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La Septième Face du Dé. Poëmes - Découpages

Duchamp, Marcel. Hugnet, Georges

Paris. Editions Jeanne Bucher. 1936
The édition de tête of 'La Septième Face du Dé' with Marcel Duchamp's 'couverture-cigarettes' and an original collage poème-découpage by Georges Hugnet.

From the edition limited to 270 numbered copies signed by Hugnet and Duchamp, with this one of the first 20 examples from the édition de tête on japon blanc with Marcel Duchamp's 'couverture-cigarettes' (see below) and with Hugnet's unpublished original collage poème-découpage as frontispiece; 24 additional hors commerce lettered copies were also issued.

Two different bindings, each with some slight variation among examples, appear to have been issued. We locate copies with - as for the present example - a green or brown morocco backing sewn with raffia as well as a different version with a white / cream canvas backing also with raffia stitching. All of the copies have two photographs of unwrapped cigarettes coloured by hand with aniline pasted to the covers at the left-hand (right-hand for the rear cover) edge. Of those copies with the white / cream canvas backing, we can trace two examples without numbering, as well as a further, hybrid, copy printed on blue paper with stab holes at the outer right (i.e. the wrong) edge of the sheets; this copy on blue paper - copies on blue paper are not described on the justification of the book as requiring the édition de tête binding - also features two identical photographs for the 'couverture-cigarettes' front cover unlike all other examples we trace. In addition, several copies also incorporate thick celluloid boards - as here - over the original photographs; the catalogue for the sale of the books of Paul Destribats clarifies this final point with a quotation: 'Duchamp utilise, de plus, une feuille de Cellophane - cette 'cellulose diaphane' dont le brevet venait juste, en 1936, d'être déposé - qui crée une pellicule, un effet de verre ou de lamelle ... '. (Georges Didi-Huberman and Didier Semin).

'For the 'Couvertures cigarettes' front and back covers of the deluxe edition of 20, he began with a print of an oversize, hand-coloured photograph of three cigarettes 'stripped bare' of their wrapppers. He created the front cover by cutting down the images, slicing off one lone cigarette and overlapping it with the other two so that only two cigarettes are immediately visible. Then he repeated the process for the back cover. The photographs are glued on the inner side only, and the outer side remains free.' (Schwarz, pp. 733 / 734).

'Hugnet's 'La Septième face du dé: Poèmes-découpages', published in 1936, was Surrealism's first attempt to combine graphics with poetry. In collages of cutout images and printed letters and words, he succeeded in creating - brusquely, violently, with mystery - a world bearing the traces of a dark romanticism. He demonstrated chance as involved in the procedure of cutting with scissors. His works are mirrors, reflecting the unconscious.' (Jacques Baron).

'Cet ouvrage fut achevé d'imprimer le 25 mai 1936. Le 20 mai, Marcel Duchamp s'était embarqué pour New York, en laissant sa signature sur des fragments de papiers de différents couleurs afin qu'ils soient collés à la justification.' (Filipacchi catalogue, 2004).

This copy is in good condition overall, however, the celluloid for the front cover has been replaced while the original celluloid for the rear cover has bowed as usual; the two original photographs - with some creases and two small areas of restoration - for the front cover have been laid down on card at a later date, likely at the time the celluloid was replaced. Hugnet's original signed collage poème-découpage is in fine condition and internally the copy is good.

[Schwarz 444 (with errors); Roth 92 / 93 (hors commerce copy on blue paper); see lot 430, 'Paul Destribats, Bibliothèque des Avants-Gardes - 1ère Partie', 2019; see lot 187, 'Mille Nuits de Rêve - Collection Geneviève & Jean-Paul Kahn', 2019; see 'Surrealism: Two Private Eyes', Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1999 (vol. 2, no. 585); see lot 137, 'Bibliothèque Daniel Filipacchi: Deuxième Partie', Christie's Paris, 2005 (the copy listed in the Guggenheim catalogue)].
[46 leaves]. Small folio. (292 x 214 mm). Leaf with half-title with die vignette (the 'dé' of the title as an image) recto and 'Du Mème Auteur' verso in green, leaf with original collage poème-découpage dated 'Mai 36' and initialled 'GH' by Hugnet in red verso as frontispiece, printed typographic title, leaf with quotations recto (by Isidore Ducasse, Xavier Forneret and Saint-Just) and first poem verso, 19 further poems by Hugnet, numbered '2' to '20' recto with verse verso and each poem with facing reproduction collage poème-découpage (13 with colour elements), final leaf with justification and achevé d'imprimer recto with the signatures of Duchamp and Hugnet to a sheet of torn pink paper pasted to the leaf as usual; Hugnet's text with typographic ornaments and small vignettes printed in green throughout. Original 'couverture-cigarettes' by Marcel Duchamp (see below), brown morocco-backed card boards stitched with raffia in the Japanese manner with mounted original hand-coloured photographs by Duchamp beneath celluloid, over original green wrappers by Duchamp with mounted embossed photographic reproduction of 'Why Not Sneeze Rose Sélavy?' and pictorial title composed of vignettes and names from the Surrealist pantheon.

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