Sims Reed Rare Books×

Action. Cahiers Individualistes de Philosophie et d'Art. Première Année - Numéro 1. (Février 1920) - Troisième Année - (Numéro 12). (Mars / Avril 1922). (All Published)

Picasso, Pablo, Juan Gris, André Derain et al. Fels, Florent & Marcel Sauvage. (Directeurs)

Paris. 1920–1922
The complete series of the scarce literary and artistic review 'Action' with a focus on Individual Anarchism, Cubism, poetry and art.

Florent Fels (1891 – 1977), the driving force behind 'Action', had been raised with Left-leaning and Individual Anarchist ideas but was also the link between a number of diverse Parisian literary and artistic coteries such as that centred on Max Jacob. Through Jacob Fels met Pierre Reverdy, Georges Gabory, André Salmon, Jean Cocteau and many of the other collaborators of 'SIC' and 'Nord-Sud', many of whom would contribute to 'Action'. Fels' own Individual Anarchist cohort also contributed as did those artists and writers he encountered in his own wanderings in Montmartre and Montparnasse. The delay in the appearance of the first issue (see below) saw Fels drop the 'Individualiste' from the title and thereafter the review was more purely literary and artistic.

The most evident theme of 'Action' is the eclectic individualism of the contributors and most particularly the absence of dada (and in later issues even opposition to it). The second issue includes Cubist illustrations by Picasso, Braque and Gris, poems by Salmon and Jacob and the essay 'L'expressionisme' by Ivan (Yvan) Goll. Issue 3 includes 'Opinions sur l'Art Nègre' with contributions by Apollinaire (posthumous ones), Cocteau, Gris, Lipchitz, Picasso and Vlaminck among others as well as André Malraux's first published text ('Le génèse des chants de Maldoror') and Gleizes' 'L'affaire Dada' with further Cubist illustrations, images of African sculpture, works by Matisse and so on. Number 5 features a series of calligrammes by Apollinaire, an anthology of modern German poetry as well as illustrations of work by Archpenko, Larionov, Goncharova and others. Paul Eluard and Benjamin Péret appear in number 6 along with paintings by Modigliani.

Highlights thereafter include the extensive series of reproductions of work by Rousseau in number 7, poetry by Ilia Ehrenburg and Paul Dermée, Paul ELuard's review of 'Cinéma Calendrier du Coeur Abstrait Maisons' by Tristan Tzara, André Salmon's 'Cartomancie' illustrated with woodcut vignettes (by Derain?) and Fernand Fleuret's 'Le Songe du Centaure'. The final issue, in smaller format, features an extensive illustrated appreciation of the 'Salon des Indépendants' on glossy paper and the illustrated 'De l'Art Nègre' by Carl Einstein.

This copy is complete with the paper bandeau for issue 1 with the printed text in red: 'ACTION / 1 / Ce numéro a été saisi / par la censure'. Georges Gabory's short fiction ' Eloge de Landru' was the reason for the delay in the appearance of the issue, held up at customs (Fels had chosen initially a Belgain printer but subsequent issues were printed in Paris) for several months, on the basis that it was written in praise of a murderer who had filled 12 people.

[Le Fonds Paul Destribats 140; see Walter G. Langlois' 'Anarchism, Action, Malraux' in 'Twentieth Century Literature', Vol. 24 No. 3 pp. 272 - 289, Duke University Press, 1978].
12 issues: 11 vols. Small 4to. (c.244 x 192 mm). + 1 vol. 8vo. (218 x 138 mm). Printed text in French throughout on various paper stock, woodcut vignettes in the text, illustrations in monochrome on glossy paper, Original publisher's printed wrappers as issued with titles in black to front covers, publisher's device and price to rear, advertisements to interiors; with the scarce bandeau for no. 1, housed in later white paper board box with title in blind to spine and green board box with marbled paper decoration.

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