Gérard Charrière is a Swiss bookbinder and artist who practiced in the United States from 1965-2001. He now lives in Berlin.
I recently acquired the catalog pictured below. Sadly, all the images are in black and white. It has been a bit of a struggle to find color images of his work.
Gerard Charrière: Reliures d’art: An exhibition in The Thomas J. Watson Library of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York — November 30 to December 31, 1982
The first color image I saw of one of his bindings is in the retrospective section of the Guild of Book Workers 100th Anniversary Exhibition catalog (another recent acquisition). The catalog is online, but I wanted my own copy.
Eleanor Wolff, Spaces, 1973 Bound in full purple chagrin leather; sewn on recessed cords; green suede leather doublures and flyleaves; green handsewn silk endbands; top edge gilt; décor of blind tooling with multicolored leather onlays; title tooled in gold. 9.5 x 6.25 inches
Center for Book Arts had an exhibition of Charrière bindings in 1990, but only the wraps are in color: Gérard Charrière Unique Books and Reliures D’Art,
Les Pyramides, 1989. Unique. Mixed media paintings. Triangular binding. Spine in black leather. Cover in turquoise leather with silver leaf. Signed. 8.5 x 7.5 x 7.5 inches
There’s a really terrible image of the binding on the back of the catalog. Fortunately, I discovered that Bowdoin College in Maine has several Charrière bindings, including that particular binding and a binding quite similar (but not identical) to the one in the 1982 exhibit. Bowdoin has excellent images embedded in their online catalog, bless them:
Limbour, Georges, 1900-1970 Masson : dessins / Georges Limbour Paris : Braun, c1951 Bowdoin copy bound by Gérard Charrière in turquoise oasis with multicolor leather and paper onlays and gold tooling; ultra suede doublures; housed in an oasis and silk solander box. 11 p., 16 leaves of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 12.5 x 10.5 inches Jane Webster Pearce Collection Bowdoin College
Traveling Through Dream Landscapes “Artist book with four original signed drawings. Oil crayon, ink and bookbinding tools on Rives. One-of-a-kind”–Colophon Bound in full black oasis, with black leather onlays and palladium and oeser tooling 1 v. (unpaged) : chiefly col. ill. ; 6.25 x 10.5 inches Jane Webster Pearce Collection, Bowdoin College
Two more spectacular Charrière bindings from Bowdoin College Special Collections:
Tzara, Tristan, 1896-1963 Entre-temps / Tristan Tzara ; avec une eau-forte et quatre dessins de Henri Laurens [Paris] : Le Calligraphe, 1946 Bowdoin Spec. Coll. has copy no. 78 from the “original edition,” signed by the author and the artist; provenance: Jane Webster Pearce Bowdoin copy bound by Gérard Charrière (1974) in full purple shagreen with multicolored leather onlays and gold tooling; doublures in green ultra suede; housed in a quarter-calf decorated paper chemise with matching solander box. 8.5 inches
“The text of this edition was edited from the manuscript by Harrison Hayford and Merton M. Sealts, Jr., copyright 1962 by the University of Chicago”–Verso of t.p “This limited edition of 185 books was made by Benjamin and Deborah Alterman … All the artwork was printed directly from engraved endgrain woodblocks. 160 copies (Arabic numerals 1-160) were bound with a patinated bronze spine and wooden boards … 25 copies (Roman numerals I-XXV) were issued in sheets. Deborah engraved the woodblocks and Benjamin did the typography. Together they designed the book and the artwork”–Colophon Bowdoin Spec. Coll. has copy no. 16; 100 p. : ill. ; 10 inches. Provenance: Jane Webster Pearce Bowdoin copy bound by Gérard Charrière (1992) in blue oasis, with mixed media collage and gold tooling; gold decorated endpapers; housed in a cloth solander box decorated in black and white acrylic, with ultra suede lining