(Frankfurt am Main: Ars Libri Verlag, Gotthard de Beauclair, 1962). 470 x 320 mm. (18 1/2 x 12 1/2"). 40 pp.,  leaves.Designed by Gotthard de Beauclair. No. 22 of 250 COPIES IN ENGLISH, SIGNED by the illustrator and designer.
Original wine-red raw silk, gilt lettering on upper cover, black morocco label on spine. In a matching clamshell box with a black & white lithograph mounted on upper cover, gilt titling on spine. With 30 lithographs in the text by Gerhart Kraaz, and one additional folding lithograph in a portfolio. In mint condition.
Attractively bound, beautifully printed, and with praiseworthy typography and harmonious illustrations, this large-format first publication from the Ars Libri Press (later called Ars Librorum) exemplifies the kind of high quality, well-designed work for which leading German publisher and book designer Gotthard de Beauclair was known. Beauclair (1907-92) began his career at the major German publishing house Insel Verlag, where he rose to art director and, according to the Oxford Companion to the Book, "turned inexpensive Insel books into collectors' items with excellent typography." He also founded three different publishing houses (Trajanus in 1951, Ars Librorum in 1962, and Editions de Beauclair in 1966), where he produced special, limited editions that made full use of his excellent design and typographical skills. The present item is one such work, recognized by the Association of German Book Artists as one of the most beautiful books of 1962. Gerhart Kraaz (1909-71) studied painting and worked as a graphic designer before becoming a serious book illustrator. Although Kraaz had previously illustrated titles by authors as varied as Plato, Tolstoy, and Cervantes, the present title is considered his first major work in the realm of bibliophilic editions such as this. His illustrations in charcoal are sensuous and shadowy, capturing the romance and allure of the most beguiling Old Testament book. This edition in English appeared the same year as the German language edition, but is much rarer--apparently the publisher cancelled a number of copies and very few ever made it to market. We could trace just one copy sold at an American auction (Swann, 1990, for $375 hammer). (ST15816-03)
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PJP Catalog: ABAAvfMay20.035