New Acquisitions and Some Clarifications

Clarifications:

First, I thought this was obvious, but it seems that it is not: I am not a bookbinder, restorer, or conservator. I never was. I never will be. I just love bindings.

Second, I resigned from Bauman Rare Books last week after working there for over 14 years. They are the best, but it was time. I have added a page to the blog about me, so you can find out where I’ve been, what I’ve been doing, and what I do (or am going to do) now.

Recent Acquisitions:

Many, many thanks to John Shoesmith of the Fisher Library for sending me a copy of the catalog from the exhibit he recently curated on Canada’s small and fine presses AND the Michael Wilcox catalog. I plan to post some scans of bindings from the catalog along with some quotations of Wilcox’s commentary.

 

Canadian Fine Press

 

 

Wilcox In Retrospect

 

I am also extremely grateful to Marc Lamb of Harmatan and Oakridge Leathers and Rob Shepherd of Shepherds Bookbinders for causing a copy of the Exposition Internationale de relieur de création catalog to land in my mailbox. There are so many mind-blowing bindings in there, including quite a few from binders based in the Americas. There will be a post soon with more details about the exhibit and those binders.

 

ARA xi 1

Revival

This blog is not dead.

Sorry for the silence. I’ve had a few things going on. I’m sure you will all be pleased to know that my husband is recovering extremely well from his cycling accident and my daughter has successfully completed the fourth grade.

You know what else is not dead?

The Guild of Book Workers New York Chapter. After a hiatus, it is up and running again thanks to Celine LombardiSaira Haqqi, Jane Mahoney, and Carol Margreither Mainardi. The first event organized by the new board was the Spring Swap Meet, graciously hosted by Judy Ivry at her bindery on East 4th Street, a couple of weeks ago.

I recently joined the Guild and the NY chapter. I was pretty excited to talk to binders I’ve heard of, met only briefly, or have only communicated with via email. Plus, I heard that some binders would be selling books, catalogues, and journals from their personal collections. Pathetically, I couldn’t get my butt there until 2pm, so I missed many binders and books. I heard that the fine press books in sheets sold in minutes. I don’t want to know which books they were. I’m sure it would just make me sad. Still, I managed to pick up some nice items for my collection of catalogues (thank you, Jenny Hille!), some back issues of The New Bookbinder, and a back issue of The Guild of Book Workers Journal.

The whole event was kind of a blur for me. It was a constant stream of book folk coming and going. I finally met Celine in person. We had been corresponding sporadically ever since I coincidentally met her brother in January. I was delighted to meet Judy Ivry and Ursula Mitra (with whom I have also corresponded, but never met). Then I went into a world of bliss with Christine Giard and her laptop. Her website has a very small sample from the hundreds of bindings she has created. She showed me over two hundred photos of her design bindings (and at least as many of her amazing marbled papers). Ursula asked Christine how many design bindings she has made. Christine shrugged and said, “I don’t know. Maybe 500 or 600.” Jaws dropped.

Christine’s bindings vary widely in design and materials. I was blown away by her range. She is such a tease. After a while, she started making me guess the materials just by looking at the picture. I got just a few: wood, polycarbonate and automotive paint, brass with copper wire, box calf. Here are some others: neoprene, rubber intended for shoe soles, acupuncture needles, plexiglass, rubber cut from motorcycle tires (she’s a biker), and japanese paper covered relief structures that make the binding look like pleated fabric. I’m not going to give it all away here because I am going to write at least one post about her, with lots of pictures and details. Christine takes excellent photographs, not just of her bindings.

I hear all of you saying, but she is FRENCH! Yes, but Christine has lived and practiced in NYC for over two years.

I claim her for The Americas!

Recent acquisitions:

demi-siecle 1984

Jean de Gonet

DBinNA

Gerard Charriere

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. 24 x 16 x 1.5 centimeters
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

The Center for Book Arts had an exhibition of Charrière bindings in 1990, Gérard Charrière Unique Books and Reliures D’Artbut only the wraps are in color:

Les Pyramides, 1989. Unique. Mixed media paintings. Triangular binding. Spine in black leather. Cover in tuquoise leather with silver leaf. Signed. 8.5 x 7.5 x 7.5 inches
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 Spec. Coll. copy bound by Gérard Charrie`re 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.) ; 32 cm Jane Webster Pearce Collection Bowdoin College
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. ; 16 x 27 cm 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 Spec. Coll. copy bound by Gérard Charrière (1974) in full purple shagreen with mlticolored leather onlays and gold tooling; doublures in green ultra suede; housed in a quarter-calf decorated paper chemise with matching solander box
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
Charriere Billy Budd
“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