Paris: Le Degre Quarante et un, 1972. Item #20
36 pp. Small folio. Original vellum binding,
with yellow dust-wrapper and preserved in publisher's beige cloth
chemise and slipcase. Fine copy.
Presentation copy from Iliazd's last wife
to Chota Takaishvili.
One of 78 copies printed on Japon ancien paper, signed in red
pencil on the colophon by Iliazd and with the original etching signed by
Picasso. The etching is a figure study of the Georgian artist
Pirosmanachvili painting at his easel. The dry-point etching was printed
by Atelier Lacourière Frélaut.
Ilya Zdanevitch, also known as Iliazd, was a Russian artist,
typographer, and publisher. He is known as a founder member of what
has come to be known as Russian Futurism. He went from futurist books
hand-made out of all kinds of material to livres d'artiste. He started to
publish them in 1940s. He set up everything by himself but typography in
his livres d'artiste is much more strict in contrast to his previous work.
Iliazd was well known for creating multiple layers of beautiful paper,
which the reader must slowly uncover until they reach the text, like some
highly anticipated present. His old friend Picasso illustrated nine of his
Iliazd returned to his homeland in 1912 and with his brother, artist
Kirill Zdanevitch, he met Georgian painter Niko Pirosmani
(1862-1918). They became very enthusiastic about him. Iliazd was alarmed
by the difficult economic straits that the painter was in and wrote a
manifesto to promote his art; it was published in a local paper
Zakavkazskaya Rech' in 1913 under the title "Khudozhnik-samorodok" (A
natural-born artist). It was his first publication. In June 1914 the journal
Vostok published his article "Niko Pirosmani," in which he
mythologized the biography of the older artist, linking him with the Silver
Age and the Russian avant-garde.
"In the summer of 1971, Iliazd decided to reprint the article he
convinced his friend Picasso to create this frontispiece of the Georgian
painter. The printing was completed and signed by December 1972, four
months before Picasso's death" (Johnson, p. 165).
This copy comes from the collection of Damian Alaniya. This
collector once erased the owner's stamp of the previous owner to whom
this copy was presented by the Iliazd's wife with signature on the front
endpaper: «Eu souvenir de Ms Zdanevitch pour Chota Takaichvili avec
les amitiés Ms Helene Zdanevitch. 1.7.82».