“THE ONLY POSSIBLE CONCLUSION: NEVER AGAIN”: LIMITED FIRST EDITION OF “ARBEIT MACHT FREI,” SIGNED BY REICHENTÁL,WITH 16 LARGE DUOTONE PLATES AFTER CHARCOAL DRAWINGS BY HIM
(HOLOCAUST) REICHENTÁL, Frantisek. Arbeit Macht Frei. Bratislava: (Central Union of Jewish Communities of Slovakia Bratislava), 1946. Folio (10 by 14 inches), cord-bound as issued, original pictorial wrappers, 16 duotone plates. $2400.
Signed limited first edition, number 814 of 1000 copies signed by leading Slovakian artist Reichentál, an important folio album featuring 16 exhibition-size duotones after original charcoal drawings by him, based on his experience in Auschwitz, scarce in original pictorial wrappers.
This powerful folio album contains 16 full-page duotones after original charcoal drawings by Slovakian artist Reichentál, a leading Slovakian artist who taught at its prestigious School of Applied Arts, which was forced to close in 1938 but already"became a legend, even in its short period of existence. Its fame as a sort of 'Bratislava Bauhaus' reached as far as Walter Gropius" (Journal of Design History). The compelling images in this album are largely based on the artist's experiences as a prisoner in Auschwitz. As is noted on the title page, "These drawings are dedicated to the memory of our dearest ones, who became victims for being Jews." The preface, by Dr. Vojtech Winterstein, continues: "For us who happen to have survived, these are sad reminiscences which chain us to the drastic reality of the catastrophic past. But those who were fortunate enough not to have experienced them and especially future generations should be aware of the unbelievable truth that even the slogan 'Arbeit Macht Frei' (Freedom through Work) may become the cover for human bestiality, as cultivated by the Nazis. But all of us should draw the only possible conclusion: Never Again." Text in English and Slovakian.
Plate fine, mild toning to txt pages and wrappers, only slight rubbing to edges of wrappers. Near-fine condition.