Looking for Snails on a Sunday Afternoon by Rudolf Kurz  

Edward Gorey and Max Ernst meet Dinotopia in Wonderland.

This is a collection of fantastic etchings by artist Rudolf Kurz, a man of surreal imagination wonderful talent. Allison Sivak of the Canadian Book Review Annual writes, ‘As the evocative title suggests, Looking for Snails on a Sunday Afternoon is about spending time focusing on the disturbing and pleasurable images inside.’

This is a book of day dreams. It contains thirty-six masterful etchings of erotic, scientific and often just plain weird fantasies that were created over a period of several years. The pictures are accompanied by a foreword, a surrealist introduction that pretends to explain the title of the book, three stories, a recipe that does not belong in a cookbook and a short treatise on the time-honoured art of etching.

‘Looking for Snails on a Sunday Afternoon’ is the title of one of Rudolf’s prints. After choosing it for this book simply because it sounded good, Rudolf noticed that there are snails hidden away or proudly displayed in nearly all of his pictures. There is no secret meaning to this. The artist just happens to like snails. Looking through the book the reader will discover that he also favours dinosaurs, female circus performers, tree trunks that resemble elephants and many other wonderful things.


2006—Der Schoenste Bucher aus Aller Welt,


2005—Alcuin Society,


2004—Unisource Litho Award,

Review quote

‘The prints depict fantastic scenes of erotic masquerades and anthropomorphic animals, sometimes fanciful and sometimes frightening. Published by the Porcupine’s Quill, known for its excellent presswork, Looking for Snails on a Sunday Afternoon is beautifully and cleverly designed and printed, with foldout plates of larger etchings, repeated details of the work throughout the book, and a playful approach to typography. Detailed and dense, rich in their blue and sepia tones, the etchings demand a close look; looking is, as the author notes in the introduction, ‘‘a good thing. It needs time and concentration. One can look inwards or outwards. In this book we will look inwards -- at the landscape inside.’’ As the evocative title suggests, Looking for Snails on a Sunday Afternoon is about spending time focusing on the disturbing and pleasurable images inside.’

—Allison Sivak, Canadian Book Review Annual

Review quote

‘Described as a book of daydreams, Looking for Snails on a Sunday Afternoon takes the reader into the inner world of Rudolf Kurz, a German-born artist who now calls Orangeville, Ontario home. Part picture book, part personal musing, Kurz uses the precise art of etching to create whimsical creatures and mysterious women who inhabit surreal landscapes full of hidden life. Leashed dinosaurs stroll down the sidewalk like giant pets, or become circus performers precariously balanced on the high wire. A gnarled tree trunk is transformed into a strolling mastodon, and a shrunken elephant hitches a ride on a giant snail. ... Kurz trained as a medical doctor before becoming an artist. He has clearly been influenced by the anatomical drawings of Renaissance Europe. His etchings are full of intricate detail, which reveal layer upon layer of hidden reality. Each is worth a second and third look. Beautifully printed on thick, textured paper, Looking for Snails is a sensory rather than intellectual experience. It is nice to know that such frivolous delights can still find a publisher.’

—Nicole Lairdner, scenemagazine

Review quote

‘This is an author to whom the great love for aesthetic was given. With every carved stroke, with every splash of chemical, and with every typed word, he describes feeling. He touches with words. He smells with aquatint. He sees with the eye of the needle. He scratches worlds.’

—Shon Bryr McLean, The Envoy

Review quote

‘Showcasing thirty-six superbly crafted etchings of erotic, scientific, and surreal fantasies created over a period of several years by Rudolf Kurz, Looking For Snails On A Sunday Afternoon is not just a collection of art, but under the skills of publisher Tim Inkster, is an example of ‘‘the book as art’’. This strongly recommended collection of images is accompanied and enhanced by an informative foreword, an imaginative introduction pretending to explain the book’s title, three stories, a recipe that simply does not belong in any cookbook, and a short treatise on the time-honored art of etching. While Rudolf Kurz has had annual exhibitions in Toronto over the past several years, Looking For Snails On A Sunday Afternoon is what will introduce him and his work to a much broader readership both in Canada and the U.S.’

—James Cox, Midwest Book Review

Review quote

‘Rudolf Kurz does draw on his surroundings for biological data, but once borrowed from nature, his bugs, animals and vegetation are transplanted into the landscape of his very vivid imagination. From there, anything goes. Shrunken elephants can ride snails. Insects blossom into giants. The hybrid products of fanciful genetic experiments are so believably drawn, it’s hard to imagine they don’t exist. People ride dinosaurs down city sidewalks. And if they’re not housing a bizarre menagerie of critters, those gnarly tree roots morph into living beings -- part tree, part animal.’

—In the Hills


Rudolf trained as a medical doctor in Germany, graduating in 1978, then relocated to New York City to study at the Art Students’ League forsix months in 1980. In 1983 he married and moved to the Orangeville (Ontario) area.

Rudolf was elected to the Ontario Society of Artists in 1994 which led to exhibitions at Painted City and J. Alfred Prufrock in Toronto, Circle Arts in Tobermory and Gallery House Sol in Georgetown. He also exhibits each year in Toronto at the One of a Kind Show and the Toronto Outdoors Art Exhibition.

Rudolf’s carefully detailed, often bizarre and darkly humorous etchings and paintings are inspired by surrealism and the art of Medieval and Renaissance Northern Europe. A children’s book, The Rats Came Back, (Annick Press), was shortlisted for the Mr Christie Book Award (1995).

The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.

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ART / Individual Artists / General

ART / Canadian

ISBN-13: 9780889842564

Publication Date: 2004-04-30

Dimensions: 8.75 in x 5.56 in

Pages: 160

Price: $19.95