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Afat. Soixante-Seize Sonnets

Picasso, Pablo. Iliazd (Ilia Zdanevitch)

Paris. Le Degré Quarante et Un. 1940
The first of Iliazd's beautiful and typographically inventive illustrated books and the first he produced with Picasso.

From the edition limited to 64 copies on 'Montval à la cuve', signed by Picasso and Iliazd in pencil.

'Afat was the first of nine books Iliazd and Picasso collaborated on. All of them were published under the imprint of 'Degré Quarante et Un', a name Iliazd chose in memory of a school of futurist poetry called the 'University of the 41º', which he had founded in Tiflis in 1917 ... Afat is a collection of 76 sonnets in Russian by Iliazd, the majority of which were written between January and June, 1938. In his poems, Iliazd writes of love, of feminine beauty, of the poet's difficult métier and the hidden meaning of words. Three sonnets are about the poet's relationship to 'Pablo' (Picasso).' (Patrick Cramer).

'Afat ... contained features that would become signature elements of his work. The book was structured as a whole ... The sequencing and number of pages were ordered by a mathematical scheme. The image was not linked to directly to the text, thematically or physically, and the interaction produced a dialogue rather than subordinating one to the other as illustration and / or caption. The sequence of blank sheets, title, half title, and justification of the edition were laid out symmetrically so that the closing of the book echoed the opening ... The typographic style was restrained, and the pages produce subtle equilibrium instead of dynamic activity - no confusion, no clamor, no crowding, no elaborate display faces. The sole decoration on the cover was the stamped title, Afat (a term that invokes unhappiness / and / or beauty that causes it) rendered in kufic ... With this work, Iliazd's architectural approach to book structure, with strong emphasis on symmetry and balance, made its appearance.' (Johanna Drucker).

[Cramer 33; see see Johanna Drucker's 'Iliazd - A Meta-Biography of a Modernist', 2020, pp. 146 - 147].
[50 unnumbered leaves including blanks]. Oblong 4to. (215 x 320 mm). Half-title, original aquatint with 'arabesque' title, leaf with justification in Russian verso, leaf with justification in French, leaf with title in French verso, leaf with title in Russian, leaf with original aquatint with second 'arabesque' and Iliazd's verse in Russian in double columns illustrated with 4 engravings with burin by Picasso, final leaf with achevé d'imprimer in Russian. Loose as issued in original publisher's printed parchment wrappers over card boards with title in black to upper cover, original tan patterned paper board chemise and matching slipcase with label with 'ILIAZD / PICASSO' in blue ink to edge.

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