Thirty-three Portraits of "Men of Genius"Alvin Langdon Coburn. Men of Mark. London: Duckworth & Co./ New York: Mitchell Kennerley, 1913. First Edition. Quarto. 30 text pages and 33 plates with tipped-in portrait photogravures. Tissue guards. Each plate with number and facsimile signature. Bound in original quarter linen over cloth covered boards with gilt lettering on upper board.
Binding lightly rubbed and soiled, bumped corners. Previous owner's ink inscription on front pastedown, dated 1914. Partially erased pencil notations on rear pastedown. Offset to front endpapers from a laid-in exhibition invitation. Pages with few smudges or foxing, very minor tears to fore edge of preliminary leaves with tape mends. A very good copy of one the landmark works of portraiture.
Laid-in invitation (present and now in archival plastic holder) was to a 1912 exhibition at the Blanchard Gallery in Los Angeles of many of these photographs. The exhibition predates publication of the book. On that invitation the subjects are referred to as "men of genius". On page 29 of Coburn's introductory comments, he thanks Arnold Bennett for suggesting the more modest "Men of Mark". Six of the photographs, including Mr. Bennett's, were taken after the Los Angeles exhibition, prior to the suggested title for the volume. Hence Coburn's original appellation "men of genius" is on the invitation. The photographs reflect a rather broad world view and include artists, writers and statesmen, among others. Henri Matisse, George Bernard Shaw, Mark Twain and Theodore Roosevelt are all represented.
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