FIVE ORIGINAL SIGNED WATERCOLORS, FOUR IN-TEXT PEN-AND-INK DRAWINGS, AND SIX ORIGINAL SIGNED ETCHINGS BY CO-FOUNDER OF THE ASHCAN SCHOOL, WILLIAM GLACKENS— ILLUSTRATIONS FOR DE KOCK’S WORKS, IN MAGNIFICENT ART NOUVEAU BINDINGS
(GLACKENS, William) DE KOCK, Charles Paul. Works. Boston, Paris, London: Frederick J. Quinby, (1903-04). Three volumes. Small quarto, contemporary full crimson morocco inlaid with Art Nouveau iris motifs on covers and doublures, both front and back. $3500.
Three exemplary volumes from the renowned limited “Bibliomaniac Edition” of De Kock’s Works, number four of only 10 sets produced, these being the two volumes of Edmond and His Cousin and one volume of Jean, printed on French-folded vellum and illustrated with 15 original works by William Glackens (13 signed), and ornately bound by the Harcourt Bindery with inlaid Art Nouveau iris motifs.
“William J. Glackens is an artist whose oeuvre is so diverse, it defies labeling. Was he a realist with a penchant for grit and sordidness or an impressionist who celebrated the simple joys of family life in his radiant canvases? He was both” (Area of Design). Glackens’ early training began at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, along with John Sloan, Everett Shinn, George Luks, and Robert Henri, all of whom in 1908 founded the group called “The Eight,” later known as the Ashcan School. While some of the painters in this group specialized in realistic social comment, Glackens’ work reflected a more healthy, joyous, and romantic view of life. In 1913, he was one of the organizers of the famous Armory Show, where three of his paintings were shown. The 15 original artworks contained in this exquisite edition of De Kock’s novels are exemplary of Glackens’ distinctive style of illustration. The edition itself was designed as a tour de force of book production, projected to be 100 volumes but apparently abandoned after 48 volumes. “In turn of the century Boston, the arts of the book enjoyed a certain prominence. This was the heyday of the private press movement and interest in books— especially fine books— ran high… One of [publisher Frederick J. Quinby’s editions was a 50 volume set of the French author Paul de Kock [three volumes of which are offered here], in full leather with morocco doublures, bound by his Harcourt Bindery. The quality of this work was no doubt well up to the standards of the day, and we would quarrel only with Quinby and his marketing methods, as did the courts! Few volumes ever reached the hands of the purchasers” (Helena Wright), making any one of these books extremely rare (only one “complete” set of 48 volumes has ever appeared).
Fine condition, with only foxing to a few preliminary guards and leaves of one volume, paintings and etchings superb.