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Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1961. First edition. 8vo, unpaginated. Illustrated with b/w photographs. With the original printed wraparound band flattened and laid in. Briefly inscribed and signed by Chris Marker at the title page. The scarce first edition of this artists' book printed from maquettes designed by Marker himself, which combines the spoken portion of several of his early films, matched with stills and found images, and predates the release of La Jetée the following year. The present work is one of the most brilliantly designed books of the early 1960's, and would directly inspire Richard Hollis' design for John Berger's Ways of Seeing a decade later, as Hollis described in a 2006 interview in The Eye: "The influence was Chris Marker's book Commentaires, which has stills set within the text. I was a fan of Marker's films. . . you read you knew exactly what was being talked about. It was a substitute for description: instead of talking about something, you show the objective visual evidence." Later reissued in 1967 with a companion volume in an altered design, and with Marker's design credit removed, both editions are very scarce in the trade. This is the first example we've seen with the wraparound band intact, and the first example of this book or any other that we've seen signed or inscribed by Marker, whose remarkable reticence from the public eye was a perhaps essential part of his oeuvre. A worn, good only example, heavily creased and toned at the spine, with some grubbiness to the wraps and overopening between the inside of the front wrap and the text block, leading to an attenuated hold of the front wrap to the text block, as well as a short tear at foot of spine, and some small pinholes to upper margin of rear wrap and last few leaves, but complete, and clean within.
      [Bookseller: Division Leap, ABAA]
Last Found On: 2016-10-07           Check availability:      Biblio    


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