Sims Reed Rare Books×

Sillage Intangible. Poème Accompagné d'une Pointe-Sèche de Pablo Picasso

Picasso, Pablo. Scheler, Lucien

Paris. Le Degré Quarante et Un (Iliazd). 1958
'Sillage Intangible', uniting Lucien Scheler, Pablo Picasso and Iliazd in grief for and tribute to their lost friend Paul Eluard.

From the edition limited to 50 numbered copies on vieux japon, each signed by the author and the illustrator in pencil.

Iliazd and Paul Eluard (1895 - 1952), the great Surrealist and poet had been close on Iliazd's first arrival in Paris, before a rupture during the decline and close of dada, and later close again following a rapprochement. Eluard had given a poem to Iliazd which he intended to publish in homage to his dead friend. Eluard's estate refused but Iliazd was offered this poem 'Sillage Intangible' by another of Eluard's friends, Lucien Scheler, together with the beautiful portrait of Eluard as a laureate poet by Picasso. Out of respect, Iliazd - unusually - did not sign the justification, despite the meticulous care he took in the production of a work that was largely his own creation.

According to Chapon, quoted by Drucker, the paper used for the book was 'the most beautiful Japanese paper to be found in all of Paris, that which the publisher Pelletan had acquired in 1906 from Bing, the exporter of Chinese and Japanese goods. These sheets of paper had survived a flood in the storage cellar of Bing's illustrious shop, and thus had a history as well as pedigree of their own.'

'Iliazd, consistent with his manner of creating any volume, even the thinnest brochure, struggled to create a unity from which no part could be separated: a visual poem.' (François Chapon).

[Isselbacher 23; Cramer 95; Chapon 294; see Johanna Drucker's 'Iliazd - A Meta-Biography of a Modernist', 2020, pp. 197 - 199].
[6 bifolia: 12 leaves]. Small folio. (260 x 224 mm). Leaf with title, leaf with original drypoint engraving by Picasso ('Portrait de Paul Eluard' dated '23.4.58' in the plate), three leaves with Lucien Scheler's verse, leaf with justification and achevé d'imprimer; text and frontispiece printed to the centre of bifolia, Scheler's verse printed as spreads, copy number printed in red. Loose as issued in original publisher's vellum with printed title to front cover in red, several bifolia of thick brown handmade endpapers, original card emboîtage in two sections with cream paper label with printed title in black to front section.

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