[ Koch, Peter and Robert Morgan ] Brodsky, Joseph. Watermark. Venice: Peter Koch, Printer. 2006.
“[ Brodsky ] deals in unpleasing, hostile truths and is a realist of the least comforting and comfortable kind.”
“Over the years, [ Robert Morgan’s ] self-appointed task has been to capture the monuments and waterways of Venice through the appearance of light.”
Robert C. Morgan
(the critic, not the artist)
This book represents an unlikely pairing made by Peter Koch: a Soviet exile who did not defect but was expelled from his native Soviet Union and forced to settle in the United States, only later to win a Nobel Prize for his poetry, and an American expatriate by choice who has lived in Venice since 1965 and whose art renders his chosen home in a figurative, realist tradition influenced by Romantic Impressionism. Nonetheless, before Brodsky’s death the two men were close friends and, at least in this book, collaborators.
Venice is to printer Peter Koch primarily the historical home of Aldus Manutius, the anchor-and-dolphin printer whose fifteenth century Greek typeface and innovations in book design have survived to the present day. In Watermark, a title playing on the barely visible trademarks in handmade paper, Brodsky meditates on the Venice of the twentieth century. The book is dedicated by the poet to the artist Morgan who provided fourteen photogravures as illustrations of the text.
The book was printed by Peter Koch in Venice on a press on loan from the Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione printing museum in Cornuda. The paper is Da Vinci from Twinrocker with a specially designed watermark by Christopher Stinehour and Susan Filter. The photogravures were printed at Magnolia Editions in Oakland by Donald Farnsworth. The book is limited to five deluxe copies numbered I through V, which are out of print, and another forty-five copies of which thirty are numbered and fifteen are hors commerce.
The books are signed by the artist and the printer.
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