"SOMETHING OF THE MIGHTY LAUGH OF RABELAIS": THIRTY-THREE VOLUMES OF DE KOCK'S WORKS, FROM A LIMITED EDITION OF 250 SETS, WITH ORIGINAL ETCHINGS BY JOHN SLOAN, WILLIAM GLACKENS, AND GEORGE LUKS, CO-FOUNDERS OF THE ASHCAN SCHOOL
(SLOAN, John; GLACKENS, William; LUKS, George) DE KOCK, Charles Paul. Works. Boston, Paris, London, New York: Frederick J. Quinby, (1902-05). Thirty-three volumes. Octavo, contemporary three-quarter crimson morocco, marbled boards and endpapers, raised bands, spines inlaid with Art Nouveau flower motifs, top edges gilt. $3800.
Thirty-three volumes from the Memorial Edition of De Kock's Works, number 250 of 250 sets, illustrated with more than 300 original etchings, aquarelles, photogravures, and reproductions of watercolors and pen-and-ink drawings by John Sloan (32 original etchings), William Glackens (14 original etchings), George Luks (3 original etchings), and others—a number of which are hand-colored—with richly illuminated initials, head- and tail-pieces throughout each volume, beautifully bound by the Harcourt Bindery.
"Joy—such was in fact the gift, marvelous and rare, which was possessed… by the inexhaustible romancer, Charles Paul de Kock… It is through this that he has in his laughter something of the mighty laugh of Rabelais. It is through this that he has in his veins a drop of the blood of Molière" (Theodore de Banville). In 1902 John Sloan, best known as a painter of the streets of New York, obtained a major commission to create 53 paintings and etchings of "raucous behavior and silly plot twists" (Huntington Library) as illustrations for this edition of the comic novels of Charles Paul de Kock. In all, Sloan produced 53 original works for the series. "The De Kock commission honed Sloan's abilities as an etcher and earned him praise as an illustrator" (Heather Campbell Coyle). William J. Glackens' early training began at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, along with 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. "His illustrations, particularly those involving animated crowds of people, exhibit brilliant and expressive draftsmanship, as do a smaller series of etchings of urban subjects" (Gale Encyclopedia). George Luks studied briefly at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts before traveling to Europe to study the Old Masters. Upon his return he found work as an illustrator for the Philadelphia Press before receiving a commission to contribute original artwork to this edition; he also created illustrations for Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Other artists include Louis Meynell, Elmer Boyd Smith, William Sherman Potts, and Albert de Ford Pitney. "All the illustrations, etchings, title pages and decorations are original, and were conceived and executed expressly for this work" (from the publisher's statement in Volume I of Sister Anne). These original artworks are exemplary of the Ashcan School's distinctive style of illustration. This set includes 33 of 50 volumes; full sets of the Works are quite scarce.
Original artwork and text clean and fine; bindings near-fine with only some very light rubbing. A lovely production.