Landmark Books in All Fields
Drawings for the Bible
“THE SAME RELIGIOUS FORCE AS THE BIBLE ITSELF”:
FIRST AMERICAN EDITION OF CHAGALL’S SECOND SERIES OF BIBLE
ILLUSTRATIONS, WITH 96 HELIOGRAVURES AND 24 COLOR LITHOGRAPHS
CHAGALL, Marc. Drawings for the Bible. New York: Harcourt, Brace (Verve), (1960). Folio (10-1/2 by 14-1/2 inches), original pictorial paper-covered boards, original matching dust jacket. Housed in a custom clamshell box.
Rare first American edition of Chagall’s second series of illustrations for the Bible, with 96 black-and-white heliogravures, as well as 24 color lithographs prepared by Chagall especially for the present work and printed by Mourlot Frères.
This breathtaking blend of Chagall’s childhood experience of the world of the Hebrew Bible as “another world that still existed behind the world of workaday reality” began with his experience in Palestine during a 1931 trip. His illustrations constitute an “astonishing unity of word and image, of visual representation and nonvisual suggestion… The picture is not there to cover, sustain or adorn the event, but to report it plainly and yet in all its temporal and eternal significance… Chagall’s Bible etchings have the same religious force as the Bible itself” (Meyer, 383, 388, 393). The massive undertaking occupied Chagall off and on from 1931 to 1956, and again between 1958-59 (this edition). Printer Fernand Mourlot ran a lithography press where such greats as Braque, Matisse, Picasso, Miró and, of course, Chagall came to have their designs printed and to learn about this still nascent medium. With an introduction by Gaston Bachelard, translated by Stuart Gilbert. Appeared simultaneously from Verve in French, also in a trade edition. Sorlier 75. See Cramer 42.
Book fine; slight edge-wear, tiny closed tears, small bit of loss to lower edge of rear panel of extremely good price-clipped dust jacket.
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