Sims Reed Rare Books×

Les Murs

Dubuffet. Guillevic, E[ugène]

Paris. Les Editions du Livre. 1950
'Les Murs' with verse by Eugène Guillevic and Dubuffet's magnificent lithographs.

From the edition limited to 172 numbered copies, with this one of 160 on Montval.

In 'Les Murs', one sees a distillation of many of Dubuffet's fundamental ideas. The artist was fascinated by natural materials, and constructed his lithographs by building upon the various imprints he made during his experiments with stones, leaves, dirt, etc. In this series of fifteen lithographs, he repeatedly explores the motif of the stone wall, examining its rich patterns,textural possibilities and the human and animal interventions upon it (graffiti and defacement) that all combine to create a new canvas. By presenting these apparently crude images the artist set out to shock the world with a 'new refreshed eye'. In 1945, he stated: 'I feed on the banal. The more banal a thing may be, the better it suits me ... It is where the picturesque is absent that I am in a state of constant amazement.'

The figures in 'Les Murs' do not have any definable relationship to each other or to their surroundings, they merge with their environments, absorbed into the various wall surfaces. By focusing on the mundane materiality of walls, the elemental aspect of nature, Dubuffet creates a new expressive vocabulary that challenges the process of idealisation inherent in mainstream artistic endeavours.

The lithographs were executed by Dubuffet in 1945 and printed at Mourlot Frères; the book was printed by Joseph Zichieri, Paris for Les Editions du Livre.

[Webel 52 - 67].
[17 unnumbered bifolia including blanks: 34 leaves]. Folio. (400 x 304 mm). Half-title, justification verso, original monochrome lithograph frontispiece, printed title and Guillevic's verse (presented as bifolia numbered 1 - 12 on first recto with verse verso, Dubuffet's lithograph on following recto with blank verso) with 13 original monochrome lithographs (the final lithograph hors texte), final leaf with achevé d'imprimer recto; the front cover is also an original monochrome lithograph. (Sheet size: 380 x 285 mm). Loose as issued in original publisher's paper wrappers with Dubuffet's lithograph cover, blue paper board chemise with printed title label to spine and matching slipcase.

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