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Fantasy Drawings
With an original 'fantasy drawing' of museum collection quality done by Chaim Gross for his older brother, Naftali on Purim, about 4 weeks before the book's public release, using Purim imagery including a wine cup. The 213 x 276 mm (8.39 x 10.87 inches) signed presentation with 7 short lines in Yiddish was done with a fine-tip pen in black ink on the front endpaper. The inscription translates, "My dear brother Naftali, May you be well. I hope you will have pleasure from this book." 5 associated additions are laid in: 3 copies of the illustrated prospectus for "Fantasy Drawings", a copy of the illustrated prospectus for "Chaim Gross, Sculptor" (1949) and an onion skin paper carbon copy with 17 lines in Yiddish. NAFTALI GROSS: [1896-1956] Yiddish poet, journalist, author, and translator. Born in Kolomyia, Austria (now in the Ukraine); came to the United States in 1914 and provided money and assistance for Chaim to immigrate in 1921. Among Naftali's works, "Mayses", "Vladimir Medem", "Mayselekh un mesholim" and "Lider, 1919-1956" are illustrated by Chaim. Naftali died of heart failure April 8, 40 days after the Purim presentation was made. FANTASY DRAWINGS: The first extensive documentation of the works and with excellent b/w reproductions, in part, because Gross preferred to make the drawings using, "relatively small sheets" and drew in black ink [Tarbell]. Gross utilized an automatic drawing technique: "He sat completely relaxed in an armchair in his living room and listened to classical music; images from his subconscious mind were released and flowed onto the paper" [Tarbell]. With the 20th century Shoah uppermost in his mind, re-opening personal memories of horrific anti-semitic violence in his native Galicia, Chaim Gross began drawing, as if compelled, subconscious images in his private sketchbooks in 1944, multi-figure creations rendered by seduction and violence into fused and re-combinant new forms comprised of human and animal body-parts and mythological symbols, the forms characterized by displacement, perversion, and horror. The overarching theme is a challenge to faith and the drawings give off a palpable sense of accreted black humor. Gross made the drawings daily through 1948. Thereafter, he continued to make them with lesser frequency into the early 1950's as part of, "a therapeutic process" (Atkin). CONDITION DETAIL: Presentation: top edge line of soiling, otherwise fine. Book: Pages: Fine. Boards: trace top corner and bottom edge rubs, otherwise fine. Gilt: fine. Binding: Excellent. Jacket: Spine toned and with general edge toning: top corner soiling: edge wear, mostly to top edges including several vertical tears and chips: spine with slight crown loss and trace foot loss: 1 push-in gutter tear on upper side: top edge soiling on lower side. EPHEMERA: Good: clean and bright: fold lines from formerly being laid-in, now preserved flat in an archival sleeve. 1) Yiddish sheet: one pen & black ink correction: an outer edge tear: outer corner with slight crimp: 2) Chaim Gross, Sculptor-Dalton House prospectus (illustrated and printed on both sides): 3 fold lines: a bottom corner with a slight crease: 3-5) "Fantasy Drawings" prospectus (printed and illustrated on both sides): 3 copies with outer corner wear. BOOK FORMAT: Publisher's black cloth boards sewn with cream endpapers, upper side with gilt pictorial decoration after Gross, spine with gilt letters, pictorial jacket with black & scarlet letters, a different drawing reproduced in full on each side, no. 91 on the upper side, no. 116 on the lower side. SIZE: 224 x 287 mm (8.82 x 11.3 inches). PAGINATION: Confirmed complete, 124 pages with 142 illustrations (no pagination previously seen is correct): (3) leaves, preliminaries, includes the captioned b/w frontispiece photograph of a fine wood sculpture self-portrait, title page with black & scarlet letters, pp. 7-23, the two essays illustrated with 25 b/w reproductions, texts with footnotes, pp. 24-25, list of holdings by institutions, p. 26, postscript re: interview + [15] leaves, illustration suite division sheet and 14 section division sheets with individual titles, numbered I-XIV, printed on one side with blank versos + suite of 116 numbered b/w reproductions of drawings on 88 pages laid out in 14 thematic sections and not in chronological order, many full-page, but some pages with as many as four drawings, 2 reproductions with blank versos. ADDITIONAL IMAGES: by request.  
      [Bookseller: Steven Waldman]
Last Found On: 2013-08-01           Check availability:      Biblio    

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