches, woodcut on paper. Provenance: The estate of Frank Cieciorka via the Sewell Gallery (Eureka, CA).

Edition + Condition: A fine example, titled, signed, and dated in pencil. This is one of the earliest copies of Hand and one of a very small number that Cieciorka dated.

Publication: (N.-pl.): Frank Cieciorka, 1965.

Item No: #1508

Price: $3,000