A Notable Multi-National Collaboration Featuring a Memorable Binding of Pearls, Aluminum, and Various Urban Elements

LETTRE À UN GENOU.

(Paris: Imprimerie Lacourière et Frélaut, 1963-65). 505 x 415 mm. (19 7/8 x 16 3/8"). [4] leaves of text (including colophon) followed by plates. No. 33 OF 45 COPIES (plus 10 author's copies).

REMARKABLE CONTEMPORARY ANTHRACITE CALF by J.-P. MIGUET (stamp-signed on front turn-in, dated on rear turn-in), BOTH COVERS OCCUPIED WITH A LARGE CHISELED, PUNCHED, AND CHASED ALUMINUM PLATE DESIGNED BY AGUSTIN FERNANDEZ (front cover with small etched signature of Fernandez and date "[19]65" at bottom) and incorporating pearls, wire, staples, brads, and nails; smooth spine with silver titling, silver paper endleaves. In (expertly repaired) original calf-backed cloth clamshell box. Seven signed and dated aquatint etchings by Fernandez (some with relief embossing) and SEVEN SIGNED AND DATED ORIGINAL COLLAGES made from a second suite of etchings, the collages incorporating felt, wire, small electronic parts, cork, foil, netting, beads, (burnt) match sticks, metal rings, and fine tissue. Colophon with signatures of Bosquet and Fernandez. A small group of tiny dents to spine, otherwise in virtually mint condition.

An in-your-face Surrealistic showpiece as dramatic as it is imaginative, this is one of several partnerships between Cuban artist Agustin Fernandez, Ukrainian-born French poet Alain Bosquet, and French binder Jean-Paul Miguet, and it stands out as almost certainly their greatest achievement. Although its text is very short, Bosquet's "Letter to a Knee" is profound, as it reflects on the possibilities and limitations of life and on the inevitable deterioration that comes with age. As the text notes, skin and bone both limit and empower the knee, and the present impressive object serves as a kind of visual reinforcement of this theme: the various objects added to make the collages both enhance and conceal the etchings underneath, and the protective binding (skin, if you will) does the same two things in relation to the contents. Born Anatole Bisk, Bosquet (1919-98) is perhaps the best known of our three collaborators, and his life was as interesting as his poetry. A citizen of the world, he was born in Russia, educated in Belgium and France, and fought in the U.S. Army in World War II, landing at Normandy. He was among the first troops to enter and liberate Buchenwald concentration camp. His literary career started to take off in 1951, when he moved to Paris and worked at "Combat" with Albert Camus, while serving as a regular contributor to "Le Monde," "Le Figaro," and "La Nouvelle Revue Française." He later taught at Brandeis, the University of Wisconsin, and the Université de Lyon, and he won numerous prizes for his poetry, including the Grand Prix de la Poésie de l'Académie Française (1967) and the Prix Goncourt de la Poésie (1987). The art of Agustin Fernandez (1928-2008) provides an appropriate complement to Bosquet's wide-ranging mind. Fernandez had a similarly full, creative, and productive life. Born and raised in Cuba, he studied in Havana, and then journeyed to New York, Paris, and Madrid, training with renowned artists in multiple media and developing a unique style. "Inspired by the demands of survival in an urban environment and the mundane objects that clutter its alleys and streets," this style often reveals the contrast between human and machine, the organic and inorganic, and the real and imagined. (Agustin Fernandez Foundation website) It is not difficult to see much of this reflected in the illustrations and the binding design here. Finally, everything is quietly wrapped up in elegant calf by the master binder J.-P. Miguet (b. 1925). It's really Miguet and the printers at Lacourière et Frélaut who set up the canvas on which Bosquet and Fernandez shine. The present object is one of the most striking bindings we have ever handled, and it is not surprising that Bassenge thought enough of it to offer it (albeit without selling it) for €60,000 at auction in 2013.
(ST12945)

Add to Cart Price: $22,500.00

PJP Catalog: 71.225

LETTRE À UN GENOU. ALAIN BOSQUET.
LETTRE À UN GENOU.
LETTRE À UN GENOU.
LETTRE À UN GENOU.
LETTRE À UN GENOU.

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