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Gaylord Schanilec

With the completion of what seemed like the ultimate book project, (New York Revisited, The Grolier Club, 2002), I came across a copy of Dry Fly Entomology (London, 1902) by F. M. Halford, the popularizer of modern fly fishing. Inspiration from Halford's book led to a personal trilogy exploring the intersection of art and science — Mayflies of the Driftless Region (Stockholm, 2005), Sylvæ (Stockholm, 2008), and Lac Des Pleurs (Stockholm, 2015).
This consumed the next dozen-or-so years and culminated with the realization I had said all I had to say about life in rural Wisconsin. I've recently moved to Saint Paul where, from another perch on the shoulder of the Mississippi I watch clouds, residential construction, and schools of pigeons turning like fish in the sky.




“Mr. Schanilec’s latest, the 76-page Lac Des Pleurs, features his intricate and time-intensive engravings of the lake and its wildlife, accompanied by his original verse and the notes of European explorers of the area. Those start with Louis Hennepin, who christened it Lac des Pleurs, or Lake of Tears, because the Native Americans cried when their chief would not allow them to kill Hennepin and his colleagues.” Read more from The New York Times - “Grain by Wood Grain, a Movable Feast- Artists Find an Audience for Painstaking Letterpress Printing” by Michael Hoinski) (From "A bookmaker, unbound" by Mary Abbe, Star Tribune, February 2013):
Even in this tech-obsessed time, a master book artist like Gaylord Schanilec can not only survive but gain international renown for his spectacular craftsmanship… Read on...



99. Lac Des Pleurs. Commentary on passage through Lake Pepin by Louis Hennepin, George Featherstonhaugh, Henry Schoolcraft, George Catlin, Jonathan Carver, Zebulon Montgomery Pike, Charles Latrobe, Henry David Thoreau, and Oliver Gibbs Jr., with related excerpts from Harriet Bell Carlander, George Wagner, Robert E. Coker, C. A. Lesueur, Thaddeus Surber, Paul Harder, and Mark Twain; an introduction by Patrick K. Coleman & an epilogue by Gaylord Schanilec. -Seven multi-color wood engravings by GS, one wood engraved map. 100 copies signed by GS.

More works...


1955-Born at The University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
1977-Bachelor of Arts degree, The University of North Dakota. Moved to the Twin Cities to embark on a
career as an illustrator of small press books.
1979-COMPAS/Ceta Artist, Saint Paul, Minnesota. Began acquiring letterpress equipment and type.
1980-Printed first book under the Midnight Paper Sales imprint.
1989-Artist-in-Residence, Minnesota Center for Book Arts.
1990-Artist-in-Residence, The Gregynog Press (Wales, UK).
1991-1992-Artist-in-Residence, The Minnesota Center for Book Arts.
1993-2015-Lived and worked on the shoulder of the Mississippi River near Stockholm, Wisconsin.
Awards, Exhibitions and Collections...

Actually, the world didn’t beat a path to Schanilec’s door. Instead, he took his meticulously handmade books to New York, London and beyond, and collectors leapt at them like trout after mayflies. They’re in special collections everywhere from Los Angeles’ J. Paul Getty Museum to the New York Public Library, Harvard, Yale, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Bodleian Library at Oxford.

Back in Schanilec’s home state, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and Walker Art Center own his books, as do the Minnesota Historical Society and the University of Minnesota.

“He’s one of the two or three finest color wood-engravers ever. He’s really that good,” said Robert Rulon-Miller, a rare book dealer in St. Paul who has followed Schanilec’s career for more than 30 years. “He’s a man of many parts: engraver, printer, bookbinder, editor, writer, natural philosopher, and he brings all this stuff together into his books.” Handmade everything A bibliography of Schanilec’s print projects, recently compiled by Rulon-Miller, lists more than 600 items including dozens of books he’s written, designed, typeset or illustrated, plus hundreds of bits of ephemera ranging from pamphlets to a special bookmark for the Hennepin County Library system.

Schanilec’s books are no mass-market marvels. A typical print run might result in just 25 copies; his largest printing is about 1,000 volumes. Each is a labor of love for which the artist hand-sets each letter of type, designs every page, carves the illustrations into blocks of wood and prints them in multiple colors. He does not make the paper, but has on occasion done the binding himself. They take as long as two or more years to make and typically sell for $150 and up. “He’s incredibly talented at using very difficult techniques to translate a visual narrative into beautiful artwork,” said Jeff Rathermel, executive director of the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. “He just happens to be in our back yard, but he’s recognized internationally.”

Over the years he has printed poems and broadsides for such luminaries as Robert Bly, Gary Snyder and Meridel Le Sueur, as well as memoirs by former Minnesota Gov. Elmer L. Andersen and philanthropist Kenneth Dayton. His two books about New York City include “The Bicycle Diaries,” an acclaimed collaboration with writer Richard Goodman on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy.

Rooted in Minnesota, he is best known, however, for his own writing and illustrations on regional topics as wide-ranging — and esoteric — as St. Paul’s now-demolished High Bridge, Mississippi waterfalls and “Mayflies of the Driftless Region.” An award winner at the 2005 Oxford Book Fair, the “Mayflies” book involved four years of research … and features 13 pristine engravings detailing every aspect of the insects, down to the veins of their translucent wings. “His work is so quintessentially Minnesotan it seems bred in the bone,” said Patrick Coleman, rare books curator at the Minnesota Historical Society. His observations of flora and fauna are so keen that “fly fishermen and other people really melt,” Coleman said. (Excerpted from "A bookmaker, unbound" by Mary Abbe, Star Tribune, February 2013)

98. The Bicycle Diaries. One New Yorker's journey through 9-11, Richard Goodman. Midnight Paper Sales.
-eight multi-colored wood engravings by GS, incuding 2 vignettes. 250 copies numbered and signed by GS and Richard Goodman. 26 lettered copies.

97. Report from Pool Four Gaylord Schanilec, Midnight Paper Sales
-two color wood engravings. signed by the author

96. Plunging, Edwidge Danticat, Midnight Paper Sales
-two color wood engravings

95. Twenty-Four Old Regulars, Maurice Manning, Press on Scroll Road
-two wood engravings

94. Where One Voice Ends Another Begins, 150 Years of Minnesota Poetry, Minnesota Historical Society Press
-an image from Waterfalls of the Mississippi (Mn. Outdoors Press, 1998) was reprinted on the cover

93. Sylvæ, Benjamin Verhoeven and Gaylord Schanilec, Midnight Paper Sales
-fifty-one color specimen images printed from the wood, one wood engraved portrait, one wood engraved map

92. Rooted, Seven Midwest Writers of Place, University of Iowa Press
-a part of an image from Farmers (MPS, 1989) was reprinted on the cover
91. Old Swayback, Jim Heynen, Midnight Paper Sales
-3-color frontice fold-out engraved in wood and the cover was printed from an engraved maple block

90. Fine Printing in the Twentieth Century, Selections from the Collection of Kenneth Auchincloss, The Grolier Club
-2-color frontice piece engraved in resingrave
89. Mayflies of the Driftless Region, Clarke Garry, Midnight Paper Sales
-Thirteen color wood engravings, plus a 2-color title page engraving
88. On Book Collecting, Arne Kjelsberg, The Ampersand Club
-2-color frontice portrait of the author engraved in wood
87. Turkish Pears in August, Robert Bly, Midnight Paper Sales
-Three 2-color engravings (in resengrave) plus a cover vignette (in wood)

86. A Walk by the River, Dale Jacobson, Red Dragonfly Press.
-Cover vignette and 2-color frontice piece engraved in wood
85. The Intruder, Clayton Schanilec, Midnight Paper Sales
-Color panorama engraved in Resingrave, 2-color title page vignette

84. Ink on the Elbow, Gaylord Schanilec & David Esslemont, Midnight Paper Sales & Solmentes Press
-Color panorama engraved in Resingrave

83. The Coriolus Effect, Edwidge Danticat, Midnight Paper Sales.
-Twelve multicolor, illuminated numberals engraved in wood
82. The Mystery of the Jeweled Cross, Larry Millett, Minnesota Center for Book Arts.
-2-color wood engraving
81. New York Revisited, Kenneth Auchincloss, The Grolier Club.
-Nine color wood engravings and two color wood engraved vignettes

80. Ernest Morgan: Printer of Principle, Midnight Paper Sales
-Four color wood engravings
79. The Boys House, Minnesota Historical Society Press.
-2-color cover wood engraving

78. Emerson G. Wulling: Printer for Pleasure, Midnight Paper Sales.
-Seven color wood engravings
77. Rufus at the Door and Other Stories, Jon Hassler, Afton Historical Society Press.
-Cover color wood engraving and seven 2-color interior vignettes
76. Daffodils in February, Sharon Rose Stumpf, self-published.
-Title page color wood engraving

75. In The Rocks, J. J. Talaga, The Ampersand Club
-Title page wood engraving
74. YTWOK, Midnight Paper Sales
-Four color wood engravings
73. I Will Eat a Piece of the Roof & You Can Eat the Window, John Dufresne, Midnight Paper Sales.
-Four color wood engravings
72. Keepsakes and Other Stories, Jon Hassler, Afton Historical Society Press.
-Cover color wood engraving and seven interior 2-color vignettes

71. Bad Beat, Pete Hautman, Midnight Paper Sales.
-Six color wood engravings
70. The Return of a Private, Hamlin Garland, Yellow Barn Press.
-Three color wood engravings
69. Short Essays, Et al., The Hill Press.
-Nine wood engravings
68. Waterfalls of the Mississippi, Richard Arey, Minnesota Outdoors Press.
-Eight color wood engravings

67. On the Rocks, MFK Fisher, The Ampersand Club.
-Title page wood engraving
66. Playing Haydn for the Angel of Death, Bill Holm, Minnesota Center for Book Arts.
-2-color wood engraved vignette
65. Letter to an Imaginary Friend, Thomas McGrath, Copper Canyon Press.
-Cover color wood engraving
64. Excerpts from a Wisconsin Childhood, Suzanne McNear, Midnight Paper Sales.
-Four color wood engravings

63. A .38 Special and a Broken Heart, Jonis Agee, Coffee House Press.
-Cover wood engraving
62. A House in the Country, Mary Logue, Midnight Paper Sales.
-Title Page wood engraving and five color wood engravings
61. My Town, David Lee, Copper Canyon Press.
-Cover wood engraving

60. Five Short Stories, Marcel Ayme, Bird & Bull Press.
-Ten 2-color wood engravings

59. White Pine Sucker River, Robert Alexander, New Rivers Press.
-Cover Painting

58. A Printer’s Dozen, Phillip Gallo, Beiler Press.
-4-color engraving in Plexiglass
57. The Bread of this World, Thomas McGrath, Midnight Paper Sales
-Color wood engraving

56. First & Last Old Timers’ Baseball Game, W. P. Kinsella, Coffee House Press.
-Five color wood engravings
55. Wrenching Times, Walt Whitman, Gwasg Gregynog.
-Ten color wood engravings

54. Why We Live With Animals, Alvin Greenburg, Coffee House Press.
-Cover wood engraving with two interior wood engravings
53. The Other Miller, Tobias Wolff, Babcock and Koontz.
-Title page wood engraving
52. Dismal River, Ron Block, New Rivers Press.
-Cover painting and five wood engravings

51. No Relation to the Hotel, David Hilton, Coffee House Press.
-Cover wood engraving
50. Chanticleer of the Wilderness, Meridel Le Seur, Holy Cow Press.
-Color cover wood engraving, ten interior wood engravings
49. Love, John Williams, Babcock and Koontz.
-Title page wood engraving
48. Eight Decades, Elmer Anderson, published by friends of the author.
-Title page wood engraving
47. Farmers, Midnight Paper Sales.
-2-color title page wood engraving, four color wood engravings
46. My Own Alphabet, Bobbie Louise Hawkins, Coffee House Press.
-Cover wood engraving

45. Communist, Richard Ford, Babcock and Koontz.
-Title page wood engraving
44. American Earthquakes, Constance Urdang, Coffee House Press.
-Cover drawing
43. The Play and Other Stories, Stephen Dixon, Coffee House Press.
-Cover painting
42. Cover Me, Lon Otto, Coffee House Press.
-Cover drawing

41. Common Body, Royal Bones, Evelyn Schefner, Coffee House Press.
-Cover drawing
40. More Stately Mansions, John Updike, Nouveau Press.
-Title page wood engraving
39. Keeping the Star, Thomas Smith, New Rivers Press.
-Cover painting with four wood engravings
38. High Bridge, Midnight Paper Sales
-Ten color wood engravings
37. The First Thing Coming, Keith Abbot, Coffee House Press.
-Cover painting

36. My Father’s Life, Raymond Carver, Babcock and Koontz.
_Title page wood engraving
35. Lucha, Constance Urdang, Coffee House Press.
-Cover painting
34. Dance Me Outside, W. P. Kinsella, David R. Godine Publisher.
-Cover drawing
33. Bop, Maxine Chernoff, Coffee House Press.
-Cover engraving in plexiglass
32. Twelve Below Zero, Anthony Bukowski, New Rivers Press.
-Cover painting and five drawings

31. Offcuts, Campbell-Logan Bindery.
-Six wood engravings
30. The Alligator Report, W. P. Kinsella, Coffee House Press.
-Five drawings
29. The Man in the Cardboard Mask, Alvin Greenberg, Coffee House Press.
-Cover drawing
28. Harum Scarum, Deith Abbot, Coffee House Press.
-Six drawings
27. You Are Mine, Patricia Shaheen, self-published.
-Three drawings
26. Erosion Surface, Steven LaVoie, Coffee House Press.
-Title page drawing

25. Morning Windows, Michael Moos, New Rivers Press.
-Four drawings
24. Buffaloed, Gaylord Schanilec, Midnight Paper Sales.
-Woodblock type, six woodcuts
23. Constellations, Roger Blakley, self-published.
-Cover drawing

22. Deposition, Pete Green, New Rivers Press.
-Four drawings
21. Different Arrangements, Sharon Chmeilarz, New Rivers Press.
-Four drawings
20. Lessons from a Fourth Grade Class, Mary Molyneux, Toothpaste Press.
-Six drawings
19. Total Strangers, Terence Winch, Toothpaste Press.
-Five drawings
18. Resort, Patricia Hampl, Bookslinger Editions.
-Two drawings
17. Poems from Last Summer, Robert Scott, Midnight Paper Sales.
-Two relief collage prints
16. Somata, Philip Foss Jr., Beiler Press.
-Seven drawings

15. On Returning, Gaylord Schanilec, Midnight Paper Sales.
-Title page woodcut
14. One Angel Then, Deborah Keenan, Midnight Paper Sales.
-Three relief collage prints
13. How Micky Made It, Jayne Ann Phillips, Bookslinger Editions.
-Six drawings
12. Household Wounds, Deborah Keenan, New Rivers Press.
-Four drawings
11. Euphemisms of a Catholic Childhood, Gaylord Schanilec, Midnight Paper Sales.
-Four linoleum cuts
10. Midnight Paper Sales, Gaylord Schanilec, Midnight Paper Sales.
-Visual book of expermintal printing techniques.
9. The Zelinski Poems, Thomas Reiter, Juniper Press.
-Cover drawing

8. A Box of Night Mirrors, COMPAS/Writers in the Schools.
-Fifteen drawings
7. Weathers, Houses, Vistas, Dust, Joseph Hutchinson, Juniper Press.
-Title page linoleum cut
6. Unease, Tadeusz Rozewicz, New Rivers Press.
-Six woodcuts

5. Schemuel, Rochelle Owens, New River Press.
-Six woodcuts
4. Where is Dancer’s Hill? Robert Schuler, Lame Johnny Press.
-Cover drawing
3. An Explosion of White Pedals, COMPAS/Writers in the Schools.
-Twelve 2-color woodcuts

2. Strips and Shavings, David Martinson, Truck Press.
-Cover drawing
1. Lunch in Fur, Anselm Hollo, Truck Press.
-Cover drawing

1987-American Institute of Graphic Arts Award of Excellence.
1988-Jerome Book Arts Fellowship.
1988-American Institute of Graphic Arts Award of Excellence.
1990-Jerome Book Arts Fellowship.
1999-Flanagan Award (Minnesota Book Award).
2005-Judges Choice Award, Oxford Book Fair.
2006-Carl Hertzog Award for Excellence in Book Design.
2007-The Gregynog Prize.
2008-Honorary Overseas Member, The Double Crown Club (UK).

1988-Volumes, Minneapolis Institute of Art.
1996-Contemporary North American Wood Engravers, Davidson Gallery, Seattle.
1998-150 Years of Wisconsin Printmaking, Elvehjem Museum of Art, Madison.
2002-New York & New York Revisited, Rudolph Ruzicka and Gaylord Schanilec, The Grolier Club of New York.
2007-The Art and Work of Gaylord Schanilec, University of Minnesota Libraries.
2011-Drawn to the River, Books and Prints of Gaylord Schanilec, Minnesota Marine Art Museum.
2012-Gaylord Schanilec, A Major Exhibition of Prints and Books, Schneideman Gallery, London.
2012-Engravings, Gaylord Schanilec, Groveland Gallery, Minneapolis.
2014-Medium as Muse: Woodcuts and the Modern Book, The Morgan Library and Museum, New York.


3M Corporation; Alden Library, Ohio University; American National Bank; The University of Arizona; The
Bodleian Library (Oxford); Brigham Young University; The British National Art Library; Carleton College; The
Clark Library, UCLA; Columbia University; The University of Delaware; The Gleeson Library (University of
San Francisco); The Golda Meir Library (University of Wisconsin); The Grolier Club of New York; Hennepin
County Library (Minneapolis); IBM Corporation; IDS Corporation; The University of Iowa; The John Paul
Getty Museum (California); Kansas State University; The Lilly Library (Indiana University); Louisiana State
University; Michigan State University; The Minnesota Historical Society; Middle Country Public Library (New
York); Mills College; The Minneapolis Institute of Art; The Morgan Library; Museum
Meermanno-Westreenainum (The Netherlands); The Newberry Library (Chicago); New York Public Library;
Northwestern University; The Pennsylvania College of T echnology; The Penrose Library (University of Denver);
The Rhode Island School of Design; Saint Lawrence University; Stanford University; The Lucy Scribner Library
(Skidmore College); Smith College; Swarthmore College; Texas A & M University; The United States Library of
Congress; The University of Vermont; The Victoria & Albert Museum; The College of William and Mary; The
Walker Art Center; The Widener Library (Harvard University); Winona State University; The University of
Wisconsin; Yale University. The University of Minnesota holds a complete collection of the work, as well as all
working materials and correspondence.