Sims Reed Rare Books×

Pirosmanachvili 1914

Picasso, Pablo. Zdanevitch, Ilia (Iliazd)

Paris. Le Degré Quarante et Un. 1972
Iliazd's and Picasso’s homage - their final collaboration - to the painter Niko Pirosmanachvili.

From the edition limited to 78 copies on japon ancien, signed on the justification by Iliazd in pencil and with Picasso's signed drypoint frontispiece; this example is inscribed 'ép[reuve] d'a[uteur]' in pencil by Iliazd to the justification.

Although Iliazd had written the text for this book and published it in 1914, it did not appear again, translated now into French by Andrée Robel and André du Bouchet, until the publication of the present book. Iliazd had prepared the copperplate in late 1971 before he fell seriously ill and had to be committed to hospital. He made a remarkable recovery and persuaded Picasso to create the portrait of the artist Niko Pirosmanachvili ('Pirosmanachvili à son Chevalet') in February 1972. Picasso made only three further prints (all in March 1972) before his death in April, 1973. Iliazd published one final book, bringing to the press his long-planned collaboration with Miró, 'Le Courtisan Grotesque', before his own death in December, 1975. 'Pirosmanachvili', as a text a return to Iliazd's own youth, seems a fitting full stop to the book collaborations of Picasso and Iliazd, begun more than 30 years before with 'Afat'.

According to Baer (see below), Iliazd had great difficulty finding the correct Japon paper for his edition. It appears that he had to settle for two different tranches of Japon of different sizes: copies 1 - 39 (Baer's 'format B') were folded sheets measuring 280 x 213 mm; copies 40 - 78 were of a larger size (Baer's 'format A') measuring 300 x 193 mm. The format of the present copy is 308 x 184 mm. Baer lists another copy inscribed 'ép[reuve] d'a[uteur]' in 'format A' at the Bibliothèque nationale.

'In 1912, the brothers Kyril and Ilia Zdanevitch and their friend, Michel Ledentu, all three fervent Futurists, met the painter Niko Pirosmanachvili. Shocked by the misery in which the artist lived and eager to draw attention to his exceptional talents, Ilia published a sort of manifesto about Pirosmanachvili's art in a local paper in 1914. In the summer of 1971, nearly 60 years after their meeting, Iliazd decided to reprint this article as a loyal tribute to his long unrecognised friend ... Iliazd prepared a small copperplate hoping that Picasso would consent to engrave a frontispiece. On February 21, 1972 he went to see Picasso at Mougins, and the artist made for him a remarkable, idealized portrait of the Georgian painter in drypoint .' (Cramer).

'A cause de difficultés rencontrées par Iliazd pour trouver un nombre suffisant de feuillets de japon ancien de même format, les exemplaires se présentent de deux façons différentes: mêmes emboîtage, couverture et page de garde, mais la taille des feuillets est différente.' (see Baer).

[Cramer 154; Baer 2020b].
[9 unnumbered bifolia]. Small folio. (330 x 245 mm). Leaf with original drypoint frontispiece by Picasso signed in pencil verso, leaf with title and Iliazd's text printed to the interior of six bifolia, final leaf with justification and achevé d'imprimer. Loose as issued in arches wove wrappers, additional marbled parchment wrapper and additional printed papier de boucher dust-jacket with title to front cover, original coarse-weave cloth chemise with Iliazd's monogram to spine and matching slipcase.

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