THE ESSENCE OF “TRAIN TRAVEL, PARTICULARLY SPEED AND MOVEMENT”: SCARCE LIMITED FIRST EDITION OF MAGIE DER SCHIENE, 1949, BOLDLY SIGNED BY PHOTOGRAPHER RENÉ GROEBLI
GROEBLI, Rene. Magie der Schiene [Magic of the Rail]. Zurich: Kubus, (1949). Square quarto, eight folded sheets loose as issued, original photographic wrappers. $2200.
Limited first edition, number 594 of 1000 copies self-published by Groebli, this copy vividly signed by him in green ink on the title page, a landmark work exploring “new ways of making photobooks and integrating photographs more closely with text and graphics” (Parr & Badger), with 14 rich heliogravures.
In Magie der Schiene, René Groebli captures “the experience of train travel, particularly speed and movement… He takes a set of personal photographs investigating certain formal issues and turns them into an elegant photobook… The result is a wholly integrated piece of work, with each element given equal importance. It is a superb example of the spare, clean, international style of graphic design developed after the war… an extremely elegant mood piece” (Parr & Badger I:204). The photographs of this Swiss-born photographer were featured in both the 1952 Subjektive Fotographie exhibit and the 1955 Family of Man exhibit at MoMA; “Groebli’s railroad photographs… were ahead of their time” (René Schlachter). Limited first edition one of 700 with poem by Albert Ehrismann and accompanying text in German (remaining 300 with English text). Without extremely scarce belly-band. Open Book, 152. This rare signed copy from the collection of acclaimed photojournalist Peter Turnley, who has chronicled “almost every important international news event of the last 15 years” for Newsweek, Life and Harper’s Magazine (New York Times).
An exceptionally fine copy, scarce signed.