More Than Zero

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Suzanne Moore, Zero: Cypher of Infinity (Vashon Island, WA: Moore, 2014). Artist’s book, one of a series of 50, the first 5 of which are deluxe with additional hand-lettered pages. Bound by the artist with custom-dyed Cave Paper. Copy 13 of 50. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2014- in process

“Suzanne Moore started investigating the complex history of the simple digit, “0″ in two earlier commissioned artist’s books, Zero, Faces of the Void (2007), and Zero: Cypher of Infinity (2009). She is investigating concepts and controversy around Zero. The text presents questions that explore the complex history and eternal mystery of the void taken from science, philosophy, calculation, and symbology. The book is accomplished with original painting, drawing, silkscreen, wood and metal type and polymer plate letterpress printing, embossing, gold foil and 23k gold leaf, all by noted artist and calligrapher, Suzanne Moore with the assistance of Jessica Spring of Springtide Press who collaborated in the of production for this extraordinary book, printing the text letterpress and much else.”– Prospective.

We have been waiting for nearly five months for this tour de force printing to be completed and happily, opened the package yesterday. Texts include Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rainer Maria Rilke, Wassily Kandinsky, Gregory Orr, Isaac Newton, and many others. Could not wait to share a few openings.

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Keats comes home

masksDue to renovation, life and death masks that have been on view in our Scribner room for many years are going back into our vaults. Thanks to John Delaney for the reference citations below. Seen above are (clockwise from the top standing):

Walt Whitman (1819-1892), original death mask by Samuel Murray, assisted by Eakins. See Moore, TALKS…, pp. 214-15, 223-4.

John Keats (1795-1821), life mask by Benjamin Robert Haydon, from the original in National Portrait Gallery, London. See Hutton, PORTRAITS…, pp. xv, 105-10; Moore, TALKS…, pp. 176, 177.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), death mask, from the original. See Hutton, PORTRAITS…, pp. 182-6; Moore, TALKS…, pp. 199-200; T. G. Willson, “The Death Masks of Dean Swift, Princeton University Library Chronicle, XVI, No. 3 (Spring 1955), 107-10; and Museum Objects Information File.

William Wordsworth (1770-1850), life mask, from the original by B. R. Haydon. See Hutton, PORTRAITS…, pp. 100-5; Moore, TALKS…, pp. 176-7.

Laurence Sterne (1713-1768), death mask ["Authenticity not verified"]. See “The Faces of Yorick,” by William Holtz, Queens Quarterly, LXXVI (1969), No. 3, an unpaginated offprint in Museum Objects Information File.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), death mask, from the original. See Hutton, Portraits…, pp. 96-100; Moore, Talks…, pp. 159-61.

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Keats (left) Whitman (right)





Vladimir Mayakovsky Celebrated

The 2013 publishing and exhibition project Mayakovsky—Manifesto marked the 120th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky (1893-1930). Produced by the State V.V. Mayakovsky Museum and curator Mikhail Karasik, the exhibit was presented at the PROUN gallery in the Vinzavod Centre for Contemporary Art (Moscow) from December 2013 to January 2014.

After the show closed, the exhibition was editioned and mounted in large orange boxes holding the 13 works by 13 artists, each a personal homage to Mayakovsky. The project has a print-run of 27 numbered copies (boxes) signed by the artists and Princeton has acquired no. 17. The artists include Stas Bags, Alexander Djikia, Mikhail Karasik, Grigory Katsnelson, Alexander Lavrentyev, Kira Matissen, Ilya Obukhov, Alexei Parygin, Mikhail Pogarsky, Victor Remishevsky, Dmitry Sayenko, Taras Sgibnev, and Vasily Vlasov.



The project website states, “Mikhail Karasik, a St Petersburg artist, graphic designer and book expert, has been a popularizer of this genre for the past quarter century and the present action is a logical continuation of the large-scale project that he carried out a decade ago: in 2003, the authorial publishing house Kharmsizdat produced four striking box books: Russian Dada, Oberiu Box, Literary Constructivism, and The Leningrad Literary Underground.”

manifesto_10Mikhail Karasik and Andrei Rossomakhin, Mayakovsky-Manifesto (Moscow: Timofei Markov, 2013). 1 case (13 works) Contents: 1. Stand up / Stas Bags. Accordion book, 10 leaves — 2. Twosome / Alexander Djikia. 2 sheets in cover — 3. Mayakovsky ticket / Mikhail Karasik. 11 leaves in cover — 4. Shackled by film / Grigory Katsnelson. 18 sheets in cover — 5. Mayakovsky : calling cards / Alexander Lavrentyev. 10 leaves in a folder — 6. Rezche cherez / Kira Matissen. 3 newspapers in a folder — 7. V. Mayakovsky : a cloud in trousers / Ilya Obukhov. 16 pages in a cover — 8. V. Mayakovsky : night / Alexei Parygin. 6 leaves in a cover — 9. Beyond the Rosta windows / Mikhail Pogarsky. 12 pages in a cover — 10. Mayakovsky : 150000000 ; Mayakovsky : the bathhouse / Victor Remishevsky. Installation and object — 11. Sanitary book / Dimitry Sayenko. 16 pages in cover — 12. A face of our time / Taras Sgibnev. 12 pages in a cover — 13. The heart of cinema ; How are you? / Vasily Vlasov. 2 posters. Copy 17 of 27. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2014- in processmayakovsky7

Lantern slides of Hamlet

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Joseph George Holman ?1764-1817. 1st Hamlet America: Sept. 28, 1812. Artist unknown, Garrick Club, London. Graphic Arts Collection GC136

Within the Graphic Arts Collection there are 100s of lantern slides. Several dozen document various productions of Hamlet by William Shakespeare. Here are a few examples.

At the bottom is a wonderful video on the documentation and performance of Charles Dickens’s novels using lantern slides.



Basil Sydney. Claudius: Charles Waldron, Booth Theatre 1925. Graphic Arts Collection GC136

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Maurice Evans, Graphic Arts Collection GC136

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Mrs. Shaw (Mrs. Thomas S. Hamblin). 1st performance Hamlet February 21 1940, Graphic Arts Collection GC136

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Raymond Massey 1931. Horatio: Leon Quartermaine. Design: Norman Bel Geddes. Graphic Arts Collection GC136

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Sir Johnston Forbes-Robertson 1853-1903. Graphic Arts Collection GC136

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John E. Kellerd 1863-1929. Start of forced run of 102 performances November 18, 1912, Graphic Arts Collection GC136

Thanks go to the Bill Douglas Centre for the History of Cinema and Popular Culture and Prof. Mervyn Heard for this video:

Suzanne Samary

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Chalot (active 1900s), Melle. Suzanne Samary de la Comedie Francaise, ca. 1888. Photogravure. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2012.02436

This portrait of Suzanne Samary, a famous comédienne with the Comedie-Française, was taken around 1888, by the French photographer know simply as Chalot. He was a sought-after artist, in particular for his large, almost life-size images. In the January 1890 issue of American Journal of Photography, Chalot’s Parisian studio is described in minute detail. Here are a few sections:

“Chalot catches the sun at 18, rue Vivienne, where a small window shows off a few of the platinums by the firm. Through a courtyard and upstairs one arrives at a grand reception room, which it would be hard to equal. It is preceded by a tiny entrance lobby for coat and hat-racks, and made pleasant by plants in boxes. The beauty of this fine receiving-room consists above all in the exhibition of the platinum prints, mingled judiciously with the carbon and silver portraits and colored enamels. …

chalot melle“M. Chalot claims the platinum process worked by him to be a special one and his formula is kept secret. To produce such photographs is indeed worthy of a patent. He rightly terms the ordinary process a coarse and unsatisfactory one, and there is certainly no comparison between the two. …

“The printing room is a model of its kind, and fitted at sides and roof with white blinds to foil the sun. His studio is small, but all sufficient, and poses are made at either end. It has blinds that roll up from the bottom or down from the top of the side windows; otherwise, the horizontal two-feet wide sliding curtains, etc., are the same as with other ateliers. A very fine instrument is the camera by Joute—about fifteen inches square—the lens being a Voigtlander. …

“Complete as are the other departments, remark is only necessary on the office, which surprises one directly on leaving the magnificent reception or show room, for here behind the curtains a counter of the most uncompromisingly business style is found manned by three clerks. It has been noticed in some establishments Payments positively in advance, and the business-like caisses in others certainly leads one to think that a photographer might be left, like a tailor, without proper precaution. Hence the necessity of ostentatiously introducing the desk in some place where customers are bound to pass….”



Les Ballets suédois

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Michel Fokine (1880-1942), et al., Les Ballets suédois dans l’art contemporain (Paris: Editions du Trainon, 1931). Texte de Fokine, Hedvig Nenzén-Haquinius, Rolf de Maré; Georges Rémon; Alexandre Tasman; Pierre Tugal; Contributions de Claudel, Casella … [et al.]; hors-texte en couleurs de: Pierre Bonnard; Giorgio De Chirico; Paul Alfred Colin; Fernand Léger; along with Dardel, Foujita, Gladky, Hellé, Hugo, Lagut, Laptade, Murhpy, Nerman, Parr, Perdriat, and Steinlen. Copy 292 of 1000. Graphic Arts Collection 2014- in process

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The year 1920, in which the Ballets Suédois made its debut in Paris, was not a good year for Sergei Diaghilev and his Ballets Russes. His tours were not successful, and his financial situation was complicated by theft and lawsuits. … Rolf de Maré and his Ballets Suédois would, for the next five years, produce modern theater works incorporating dance, mime, painting, and music that would rival anything Diaghilev had created in terms of their avant-garde aspirations. It was perhaps partly due to Diaghilev’s reaction to the success of the Ballets Suédois that the Ballets Russes began to turn away form Russian painters and composers and instead employ the newest French artists as collaborators. — Sally Banes, Writing Dancing in the Age of Postmodernism (2011) GV1623 .B36 1993

Graphic Arts is fortunate to have acquired this limited edition compendium, with covers designed by Fernand Léger (1881–1955). A suite of fourteen plates are colored by pochoir (stencil) and the volume includes sixty-four heliogravures, with text contributions by Luigi Pirandello, Jean Cocteau, and Frances Picabia.  The colorful pochoirs feature costume design by Léonard Tsugouharu Foujita (1886–1968) and set designs by Léger and Giorgio de Chirico (1888–1978).
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Moses Taylor Pyne in his garden at Drumthwacket


[Moses Taylor Pyne in the gardens at Drumthwacket], ca. 1905. Gelatin silver print. Graphic Arts Collection.

The Princeton Historical Society identifies this as Moses Taylor Pyne and another man, in the gardens at Drumthwacket, 354 Stockton Street, Princeton, New Jersey. Moses Taylor Pyne (1855–1921) bought Drumthwacket in 1893 and worked with architect Raleigh Gildersleeve to renovate and expand the house and gardens.

Drumthwacket was built in 1835. The house was the private residence of three owners, Charles Smith Olden, Moses Taylor Pyne, and Abram Spanel, before being purchased by the State of New Jersey in 1966. Intended for use as the official residence of the governor, it was not until 1981 that funds were raised by the New Jersey Historical Society to begin to accomplish the task.

Here are a few of the other photographs in the Graphic Arts Collection.


Archive of proofs and samples from the Société Engelmann, père et fils, ca. 1839

engelmann volume11Archive of Proofs and Samples from the Société Engelmann père et fils, ca. 1839. 3 vols. Chromolithography. Purchased with funds from the Graphic Arts Collection and Rare Books. 2014- in process

Princeton recently acquired a set of three elephant folios, which Michael Twyman calls, “the most interesting collection of its kind that I have ever come across.” These albums hold hundreds of specimens of early chromolithography from Godefroy Engelmann (1788-1839) and his Société Engelmann père et fils.

The provenance of the albums is not clear though Twyman states that they probably came into the market within the last ten years from the Engelmann descendants. They turned up, not surprisingly, in Paris. Here are ten sample pages:

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What is clear is that the 250 leaves hold an unprecedented archive of printing samples, many still uncut, from the Engelmann company under both the father and son, beginning with a complete copy of The Album Chromolithographique (1837). Other proofs range from ephemeral playing cards and labels to the most elaborate chromolithographic broadsides and publications.

Other highlights include:
Large trade card dated 1839 (280 x 120 mm), reads as follows: “Engelmann, Pere & Fils à Mulhouse – J. Engelmann, Cité Bergere Paris. Chromolithographie ou impression lithographique en couleurs.”

Female portrait. “Premier essay du procédé chromo-lithographique de Mr. Engelmann par E. Viennot” (for approval of the Société d’Encouragement in Jan. 1837). And a similar male portrait without caption.

Uncut sheets with playing cards for different games (Loto graphique, Rebus, Jeu de la Mythologie, Jeu de cartes syllabaire Européen, and Jeu de cartes de l’histoire de France par un professeur d’histoire).

Jean Landais, printer in Rennes, announcement of the reopening of his business and starting with lithographic color printing of all kinds in Rennes, 25 June 1840.

Jean Engelmann, announcement of the invention of chromolithography and the opening of his press in Paris, 1 January, 1838.

Many uncut glazed paper sheets with pages from missals and other religious texts in the style of mediaeval manuscripts (‘Paroissiens’).

Many examples of book illustrations, book covers, trade cards, posters, window displays, carte-de-visites, tobacco labels, cigar bands, illustrated writing papers, paper toys, religious cards, etc. etc.

Godefroy Engelmann (1788-1839), biographic details from the British Museum: “Lithographic printer, famed ‘Körner’ (grinder) for crayon-lithographs and patentee of chromolithography. Originally from Colmar; trained in Munich; set up press in Paris in June 1816. He improved lithography, particularly by developing lithographic wash in 1819. In 1825 he created a new company in association with Jérémie Graf and Pierre Thierry and named ‘Société Engelmann et Cie’. In 1826 an annex company is founded in London and named ‘Société Engelmann, Graf, Coindet et Cie’, which was dissolved in 1833. Then Engelmann returned to Mulhouse and created the company ‘Société Engelmann, père et fils’.

Kent’s Princeton Tiger

DSCN7944Each year from 1941 to 1952, the Princeton Print Club commissioned a print by a contemporary American artist for their membership. In 1947, T.M. Cleland (1880-1964) was on campus talking about his work and asked the students if he could be considered for the 1949 membership print. Happy to have their first pochoir, the executive committee agreed.

By the next summer, the meticulous (dare I say finicky) artist had not yet begun and wrote to the students that he was afraid he might not meet their deadline. “Would it be feasible,” he proposes, “to commission another man to make a print to be ready by November with the understanding that if mine was finished by that time, the other one would be used the year following?” With most of the student gone for the summer, their supervisor Elmer Adler declined on their behalf.

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Preliminary sketches for Princeton Tiger. Rockwell Kent papers, ca.1885-1970. MS#0702. Series III: Titled Drawings, Lithographs, Prints and Proofs, box 7. Columbia University, Rare Books and Special Collections

Now desperate for another artist, Adler wrote to his old friend Rockwell Kent (1882-1971) asking if he would undertake to cut a wood engraving for the Club. “Although we were saving you for a special print,” he confided, “it would seem now that you might be the savior.” Kent agreed and sketched some ideas over the fall of 1948, pulling a few preliminary proofs for the students that winter. Kent’s wood engraving, which some historians have called, “Tiger Tiger Burning Bright,” and others simple “The Princeton Tiger,” was a nighttime scene of an enormous roaring tiger cradling Nassau Hall.

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Preliminary proof for Princeton Print Club membership print by Rockwell Kent. Princeton Print Club scrapbook,
Graphic Arts Collection.

When the students saw Kent’s design, they were unimpressed. The roar of the tiger was taken to be a yawn and the committee was nervous that alumni would not want to purchase the image of a bored Princeton tiger. They decided to ask Kent come up with another idea and sent one of their members, Bates W. Littlehales, Class of 1948, to meet with Kent in person.

Unfortunately, the dates were confused and the meeting never took place, leaving Adler to deliver the bad news through the mail. He tried to explain to Kent that unlike other Print Clubs, no member of Princeton’s Club had to take a print that he didn’t like. “Unfortunately,” he continued, “most of our sales are made to the old guard Princetonians who believe in this place and want to give the best possible impression of Princeton.” Adler asked Kent to make a new print.


Hans Alexander Mueller, The New Library, 1949. Graphic Arts Collection

“I am astounded,” replied Kent, who argued that the image had been clearly described months ago. In the end, he donates the many hours he spent working on the block to the Club, as “a token of my grateful appreciation of your steadfast interest in my work.”  He refuses to do more but suggests that “some day I may enlist the interest of some Princeton grad to have me finish the block.” So far, the Princeton tiger has never been editioned.

The Club scrambled to find a third artist to make the membership print for 1949 and was saved by Hans Alexander Mueller (1888-1963), who created one of the most popular prints the Club ever had: “The New Library,” a chiaroscuro woodcut of the recently built Harvey S. Firestone Library, sold for the membership price of $7.50.


Scotland and Ireland 1894

ireland 8Knox’s House, Edinburgh. James Valentine (1815-1879)

Thanks to the bequest of Hamilton Cottier, Class of 1922, the Graphic Arts Collection holds this photograph album dated 1894, with commercial prints of Scotland and Ireland. Here are a few samples.

ireland 7Edinburgh Castle

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ireland 5Central Station Hotel, Glasgow

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ireland 3Tunnel near Glengarriff, Ireland

ireland 2Blackrock Castle, County Cork 1840. W.L.

Ireland and Scotland 1894 [photograph album]. Albumen prints. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2011.01472. Bequest of Hamilton Cottier, Class of 1922.