"VOICI LE TEMPS DES ASSASSINS": RARE FERNAND LÉGER ILLUSTRATED EDITION OF RIMBAUD'S EXTRAORDINARY LES ILLUMINATIONS, ONE OF ONLY 395 COPIES SIGNED BY LÉGER, WITH 15 ORIGINAL POCHOIR-COLORED LITHOGRAPHS BY LÉGER
(LÉGER, Fernand) (MILLER, Henry) RIMBAUD, Arthur. Les Illuminations. Lithographies Originales de Fernand Leger. Lausanne: Grosclaude, Editions des Gaules, (1949). Folio (10 by 13 inches), contemporary full brown morocco, raised bands, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, original printed paper wrappers bound in. Housed in matching leather-edged marbled slipcase. $5900.
Lovely signed limited illustrated edition of one of Rimbaud's most important poetical works, with 15 splendid original full-page lithographs by Fernand Léger—12 vividly hand-colored using the pochoir technique—one of only 275 copies on handmade paper (from a total edition of 395), signed on the limitation page by Léger and publisher Louis Grosclaude. With Preface by Henry Miller. Handsomely bound in full morocco with original paper wrappers bound in.
"Arthur Rimbaud, a poet of precocious genius and violent, unstable character, began writing at 15 and abandoned literature some five, or possibly ten, years later. At 37, after years as a trader and explorer at Harar and in the interior of Abyssinia, he died unaware that he had become a master for the Symbolists. He now counts as one of the strongest influences on modern, and not only French, poetry… Rimbaud went farther than any poet before him in the exploration of the subconscious and, technically, in experimenting with rhythm and the use of words as units, without any syntactical relationship, purely for their evocative and sensational value" (Harvey & Heseltine, 619-20).
"Every age brings some new elements which should serve us; the great difficulty is to translate them into plastic terms… Man needs color to live; it's just as necessary an element as fire and water" (Fernand Léger). MoMA's first director, Alfred H. Barr, Jr., succinctly defined Léger as a "French Cubist whose forms are polished and cylindrical like steel, clangorous in red and black like new fire engines." In this finely printed work, Léger incorporates some of Rimbaud's text directly into several of his images. Three of Léger's 15 lithographs are black-and-white. The text of Henry Miller's four-page Preface is also lithographed. Text in French.
Text clean, original lithographs fine with vivid coloring. Front joint rubbed but sound. An about-copy.