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Paris: Albert Skira, 1943. No. 85 OF 275 COPIES on vélin d'arches, SIGNED by the artist n. Hardcover. A Masterwork of Illustration in a Binding Masterpiece by Gruel. mm (). 187, [6] pp. No. 85 OF 275 COPIES on vélin d'arches, SIGNED by the artist. MAGNIFICENT CONTEMPORARY CHOCOLATE BROWN CRUSHED MOROCCO, ELABORATELY INLAID AND GILT, BY LÉON GRUEL (stamp-signed on front turn-in), covers with exuberant Grolieresque design of intricate dark red morocco strapwork accented with swirling azured gilt foliage and small tools; raised bands, spine in compartments framed by red morocco inlays, gilt fleuron centerpieces, gilt titling; CHOCOLATE BROWN MOROCCO DOUBLURES framed with multiple gilt rules and azured foliate cornerpieces, rose-colored watered silk endleaves, all edges gilt. Original printed wrappers bound in. Housed in the original suede-lined chestnut morocco-backed chemise and matching morocco-trimmed slipcase. WITH 180 HAND-COLORED WOOD ENGRAVINGS BY ANDRÉ DERAIN, 22 of them full-page, 94 in the text, 34 initials, 27 tailpieces, title engraving to front wrapper, frontispiece, and title vignette. Printed in Garamond typeface by Georges Gerard. Wood engravings printed by Roger Lacourière. Skira 91; Rauch 38; Garvey and Wick "The Arts of the French Book 1900-1965" 27; "The Artist & the Book 1860-1960" 81; Strachan, "The Artist and the Book in France," pp. 90, 330; "From Manet to Hockney" 111; Coron "Rare Books Since the Invention of Printing" 221. A FLAWLESS COPY. Called by Strachan one of the "finest masterpieces of the century," and here in a magnificent inlaid binding by Gruel, this is a superb copy of a tour de force in book illustration, a visually memorable edition of Rabelais, each copy of which shows subtle variations. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful livres d'artistes of the 20th century, and its strapwork and gilt-tooled binding by Gruel (1864-1954) is inspired by 16th century examples that might have covered early editions of Rabelais. A self-taught artist, French painter, sculptor, and illustrator André Derain (1880-1954) is considered, with Henri Matisse, to be the co-founder of Fauvism. He began his career as an engineer, but abandoned it after meeting Matisse, who encouraged him to pursue his gift. This is the only book illustrated in color by Derain, a project that consumed two years of work by the atelier of Roger Lacourière (under the direction of Jean Frélaut), and an achievement made all the more impressive because produced during the middle of World War II. As Chapon observed in "Le Peintre et le livre," Derain, aware of the power of early woodcuts, goes for what might be called a "brawny" effect to match the earthiness of the text. Deriving, as Strachan says, from zylographic books of the Middle Ages, the general effect is one of very masculine early playing cards. Garvey and Wick's "The Arts of the French Book 1900-1965" notes that "the cuts for this edition were printed in an unusual manner, with a single block for each illustration, although the customary practice in color printing is to make use of a separate block for each color. In this case Derain cut a white line on a single block to separate the color areas of each illustration. The blocks were then inked in several colors and printed on dampened paper." As the woodcut colors had to be mixed and applied for each individual printing, every copy of the work is unique, due to the inevitable variations caused by this technique. In "The Artist and the Book in France," W. J. Strachan cited this as one of the three livres d'artiste that dominated the beginning of the 20th century, and he expressed admiration for the originality of Deran's technique, saying that he had "hit on the perfect vehicle for the wit and exuberance of his author." As a profoundly important work in the history of book production, offered in a sensational binding, and in splendid condition within and without, this is surely as close to an irrestible modern illustrated volume as one could hope to find.
      [Bookseller: Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Mediev]
Last Found On: 2015-10-05           Check availability:      Biblio    


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