Illustrated and Inscribed by Georges Braque, And in a Striking Oversized Art Deco Binding

CINQ SAPATES.

(Paris: [Maeght], 1950). 408 x 280 mm. (16 x 11"). 50 pp., [2] leaves. No. 82 OF 101 COPIES.

INGENIOUS DOVE GRAY CALF BY FRANÇOIS BRINDEAU (stamp-signed on front doublure), covers with geometric onlays that are variations of the number 5 ("cinq"), some highlighted with white-tooled parallel lines, author's name and title lettered in blue on upper cover, artist's name and date on lower, smooth spine, gray calf doublures, gray suede free endleaves, edges untrimmed. Original printed gray wrappers bound in. Housed in (lightly scuffed) matching gray linen clamshell box, gray calf label lettered in blue and white on spine. With five half-page black etchings by Braque. HALF TITLE WITH ORIGINAL WATERCOLOR OF BLUE LEAVES AND INSCRIPTION BY BRAQUE: "Pour Max Pellequer, bien amicalement, G. Braque 1951." Peyré, "Peinture et Poésie," p. 149; The Artist and the Book, 1860-1960, 37. Isolated faint marginal foxing, slight crease to title page, but a VERY FINE COPY, clean, fresh, and bright internally in a pristine binding.

Elegantly illustrated and inscribed by a great 20th century artist and bound in a sculptural Art Deco design, this is a collection of five poems about "sapates"--valuable gifts hidden inside a gift of lesser value, such as a diamond ring inside a cupcake. Our volume does not fall under this category: its outside is every bit as impressive as the contents. The celebrated French artist Georges Braque (1882-1963) was a painter, collagist, printmaker, and sculptor who made important contributions to the Fauves movement in the early 20th century, and to the development of Cubism, in which he and Picasso were the leading lights. The illustrations here, done near the end of his long career, depict the five "sapates"--oil, olives, a jug, a rough sketch of a fish, a shutter--in simple black and white, with more realism than his Cubist works but still in simple, pared-down lines. To accompany the inscription of this volume to banker Max Pellequer (d. 1974), nephew of Picasso's friend André Level, Braque added a small painting of cerulean blue leaves, a single note of color in the blacks, whites, and grays of the text, and one picked up by binder François Brindeau, who used that hue for the lettering on the covers. Brindeau studied at the École Estienne, graduating in 1976, and then worked with Jean de Gonet. He created the present binding for bibliophile and former Olympic rowing medalist Maurice Houdayer (1931-2020), a connoisseur of contemporary bindings who had a great love of Art Deco. Houdayer served as president of the Amis de la Reliure Originale, and assembled an impressive collection of illustrated books in bindings he commissioned from innovative designers. Montpellier-born poet Francis Ponge (1899-1988) was known as "the poet of things" because he wrote about simple everyday objects like the subjects of the present work. His poetry invites us to contemplate often overlooked commonplace objects, and perhaps in doing so, to discover something about the human psyche. Literary critic David Gascoyne noted that Ponge "addressed himself to the common reader in the hope of persuading us that poetry is not merely a preoccupation of the idle and overeducated."
(ST16802)

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PJP Catalog: 79.117

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