"NIELSEN'S MOST SPECTACULAR AND CELEBRATED BOOK": EAST OF THE SUN AND WEST OF THE MOON, SIGNED LIMITED EDITION
NIELSEN, Kay. East of the Sun and West of the Moon. (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1914). Quarto, original gilt-decorated vellum, pictorial endpapers, silk ties, uncut. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $29,000.
Signed limited first edition of this classic collection of Norwegian folk tales, illustrated with 25 superb mounted color plates and decorative in-text line cuts by famed artist Kay Nielsen, number 68 of only 500 copies numbered and signed by him. A scarce and magnificent masterpiece in excellent condition, with original silk ties present.
"Nielsen's place in history has become universally acknowledged and his name is invariably invoked as one of the deities of the golden age of illustration, alongside such immortals as Arthur Rackham, Walter Crane and Edmund Dulac" (Silvey, 488). "By general consent, Nielsen's most spectacular and celebrated book is East of the Sun and West of the Moon, old tales from the North, translated from the Norwegian of Peter C. Asbjörnsen and Jörgen Moe (devoted collectors of Scandinavian folk tales in the mid-19th century)… Nielsen's unique style and talent for combining the eerie and fantastic with beautiful decorative effect was at its peak with this set of illustrations" (Dalby, 90). "The illustrations are pensive, filled with dramatic space and strong lines creating a terrific sense of movement. The deep Northern skies he depicts give his work a celestial scale that imparts a mythic impact to his heroes and heroines. The delicacy and elegance of the illustrations completely disregard the rough, folksy quality of the tales, leaving each to be enjoyed separately" (Silvey, 489). Nielsen illustrated three other deluxe volumes of fairy tales during his career, securing his reputation as a master of the fantastic and wonderful in art. He also designed the "Night on Bald Mountain" portion of Walt Disney's animated classic Fantasia. With an original advertisement for a December 1914 exhibition of Nielsen's watercolors for this volume laid in. See Cotsen 591.
Plates beautiful and bright. Lightest embrowning to top margins of leaves. Mild darkening to vellum, as expected, gilt on front cover bright. A splendid production, very nearly fine, signed by the artist. Quite scarce and most desirable, especially in this condition and with original silk ties present.