Conceived by the important French painter Georges Braque, this book contains excerpts from Le Zen dans l'art chevaleresque du tir à l'arc (1955), the French translation of the book known in English as Zen in the Art of Archery. Originally published in German in 1948, this book by German philosophy professor Eugen Herrigel was immensely influential in introducing the concepts of Zen Buddhism to the Western world. In this beautiful artist’s book, the excerpts from Herrigel are printed in black ink and, on separate pages printed in red ink, are Braque’s own musings selected from notebooks he kept from 1917 to 1952. The book also features an introduction by D.T. Suzuki, a scholar whose writings played an important role in spreading Zen to the West. Braque’s distinctive bird and flower imagery complements the text.

This book comes loose as issued with the original paper wrappers. The outer wrapper consists of Eastern-made Antaimoro paper and is printed with an etching by Braque. The inner wrapper, which serves as endpapers, features a color lithograph of birds. The text itself features seven additional color lithograph illustrations hors texte and is printed on handmade Moulin d’Ambert rag paper. This volume is accompanied by a loose paper folder embellished with an original woodcut by Braque. Loose inside the folder is another original woodcut. Master printmakers Crommelynk and Dutrou printed the etching, while Fequet and Baudier printed the woodcuts and E. and J. Desjobert printed the lithographs.

The book and paper folder are housed in a silk-covered clamshell box with the design of one of Braque’s woodcuts repeated on the front cover. The box is protected by a Japanese-style wraparound case with a bone clasp closure and the design of the second woodcut on the spine. This copy is number 43 out of an edition of 165. It is signed by Braque in pencil at the numbering. Aside from some light water damage on a portion of the clamshell box, this copy is in very good condition.

Copies of this title are held in the collections of, among others, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Canada, the Getty Research Institute, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, and the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art (Collections Jacque Doucet).

 

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