Louche binding

This book was purchased by the Graphic Arts Collection in small part because the binding was listed as “louche.” Louche is an adjective that describes something of questionable taste or morality while at the same time kind of attractive—ugly/beautiful–; one definition reads “the louche world of the theater.”

It seems apropos of Jim Dine’s consciously informal facsimile of the annotated script and his sketches for a never realized production of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. This is perhaps his most well-known artists’ book and the first of many celebrated volumes from Petersburg Press. Later projects include Foirades by Samuel Beckett and Jasper Johns (1976); The Departure of the Argonaut by Alberto Savinio and Francesco Clemente (1986); Notes in Hand by Claes Oldenburg (1971); Shards by Richard Meier and Frank Stella (1983) and dozens of others.

The Petersburg Press had two incarnations, first in London in 1968 and again in New York in 1972, publishing limited edition prints, livres d’artistes, and artists’ books in collaboration with a list of noted contemporary artists that few presses could rival. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jun/06/paul-cornwall-jones-obituary Here is the Guardian’s obituary for its founder Paul Cornwall-Jones.

Jim Dine, Picture of Dorian Gray: a working script for the stage from the novel by Oscar Wilde (London: Petersburg Press. 1968). Limited edition, 125/200 signed by Jim Dine. Bound in emerald green velvet over boards with the title blocked in silver on the upper cover. This is edition B of Dine’s three editions of Dorian Gray. The original colour lithographs, etchings and text pages were prepared on zinc and aluminium plates by Jim Dine in February 1968 and subsequently printed on Velin Arches at the Atelier Desjobert and Atelier Leblanc in Paris. It contains twelve lithographs six of which are the signed set issued loose in Editions A and C. This copy lacks the four signed etchings which are called for in the publisher’s notes. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process


Rufino Tamayo and Benjamin Péret

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired Air Mexicain by the Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo and French poet Benjamin Péret, born within days of each other in the summer of 1889. According to Juan Carlos Pereda,

“The second project undertaken by Tamayo as illustrator was Air Mexicain, by the French poet Benjamin Péret, written in 1949 and printed in 1952. The poem was written immediately after Péret returned to France after having lived in Mexico since 1942. During his stay in Mexico, Péret studied pre-Columbian myths, chronicles, testimonies, ruins, and works of art; paying as much attention to popular stories as to the geography of the country. His descriptions reflect a knowledge of Mexican history and his bedazzlement at the discovery of the wonderful, exotic elements of the culture.

In the poem Péret offers metaphors related to indigenous symbolism, synthesizing history from the pre-Hispanic past up to the present. According to Jean Louis Bédouin, who translated Air Mexican into Spanish, Péret is ‘one of the writers who is most sensitive to Mexican contradictions, one of the most attentive to the phenomena of historical hybridization, of which he is the result.’”


Benjamin Péret (1899-1959) and Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991), Air Mexicain ([Paris]: Librairie Arcanes, 1952). Four color lithographs. Copy 80 of 250. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

The text was composed by hand and printed on the presses of M.M. Arroult et Cie. (master printers in Tours, France) and the color lithographs were printed at the Desjobert Workshop in Paris.

Having returned to France, [Péret] fought for the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. In 1940 he was imprisoned for his political activities. Upon his release he sailed for Mexico with the aid of the American-based Emergency Rescue Committee to study pre-Columbian myths and American folklore. He had originally wished to emigrate to the United States but was unable to do so due to his Communist affiliations.

Peret went to Mexico with his lover, the Spanish painter Remedios Varo. In Mexico City he became involved with the European intellectual community around the Austrian painter and surrealist Wolfgang Paalen living there in exile. He was particularly inspired by Paalen´s huge collection and knowledge about the “Totem Art” of the Northwest Coast of British Columbia; 1943 he finished a long essay on the necessity of poetical myths, exemplified with the mythology and art of the Northwest Coast, which was then published in New York by André Breton in VVV. Whilst living in Mexico City Péret met Natalia Sedova, Trotsky’s widow. He remained in Mexico until the end of 1947. He returned to Paris and died there on 18 September 1959.


See more: Rufino Tamayo: Catalogue Raisonné: Gráfica 1925-1991 = Prints 1925-1991 / [coordinación de proyecto, Juan Carlos Pereda] (México, D.F.: Fundación Olga y Rufino Tamayo: CONACULTA-INBA; Madrid: Turner, [2004]). Marquand Library Oversize ND259.T15 P425 2004q

Profile portraiture

James Craig Annan (1864-1946), Janet Burnet, 1907. Photogravure. Graphic Arts Collection GA2018- in process

The full profile is among the oldest and most enduring forms of portraiture. Ancestors include Egyptian bas-relief figures and Roman coins. During the Renaissance, the stoic profile portrait modeled on antiquities enjoyed a brief vogue and again, in the late 19th-early 20th centuries, artists used the stark profile against a flat background to emphasize form over personality.

As early photographers struggled to place their work in a traditional art historical context, these formal poses were adopted by several ateliers, in particular members of the London Brotherhood of the Linked Ring. The individuality of each paper print, most often finished in photogravure, was emphasized over the individuality of the sitter. One person or another might be substituted in the chair as long as the surface and the texture of the page was unique, and the light and shadows fell on the paper with perfection.

Here are a few others in this tradition.

Edward Steichen (1879-1973), George Frederic Watts, 1900. Photogravure. National Portrait Gallery, London.



David Octavius Hill (1802–1870) and Robert Adamson (1821–1848), Mrs. Rigby, 1843–47. Salted paper print from paper negative. Getty Museum


Detail: James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1 [Whistler’s Mother], 1871. Musée d’Orsay



Antonio del Pollaiolo (1429–1498), Profile Portrait of a Young Lady, ca 1465. Gemäldegalerie der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin

Bidloo’s Martyrdom of the Apostles

As many people are in their first week of new year’s resolutions, it might be appropriate to look at the popular volume Brieven der gemartelde apostelen [Letters of the Tortured Apostles] by the Dutch surgeon and professor of anatomy Govard Bidloo (1649-1713). First published in 1675 and reissued several times before Bidloo’s death, the text and plates depict the author’s warning against the seducing power of good food, wine, and other earthly delights. Gruesome suffering shown includes stoning, quartering, beating, burning, and other bodily tortures endured by these saints, as necessary preparation for the next world.

A complete transcription of the texts can be found on The Digital Library for Dutch Literature (DBNL), the wonderful digital collection of texts that belong to Dutch literature, linguistics, and cultural history from the earliest times to the present. The collection represents the entire Dutch language area and is the result of a collaboration between the Taalunie, the Flemish Heritage Library and the Royal Library in The Hague. https://www.dbnl.org/tekst/bidl001brie01_01/

Although the plates are not signed, several sources attribute the engravings to the gifted and socially well connected artist, Romeyn de Hooghe (1645–1708). There might have been dissatisfaction with the result because Bidloo writes elsewhere about the artist’s incompetence* and later, the plates for Bidloo’s monumental Anatomia humani corporis, published in Amsterdam in 1685, were drawn by Gérard de Lairesse (1640–1711) and engraved by Abraham Blooteling (1640–1690) and Peter van Gunst (1659?–1724?).



Govert Bidloo (1649-1713), Brieven der gemartelde apostelen [Letters of the Tortured Apostles] (Amsterdam: Hieroymus Sweerts, 1675). Plates by Romeyn de Hooghe (1645–1708). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2018- in process.


*Luuc Kooijmans, Death Defied: The Anatomy Lessons of Frederik Ruysch (Leiden: Brill, 2010), Firestone Library QM16.R89 K6613 2010

Henk Van Nierop, The Life of Romeyn de Hooghe, 1645–1708: Prints, Pamphlets, and Politics in the Dutch Golden Age (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2018)

What is printmaking?

You may have already received this link but in case you missed it over all the winter holidays, here it is again: https://www.metmuseum.org/about-the-met/curatorial-departments/drawings-and-prints/materials-and-techniques

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with the assistance of the LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies at Columbia University, has posted a new site visually explaining artistic printmaking materials and processes. It is clean, specific, and easy to follow with basic printing technology. Of course there is more, but this will go a long way to exhibit the fundamentals to students, historians, and the general public about “the principle of transferring images from a matrix onto another surface.”

Coming soon in 2019 will be a similar site on the basic drawing materials and techniques used by artists throughout history. I look forward to learning more about silverpoint, which has never been made clear to me.

Diverses figures humaines

Abraham Bosse (1604-1676), Represent[i]on de diverses figures humaines. Avec leurs mesures prises sur des antiques qui sont de present à Rome. Recueillies et mises en lumière par A. Bosse, graveur en taille douce, en l’isle du Palais à Paris ([Paris : s.n.], 1656). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2018- in process

Which works of art have such ideal proportions that they can be used as a guide to perfect anatomical structure? According to Abraham Bosse that would be Farnese Hercules, the Pichini Meleager, the Apollo Belvedere, and the Venus di Medici. In this rare pocket guide, precise mathematical equations are placed on these four figures to demonstrate the apex of human beauty. Do not try this at home.

Inspired by and perhaps thought of as a sequel to:

Gérard Desargues (1591-1661), La manière universelle de Mr. Desargues, Lyonnois pour poser l’essieu, & placer les heures & autres choses aux cadrans au soleil / par A. Bosse, graueur en taille douce …(Paris : De l’imprimerie de Pierre Des-Hayes, ruë de la Harpe, à la Roze Rouge, 1643). Graphic Arts Collection 2007-1817N

DIY: Be the first to own this 1673 book

Title page


The Graphic Arts Collection holds this uncut, unpublished single sheet imposition* for two copies of a 24 page 1673 miniature book. Below are the recto and verso as single pages that you can print double-sided and cut off the excess paper on the side. Then fold and cut to create your own copy of this Italian devotional. Extra credit is given for hand coloring the plate.

*Imposition: Process of arranging the pages for each side of a sheet by placing them on a flat surface, surrounding them with wooden spacing pieces (the furniture) of less than type height, and locking them into the chase with long and short wedges, thus creating the forme.

Laude spirituale nella quale si contengono le parti principali della dottrina christiana (Roma, 1674). Held by the Biblioteca Casanatense.

Laude spirituale: nella quale si contengono le parti principali, della dottrina christiana. Parte prima (Torino: Per Bartolomeo Zapatta, 1632). Original printer’s sheet, designed to be cut in half; each half, when folded, would form a 24 page booklet (11 cm., 12 mo). Apparently the booklet was never issued. Held by the University of California Berkeley Library.

John Smith (active 1755), The printer’s grammar: containing a concise history of the origin of printing; also, an examination of the superficies, gradation, and properties of the different sizes of types … tables of calculations; models of letter cases; schemes for casting off copy, and imposing; … with directions to authors, compilers, &c. how to prepare copy, and to correct their own proofs. Chiefly collected from Smith’s edition. To which are added directions for pressmen, &c. (London, Printed by L. Wayland and sold by T. Evans, 1787). Princeton copy is from the library of P. J. Conkwright. Graphic Arts Collection Z244.A2 S7

Joubert Medailles

François Etienne Joubert, Medailles (Paris: Joubert, rue des Mathurins, aux deux Piliers d’Or, ca. 1793). 2 vol., 50 engravings. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2018- in process

New to the Graphic Arts Collection are two volumes with 50 color stipple engravings, 25 of which are by François Etienne Joubert. Possibly a unique collection, one guess is the books were made to show the printer’s ability. Many plates highlight classical or allegorical subjects, most in a classical circular frame, featuring putti and angels in pastoral settings.

The British Museum posted a biography for François Étienne Joubert that reads in part:
“Began career as engraver and print publisher in Lyons. In 1787 moved to Paris and bought stock of J F Chéreau; the two worked together for several months, before Joubert took over sole running of business in 1788. Moved to new address c.1795 when Depeuille took over his building.

In 1801 published a four page pamphlet, Définition des mots copie et contrefaction en gravure (reprinted by C Hould, Images of the French Revolution 1989, pp.415-6). In 1821 published 3 vols. Manuel de l’Amateur d’Estampes (being a biographical dictionary of engravers, with notes on their principal plates and current prices, plus introductory essays).” –Marquand Library NE90 .J82

Poems by the Knight of Morar, See Princeton


The British Museum holds an etching [left] by George Cruikshank (1792-1878) designed as a frontispiece to Sir William Augustus Fraser’s Poems by the Knight of Morar, with the inscription “Designed & Etched by- George Cruikshank- September 27th 1870- 78 years of age.” At the bottom someone has written “See Princeton…”.

Princeton University’s Graphic Arts Collection holds a watercolor sketch [below] for this print but no book, since the proposed volume with this 1870 frontispiece was never published.


Thanks to the gift of Richard Waln Meirs (Class of 1888), the Graphic Arts Collection does have two editions of Fraser’s book from 1867 with other Cruikshank’s designs, both particularly rare unpublished copies: Sir William Fraser (1826-1898), Poems by the Knight of Morar (London: Printed by Whittingham and Wilkins, 1867). Copy 1 has three steel engravings by Gustave Doré (1832-1883) and one etching by G. Cruikshank.  Copy 2 uses that Cruikshank print as a frontispiece, described here:

“Or on the sundial’s polished face
Round and round the circle trace,
Now to the gnoman’s point they climb
Mocking the Moon’s mistaken time”

Établissements Nicolas designed by Cassandre

A.M. (Adolphe Mouron) Cassandre (1901-1968), Établissements Nicolas maison fondée en 1822 … liste des grands vins fins (Charenton-le-pont [Paris]: [Établissements Nicolas]; [Paris]: Imp. Draeger, 1930). Ephemera – advertising

A student of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, France, Adolphe Mouron Cassandre was a painter, commercial poster artist and typeface designer. His inventive graphic techniques show influences of Surrealism and Cubism and became very popular in Europe and the US during the 1930s.

He was a teacher as well as an artist and led courses at both the École des Arts Décoratifs and the École d’Art Graphique in 1934 and 1935. He and several other partners formed the advertising agency Alliance Graphiqe, which worked for a broad client base throughout the 1930s.

One of his most well recognized posters was the Normandie Poster and while his primary success stemmed from designing posters he also designed magazine covers, advertisements, logos and typefaces. In 1937 he designed the typeface Peignot for the Deberny & Peignot type foundry in Paris, France. He joined the French army during the German invasion of World War II, after the devastating effects of the war he found work designing sets for ballet and theater production. In 1968, after a severe battle with depression, he ended his own life.–Biographical information taken from: http://www.designishistory.com/1920/am-cassandre/

See also: Henri Mouron, A.M. Cassandre (New York: Rizzoli, 1985). Graphic Arts Collection NC1850.M6 M68 1985


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