Conceived by the 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).
This book portrays two voyages on the North Sea, one with photographs of an oil painting showing a square rigged vessel returning to port and the other with a photograph of a modern day sloop running before the wind under spinnaker and mainsail. It was made by Broodthaers in conjunction with a 16mm film of still images similar to those in the book and bearing the same title.
In the press release accompanying the book and film, Broodthaers explained the combined work in this way:
A book suggesting image as function. A book suggesting the text as function.
More than a theory, the subject of this proposition reflects a simple image of
the frustration that rules the social condition of today
. . . . Perhaps I should add that the subject shines.
His explanation in the book itself is more understandable: “It is up to the attentive reader to find out what devilish motive inspired this book’s publication.”
The oil painting of the square rigger was purchased by Broodthaers at a Paris flea market and it made several appearances in his work. The photograph of the modern sloop was taken by Broodthaers himself. In the book and in the film details of the oil painting are examined closely by the camera moving towards the painting and then withdrawing, but always in sharp focus. This mixing of media, viz., film, printing, painting, and still photography, became an underlying basis for Rosalind Krauss’ eponymous book A Voyage on the North Sea: Art in the Age of the Post-Medium Condition, where she argued that art in the 1970s was made without regard to the constraints of a particular medium.
This copy of the book is from the Brussels edition by Hossmann in association with the Petersburg Press in London, and is part of an edition of 1000 that does not include the 16mm film. The text is in French. Two other editions were published: one in English at the Petersburg Press in London (1000 copies plus 100 copies signed by the artist and accompanied by the film) and one in German at the Verlag DuMont Schaberg in Cologne (1000 copies).
The Book of Revelation, written by Saint John the Divine from exile on the island of Patmos, was addressed to churches in what is now western Turkey to assure them, in visionary and symbolic language, that God and not Satan or the Roman emperor will be the final victor at the end of the world. This sublime message is delivered in this edition through the incongruous pairing of the sonorous aristocratic prose of seventeenth century England, in the form of the King James Bible (1611), and the contemporary twentieth century woodcuts of Jim Dine.
The book contains twenty-nine full-page woodcuts that include many of Dine’s recurring and iconic images: a self portrait as the frontispiece (entitled “the artist as narrator”), a bathrobe, a heart, a hand, and beating wings, and even a homage to Albrecht Dürer in the form of a horse racing toward the viewer. The book is bound in one-quarter pigskin with wooden boards upon which, both top and bottom, is emblazoned a lightning bolt designed by Dine.
The Book of Revelation with its remarkable imagery has quite understandable attracted the attention of artists throughout the centuries. In the twentieth century is has been illustrated by Rufino Tomayo (Monte Carlo: Club International de Bibliophilie, 1959), by Max Beckmann (Frankfurt am Main: Bauersche Giesserei, 1943), and by illustrators André Collot (Paris: En L’An, 1942) and Stanley W. Hayter (Paris: Georges Huguet, 1930-32).
This edition by the Arion Press is limited to 165 copies and fifteen copies hors commerce. It is signed by the publisher and by Jim Dine.
Since the mid-1990s, Peter Doig has depicted snow sports in his paintings and prints drawing on his experiences as an adolescent in Canada. For this limited edition work, Doig chose The Wonders of Ski-ing, using a 1933 translation of the second German edition of Wunder des Schneeschuhs, first published in 1925. As Doig often works from photographs and film stills to create his art, his choice of this book, with its hundreds of black-and-white photos and film stills depicting skiing techniques, makes it an apropos choice.
This hardcover book is housed in a clamshell box covered in tan-colored paper. For this edition, Doig designed an illustrated bookplate that is inserted loose inside the front cover of the book. An original etching by the artist featuring a skier is also included and is protected by a folder of glassine and housed in the box with the book.
Created as part of the Edition Ex Libris series of books edited by Gerhard Theewen and published by Salon Verlag, this book was issued in an edition of 40. The illustrated bookplate and the etching are initialed by the artist and numbered 38/40.
This book is a collection of poems and illustrations by Max Ernst. The eponymous Le Musée de l’Homme actually exists; it is an anthropology museum in Paris which Ernst may have chosen as an outgrowth of his early studies in psychology, or perhaps from his interest in the naïve art of the mentally ill, or perhaps from his fascination with his own childhood fantasies. The book was published on the occasion of an exhibition at Galerie Alexandre Iolas in Paris in 1965.
The book is from an edition of 333 of which ninety-nine, including this copy, contain two color aquatints signed or initialed by Ernst in addition to the 14 color lithographs in the remaining copies. The binding is sand colored cloth with a matching slipcase. The bound-in wrappers were designed and illustrated by Ernst’s wife, the American painter Dorothea Tanning. The aquatints were printed in Paris by Georges Visat.
A record of a trip taken by David Hockney, Stephen Spender, and their friend Gregory Evans, this 1982 book published by Thames and Hudson is best described by one of its creators as “a bit bitty – like life – patched up in some way, as if made by three schoolboys on a tour of a continent for the first time.” It is nevertheless a very well made book, both in the masterful writing of Stephen Spender and in the creative 158 reproductions of illustrations painted, drawn, or photographed by David Hockney (and, in the case of three photographs each, by Spender or Evans). This copy is one of 1000 signed by Hockney and Spender. In a red cloth publisher’s binding, complete in its original white cardboard box.
Included in this edition is an original five-colour hand-drawn lithograph printed by Petersburg Studios in New York on Somerset satin-finish mould-made rag paper depicting Red Square and the Forbidden City. It unfolds into four panels each of which is 9 11/16 by 7 1/8 inches. This copy of the lithograph is number 107 of 1105 impressions signed and numbered by the artist.
Leaders et Enfants Nus is a puzzle-like sculptural book comprising a polished aluminum box which opens two ways to reveal two different books and an aluminum dowel that forms the central tunnel securing the two books inside the box.
One of the books is made up of nine unbound aluminum plates, loose as issued. Each of these reflective plates is colored, either black, red, blue, or silver, and features a design by Ipoustéguy. One of the plates is cut into a shaped design at its corner. A circular die-cut through each plate allows the book to fit over the central dowel in the box. Each plate is etched with the artist’s last name, and the plates are interleaved with glassine for protection.
The other book in the box is a codex printed on hand made paper and bound with red, reflective, silk-textured covers. This book features nine black line illustrations hors texte by Ipoustéguy. The text, in French, is a mixture of visual poetry and stream-of-consciousness writing. Like the aluminum plates, this book also has a circular die-cut through it to secure it on the central dowel of the box.
This copy is number 26 out of 160 numbered copies. It is signed and dated by the artist inside the paper book at the colophon and the artist’s signature is etched inside the aluminum box.
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.
One of only a few artist’s books that Bruce Nauman has made during his career, L A AIR is a book that serves as a companion piece to his earlier book, CLEA RSKY (1969). CLEA RSKY is a book that features pages printed with varying shades of blue, i.e., images of clear blue skies. Nauman extended the irony of finite pictures of endless space, and provided a commentary on contemporary air pollution, by creating L A AIR.
In contrast to the clear blue skies of the previous book, L A AIR features photographs of the actual air of Los Angeles. These images of the toxicity of the environment are ironically presented as pure, color-field-like planes of indigo, crimson and yellow-green. Other than the title on the cover, the book contains no text. The glossy pages of the volume are printed by offset lithography and Nauman’s signature is reproduced on the back cover.
Despite its theme, this book is, ironically, quite beautiful. It was published as part of Artists & Photographs, a collaborative boxed set of artists’ books issued in 1970 by Multiples, Inc. The complete set is exceedingly scarce at this point in time; the portfolio of works was set in a box designed by Dan Graham which contained books, objects, prints, and other materials of various dimensions by nineteen artists along with a text booklet by Lawrence Alloway. The set was published by gallerist Marian Goodman in conjunction with a 1970 exhibition that explored how contemporary artists, including Douglas Heubler, Allan Kaprow, Joseph Kosuth, Sol LeWitt, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Dennis Oppenheim, and Ed Ruscha, were using photography in their work.
Both an exhibition catalogue and a work of art, this book is Prince’s visual narrative of the media’s portrayal of sex and aggression drawn from the works of many artists including Richard Artschwager, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter, Man Ray, Francis Picabia and, of course, Richard Prince himself. Prince has woven the whole exhibition seamlessly into this publication.
Included with this deluxe edition of the book is an early hand-written and signed joke, which with this copy is discretely and archivally framed. Prince began this form of expression in the 1980s and has continued it to the present day.
This is an early artist’s book by Prince, one of over fifty he has made in his career. Beautifully bound in red linen with gold lettering on the front and back boards and on the spine. This copy is number 149 of 250 deluxe copies signed and numbered by Prince. The hand-written joke is also signed by Prince.
This series of three staple-bound paperback books constitutes Richard Prince’s first and rarest artist’s book. He would go one to make over fifty others. While each of these three books is dated 1980 they actually appeared at different times: War Pictures was the first in February, Menthol Pictures came out in June, and Menthol Wars appeared in October.
These books are very much a part of Prince’s early appropriation and reuse of advertising photographs to explore the distinction, or lack thereof, between one’s actual self and the commercial ideal of the self. The text of all three books is similar but not identical, with the last one, made to accompany a window installation at Printed Matter, the longest and the only one to have pagination and a table of contents. Only the last book has been reprinted, in 2009.
The three cover photographs, like the text, are similar but not identical. The photos made another appearance in Prince’s work as an untitled triptych of ektacolor prints, in 1980, each print twenty by twenty-four inches.
An odd statement for the creator of This book that relies exclusively on what scholar Johanna Drucker calls a “non-narrative visual sequence.” The book depicts only what the title proclaims, viz., every building on the Sunset Strip, and uses words only to identify the intersecting streets and numbers only to identify the address of each building. It is a completely self-referential object placed into the context of a mass-produced commodity.
The photographs evince no aesthetic or artistic hand, and simply record in a somewhat monotonous low-contrast representational way the cityscape of the Sunset Strip in the mid sixties. The book is offset printed on standard paper. In the truest sense the artistic medium here is the book itself and not the photographs.
Looked at as an art object, it is an excellent example of what minimalism should achieve: the device of the unbound concertina fold, about twenty-seven feet long when unfolded, accommodates perfectly the physical requirements of displaying joined panoramic photographs a street that is itself several miles long. The visual sequence of the street provides a structure for the visual sequence of the book with no further need for elaboration.
A copy of this book was included in the recent exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago entitled Light Years: Conceptual Art and the Photograph 1964 – 1977.
This copy is a first edition, first issue, limited to 1000 copies (although no limitation is stated in the book) in a silver foil slipcase complete with its original very scarce paper wraparound band.
This book is an essential reference for the art being made in New York in the early sixties. Danielle Kramer of the Art Institute of Chicago, writing in Art through the Pages (Museum Studies, vol.34, no. 2, 2008), makes the case: "One Cent Life makes the reader a witness to the inspirations and interactions of the artists brought together by the project. . . . [It] captures the era’s great innovators and provides a window onto the vibrant origins of overlapping movements and their creators."
The overlapping movements to which she refers are Pop Art, represented in the book by Andy Warhol and others, Abstract Expressionism, represented in the book by Joan Mitchell and Sam Francis and others, and CoBrA, represented in the book by Walasse Ting himself. The milieu of the 1960s art world in New York comes alive in this evocative book.
The idea for the book came from poet and artist Walasse Ting but its execution was made possible only by the support and organization of Sam Francis who recruited both the twenty-seven other artists who made contributions and Galerie Kornfeld in Bern which became the publisher. The gallery held an exhibition for the book upon its publication in 1964.
The artists included in this landmark work are:
Pierre Alechinsky Karel Appel Machteld Appel Enrico Baj Alan Davie Jim Dine
Oyvind Falstrom Sam Francis Robert Indiana Alfred Jensen Asger Jorn
Allan Kaprow Alfred Leslie Roy Lichtenstein Joan Mitchell Kiki O.K.
Claes Oldenburg Mel Ramos Robert Rauschenberg Reinhoud Jean-Paul Riopelle
James Rosenquist Antonio Saura Kimber Smith K.R.H. Sonderborg Walasse Ting
Bram van Velde Andy Warhol Tom Wesselmann
In total, the book contains sixty-eight original color lithographs to accompany Ting’s poetry. It was published in a limited edition of 2000 copies.
This book has seventeen iconic images of mostly nine-letter words made with stencils by contemporary artist Christopher Wool. The words are broken up on the page into a vertical stack of three levels where they remain understandable as words but far more striking as a visual abstraction.
In 1989-1990 Wool made a series of paintings of words describing character traits, personality types, or personal roles: CELEBRITY, COMEDIAN, ASSISTANT, ASSASSIN are examples. The entire series has become known as the Black Book Paintings, and each painted word is reproduced in this book as an offset lithograph on smooth wove paper.
This copy of the book is inscribed to Wool’s studio assistant in Chicago. The edition is limited to 350 copies plus eight artist’s proofs. In addition to the inscription, it is signed and numbered by Wool on the colophon.