This book is the last collaboration between Mexican Poet Octavio Paz and abstract expressionist Robert Motherwell. Motherwell’s lithographs reflect the bold gestural style for which his painting is famous, and the large format of the book, about twenty-two by eighteen inches, provides an appropriate scale for an artist whose work tends towards the monumental.

Throughout his career Motherwell took much of his artistic inspiration from Spanish culture.  He collaborated on books and prints not only with Nobel Laureate Paz, but also with Spanish poet Rafael Alberti. His most famous achievement is of course the Elegies to the Spanish Republic, a body of work comprising over 140 objects.  It was completed over nineteen years.

This title is one of nearly 600 fine publications from the Limited Editions Club in New York. It contains just three poems written by Paz upon his return to Mexico after years of living abroad: “Nocturno de San Ildefonso” (San Ildefonso Nocturne), “Vuelta” (Return), and “Piel / Sonido del Mundo” (Skin of the World, Sound of the World), the last of which was conceived and written while contemplating Motherwell’s paintings and is dedicated by the poet to him. The book has twenty-seven original lithographs (including the one recessed into the front board) and is bound in full Irish linen with a matching clamshell box. The lithographs were pulled at Trestle Editions in New York on handmade Japanese paper and then laid onto Magnani Italian mould-made paper which was also used for the printed text. The original Spanish text is printed in red and the English translation by Eliot Weinberger is printed in black. Presswork for the poems was done, in order of their appearance, at Wild Carrot Press in Hadley, Massachusetts, at Stamperia Valdonega in Verona, Italy, and at Heritage Printers in Charlotte, North Carolina. The book was designed by Benjamin Shiff.

This copy is one of 750 copies signed by Octavio Paz and Robert Motherwell.


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