(Paris: H. Piazza et Cie. 1902). 236 x 165 mm. (9 1/4 x 6 1/2"). 175,  pp.,  leaf (colophon). No. 34 of 30 COPIES (numbered 11-40) ON JAPON, with an additional suite of plates in black & white (from a total edition of 300).
LOVELY MOSAIC DARK GREEN MOROCCO BY RENÉ KIEFFER (stamp-signed on front doublure), covers with inlaid violet morocco frame and interlocking chain-link compartments, each containing a floral inlay in shades of turquoise and citron morocco on a teal or black background, smooth spine inlaid with a similar design, gilt titling, TAN MOROCCO DOUBLURES framed in green morocco, with gilt and inlaid cornerpieces and central lozenge tooled in black, patterned silk endleaves, marbled flyleaves, all edges gilt. Original color-printed paper wrappers bound in. In the original black morocco-trimmed patterned paper chemise and matching slipcase. With decorative borders enclosing text and with 58 CHROMOLITHOGRAPHED ILLUSTRATIONS BY DINET, consisting of title page and three section titles, four head- or tailpieces, 41 illustrations in the text, and nine full-page plates, and WITH AN ADDITIONAL SUITE OF ILLUSTRATIONS printed in black & white. Prospectus bound in at rear. Carteret IV, 140. A FLAWLESS COPY.
This is a very handsomely bound deluxe copy of the first book produced by the French Orientalist painter Étienne Dinet and his Arabic teacher and closest friend, Sliman ben Ibrahim. The text of three Saharan folktales related here by Sliman are illustrated with Dinet's sensuous watercolors, and the whole is bound with great animation and skill by René Kieffer. Dinet and Sliman met in Algeria in 1889, when Sliman saved the painter from an ambush. Sliman accompanied Dinet to Paris in 1896, where he met the French Society of Oriental Painters and impressed them with both his character and his couscous. Sliman and Dinet also collaborated on a biography of Mohammed and an account of the Hajj they made after Dinet's conversion to Islam.
The binding here is reminiscent of an Oriental carpet and echoes Dinet's beautiful designs used inside the book. René Kieffer (1875-1964) worked at the Chambolle-Duru bindery for 10 years, mostly as a gilder, before establishing his own studio in 1903. According to Duncan & De Bartha, he "became a disciple of Marius Michel [fils], moving gradually away from his traditional training towards a more emblematic and modern style." In his early years, "it was not so much his designs as such, but rather his preference for bright colors, such as vermilion and peacock, that set Kieffer apart from the traditionalists." Here, his talent for design and love of vivid hues combine to produce a memorably lovely and thematically appropriate binding. The desirability of this volume is further enhanced by its immaculate condition. (ST16438)
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PJP Catalog: CA21VBF.019