(San Francisco: Grabhorn Press, 1927, ). 112 x 78 mm. (4 5/8 x 3"); 192 x 145 mm. (7 1/2 x 5 3/4").  leaves;  leaves. Two separately issued volumes. No. 42 OF 250 COPIES; with A UNIQUE TRIAL VERSION with variant frontispiece and no colophon, THE ARTIST'S OWN COPY.
Tan cloth-backed marbled boards, in the original cardboard slipcase. Trial copy in original flexible vellum, flat spine with title hand-lettered in black ink. In a marbled paper slipcase. Colored headpiece, 45 colored initials designed and illuminated by Angelo; TRIAL COPY WITH VARIANT WOODCUT FRONTISPIECE by Angelo printed in colors and SIGNED IN PENCIL, HAND-PAINTED OPENING WORD AND 45 TWO-LINE INITIALS in red, blue, green, and yellow with trailing penwork, FINAL PAGE INSCRIBED IN RED INK "ILLUMINATED BY VALENTI ANGELO." Front pastedown with Volkmann ex-libris. Heller & Magee 97, 88 (1926 edition). The present trial version not in Heller & Magee. Smaller volume with mild soiling to spine, otherwise fine, and the trial copy in mint condition.
Offered here are two versions of the same title issued by a major private press: a copy of the small format "Book of Ruth" printed in 1927, and an apparently unique trial copy for the original 1926 printing (featuring a variant frontispiece), a copy which seems to have become the property of the artist. Founded in 1915 in Indianapolis by Edwin and Robert Grabhorn and then moved to San Francisco in 1919 or 1920, the Grabhorn Press was known for its willingness to experiment with typography and design, and their publications (including the present title) were often listed among the 50 best-designed books of the year by the American Institute of Graphic Arts. This work was one of Grabhorn Press' earliest collaborations with Valenti Angelo (1897-1992), an illuminator and printmaker who had educated himself by exploring San Francisco's museums and libraries. Angelo would eventually illustrate more than 250 books over 34 years, but he is best known for his work with the Grabhorn Press. The present items offer several points of interest for the collector: the 1927 printing uses the same typesetting as the 1926 edition, but in a different format; and in the trial copy we see how Angelo initially favored a rather severe palette composed predominately of four colors (orange with black, yellow, and brown), casting the frontispiece image--two women in a field gathering wheat--in an ominous light. By introducing vibrant blues into the final iteration, however, the artist set a completely different tone for this Old Testament book, invoking a sense of serenity and hope. Evidently Angelo retained this unique(?) trial copy (as might be expected), and, according to an old bookseller's description, he either gave or sold it to Carl I. Wheat, a Grabhorn author and historian of cartography. Copies of the 1927 edition are not difficult to find (and copies of the 1926 version can also be obtained easily enough); by contrast, our trial copy from 1926 is the only one of its kind we have been able to locate, and it comes with a very special (albeit conjectural) association. (ST15816-64)
Add to Cart Price: $1,750.00
PJP Catalog: 76.209