Sims Reed Rare Books×

La Prose du Transsibérien, et de La Petite Jehanne de France. Couleurs Simultanées de Mme. Delaunay-Terk

Delaunay, Sonia. Cendrars, Blaise

Paris. Editions des Hommes Nouveaux. 1913
A beautiful presentation copy of the stunning collaboration between Cendrars and Sonia Delaunay: La Prose du Transsibérien.

This copy from the simili japon issue is signed and numbered by Cendrars in purple ink and features a presentation in black ink: 'A mon cher ami Ortiz de Zárate, fondateur de Buenos Aires, pourquoi n'aères-tu pas la Rotonde. Noël 1916. B. C.'

Although the justification announces 150 copies (8 on parchemin, 28 on japon and a further 114 on simili japon), only some 60 were printed, and according to the 'Enrichements de la Bibliothèque Nationale 1961 - 1973', only 30 of these are still surviving (this estimate has since been revised upward to between 60 and 70 but is still far fewer than the original projection of 150); this example, signed by Cendrars, with his right hand, in violet ink is from the 'simili japon' tirage.

One of the greatest of the modern illustrated books and the first example of abstract art in book form. The book was designed as a two metre high object and the whole edition, if placed end to end, would have been as high as the Eiffel Tower. Both Sonia Delaunay and her husband Robert were fascinated by the Eiffel Tower and returned to it many times, both in their painting and in their illustration. The Tower is represented at the foot of the fourth sheet.

'Madame Delaunay a fait un si beau livre de couleurs, écrit Cendrars dans Der Sturm en septembre 1913, que mon poème est plus trempé de lumière que ma vie. Voilà ce qui me rend heureux. Puis encore, que ce livre ait deux mètres de long! Et encore, que l'édition atteigne la hauteur de la Tour Eiffel!' (Inédits Secrets, pp. 360 - 361).

'Blaise Cendrars et Mme. Delaunay-Terk ont faite une première tentative de simultanéité écrite ... '. (Guillaume Apollinaire writing in Les Soirées de Paris).
4 folio sheets. (Each c.525 x 360 mm). Each sheet printed recto only, the sheets conjoined and folded as issued into 42 panels incorporating text and decor in double columns: the first column comprises the letterpress title, justification, imprint at the head, and colour pochoir decoration; the second column comprises a colour-printed map, caption-title, and letterpress text (using 12 typefaces) printed in four colours, the whole are of all sheets with elaborate pochoir colour by Delaunay. Folded and pasted into the original parchment wrapper with fastener, with colour pochoir dedecoration by Sonia Delaunay.

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