“A CAUSE CÉLÈBRE IN MODERN ART HISTORY”: FIRST EDITION OF PORTRAIT OF AMERICA, SIGNED BY DIEGO RIVERA
RIVERA, Diego. Portrait of America. New York: Covici Friede, (1934). Quarto, original tan cloth, original dust jacket. $1250.
First edition of Rivera’s tribute to America, boldly signed by him, with over 50 black-and-white plates of scenes from his major American murals after photographs by Walker Evans, Lucienne Bloch and others.
In 1931 Diego Rivera, “one of the great artists of the century” (Pete Hamill), became only the second artist to receive a one-man show at New York’s MoMA. In a few short years, Rivera completed six murals in three American cities, including a fresco on the wall of New York’s Rockefeller Center that was ultimately destroyed before its unveiling, an event that “remains a cause célèbre in modern art history” (Paul Buhle). Prevented from photographing the mural prior to its destruction, “one of Rivera’s assistants smuggled a camera into the work area and took photographs surreptitiously” (Robert L. Scott). Portrait of America is a record of those tumultuous years in the artist’s life, with over 50 illustrations of these exceptional works, accompanied by the artist’s introductory essay and text by Bertram Wolfe. With photographs by Walker Evans, Gabriel Moulin and Lucienne Bloch, among others.
Book with only minor toning to spine; some dampstaining, edge-wear with loss affecting text on spine of scarce, very good dust jacket.