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International Sign Painters of the World, Unite and Take Over.

August 26, 2010

Arrenbrecht, Wilhelm. Der Schriftenmaler.  Internationales Schriften-Vorlage-Werk. Cologne, ca. 1895.  [46260] Once upon a time, merchants hoping to make a good impression on potential customers didn’t hire graphical user interface consultants, they hired top-flight sign painters.  Elegant hand-painted lettering in a shop window announced to passers-by that the proprietor had class and sophistication.  Based on an […]

Serindia, Sir Aurel Stein and the Discovery of the Dunhuang Manuscript Hoard.

August 9, 2010

Stein, Aurel.  Serindia.  Detailed Report of Explorations in Central Asia and Westernmost China. 5 vols.  Oxford (Clarendon Press) 1921.  [46224] In the early 1900s, Wang Yuanlu, a Taoist priest acting as the self-appointed abbot of the Buddhist cave shrines at Dunhuang, made a startling discovery.  A crack in one of the cave’s brilliantly painted frescoes […]

Edward Meneeley and the Advent of the Electrostatic Artist’s Print.

July 27, 2010

Meneeley, Edward. IBM Drawings. New York (Teuscher Editions) 1966.  (Teuscher Editions, 2).  All prints initialled and dated by the artist.  Folio number 10 from a total edition of 15. [45865] Meneeley, Edward.  Portraits: People and Objects. New York (Teuscher Editions) 1968. (Teuscher Editions, 3). All prints initialled and dated (1967) by the artist.  Folio number […]

Recto|Verso on A Journey Round My Skull

May 17, 2010

My deepest thanks to Will Schofield, the brain behind A Journey Round My Skull for featuring Recto|Verso in today’s post.  If you aren’t already familiar, A Journey is essential reading (and viewing) for anyone concerned with the lost / secret history of 19th- and 20th-century avant-garde literature and graphic design.  It’s by far one of […]

The Bois de Boulogne and Sem au Bois: Belle Epoque Paris and the Pageantry of the Passing Spectacle

May 11, 2010

Sem (pseudonym for Georges Goursat).  Sem au Bois (title stamped in gilt on front cover).  N.p. (Paris?) ca. 1908.   Signed and dated 29/4/08 in pencil on the last plate; 6 other plates with the artist’s printed insignia.  [45958] A jewel in the crown of Baron Haussmann’s modernized Paris, the Bois de Boulogne opened as a […]


April 27, 2010

This past weekend on a beautiful spring night in April, more than 100 of our friends and colleagues in ARLIS/NA, the Art Libraries Society of North America, joined us for music, food, drink and conversation at F.A. Bernett Book’s humble headquarters in Boston’s historic Leather District.  It was the first time in more than13 years […]

The Bricklayer’s Art

March 2, 2010

[futurism] Trade Catalogue.-  Milan.   Società Anonima Giuseppe Verzocchi.  Veni. VD. Vici. Milan (Società Anon. G. Verzocchi) 1924.  [45934] “All I have,” explained Giuseppe Verzocchi in a 1950 interview with Life magazine, “I owe to work. I intend to build a monument to it through art.”  Verzocchi made good on the promise (and then some), commissioning […]

Radical Newspapers and ‘The Graphic Design of Urgency’

January 15, 2010

Collection of Mid-century American and Canadian Leftist Literature; 184 individual issues of 59 serials comprising a unique collection of publications from the 1920s to the 1990s. [45779] F.A. Bernett Books recently acquired a private collection of leftist periodicals. In cataloging the material, I was struck over and over again by a particular quality of the […]

Lucien Vogel’s Le Style Parisien

January 7, 2010

Le Style Parisien.  Numbers 1 (July 1915) through 7 (February 1916) (all published; lacking 8 pp. text). Paris (Librairie Centrale des Beaux-Arts) 1915-1916.  [45884] It may not have been the most avant-garde publication of its time, but Le Style Parisien served as an important bridge between the emerging capitals of  European fashion — chiefly Paris […]

Oceanliners and Graphic Designers: Carl Hinkefuss, Wilhelm Deffke and the Branding of the SS Imperator

December 19, 2009

Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft.  Literarisches Bureau. Turbinen-Schnelldampfer Imperator: Hamburg-Amerika Linie.  Hamburg (Kunstanstalt H. G. Rahtgens for Hamburg-Amerika Linie) 1913. [45805] Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft.  Literarisches Bureau.   Imperator auf See, 1913. Berlin (Otto Elsner/ W. H. Deffke for Hamburg-Amerika Linie) n.d. (1913). [42926] These two lavishly produced promotional booklets offer a seductive glimpse into the luxurious world of early […]

“In Consequence of the Demolition of Haggerston Castle…”

December 18, 2009

I. In Consequence of the Demolition of Haggerston Castle, Beal, Northumberland:  Illustrated Catalogue of the Most Expensive and Best Period Style Fixtures and Fittings, Metal, Materials and Fabric; Also Garden Ornaments, Balustrading, Paving, Sculptured Stone Figures, Fine Wrought Iron Gates, Etc. Etc.  II. Haggerston Castle, Beal, Northumberland: Catalogue of Four Days Sale.  III.  llustrated Particulars […]

A Curious Work Whose Importance Dwarfs Its Size

December 13, 2009

Wall, Bernhardt. The Etcht Miniature Monthly Magazine.  Nos. 1 (January 1948) through 12 (December 1948) (all published). [44806] Bernhardt Wall, the prolific American commercial engraver and visionary print maker, has often been compared to William Blake.  But whereas Blake’s private press endeavors tended toward the visionary and grandiose, Wall kept things whimsical, and sometimes thought […]

Joseph Urban’s Rainbow City

December 9, 2009

(Designs by Joseph Urban.)  Progress in Industrial Color and Protection at “A Century of Progress.” Chicago (American Asphalt Paint Co.)  1933. [45366] Celebrated architect, interior decorator, exhibition designer, illustrator and color theorist Joseph Urban (1872-1933) went out on a high note.  His final project, a commission to oversee an inventive color scheme for The Rainbow […]

George Barbier & the Great War

December 1, 2009

Barbier, George, & Jules Meynial.  La Guirlande des Mois.   Anées 1-5 (1917-1921) (all published).  Paris (Meynial) 1917-1921. [45546] Renowned illustrator, costume designer and Art Deco stylist George Barbier was 32 in 1914 when war broke out in Europe.  Although little is known about his personal biography, it stands to reason that he would have been […]

Letters to a Young Architect

November 22, 2009

FOUR LETTERS FROM PROMINENT CHICAGO ARCHITECTS IN RESPONSE TO A QUERY BY A YOUNG MAN. 4 letters, 3 in typescript and one in manuscript in pen, from: 1) Howard J. White of the firm Graham, Anderson, Probst & White (one page);  2) Chas Morgan (two pages);  3) Ernest N. Braucher (one page); and 4) Clarence […]

Deadly Nightshade

October 31, 2009

Vries, Herman de.   Belladonna: A Film by Herman de Vries, BB Grögel, Susanne Jacob, Steve Leistner, Vince de Vries. Eindhoven, Germany (Edition Apollnius) 1983. [45760] Dutch-born artist Herman de Vries is responsible for this particularly witchy addition to our inventory, Belladonna: A Film, a limited edition (35 copies) handmade artist’s book produced in connection with […]

A 19th-Century Crayon and Watercolor Instruction Book

October 15, 2009

Couleru.  Nouveau Cours Élémentaire de Coloris et d’Aquarelle: Suivi de Considérations sur la Peinture Orientale. Paris (Monrocq Freres) n.d. (circa 1860).  [45699] These charming images come from Nouveau Cours Élémentaire de Coloris et d’Aquarelle, an illustrated course of instruction in watercolor and crayon techniques for children and young adults. After an eight-page introduction offering 12 […]