"What Braque has is poetry!" -- Pierre ReverdyGeorges Braque and Pierre Reverdy. La Liberté des Mers. [Paris]: Maight Éditeur, [1959, i.e. 1960].
Special edition limited to 50 copies, signed by both Braque and Reverdy on the limitation page, with an extra suite of the seven color lithographs by Braque, all signed by the artist and numbered 29/50. Large folio. With 164 pages of text by Reverdy in lithographic manuscript facsimile.
The deluxe edition of loose sheets laid between lithographed brown wrappers, as issued. Printed by Mourlot Frères on Montval, with the suite of signed lithographs on japon nacré. All laid into a printed cloth chemise and housed in a cloth slipcase, with an overall measurement of approximately 16 x 23 inches. As is usual, there is offsetting throughout, mostly to pages facing the lithographs within the text; there is also occasional bleedthrough. Some foxing to text pages, with moderately heavy foxing to each page of two folded sheets. The seven color lithographs - in both states - are in excellent condition. The signed lithographs -- which measure 22.25 x 15 inches -- have a small bump to lower left corner; two of them have a light area of finger-soiling to top edge. Overall, a near fine copy of the scarce deluxe edition, limited to only 50 copies.
La Liberté des Mers, was the third collaboration between Pierre Reverdy (1889-1960), the French poet with strong ties to the Surrealist and Cubist movements (and whom André Breton hailed in the first Surrealist Manifesto as "the greatest poet of the time"), and his friend, the great Cubist painter Georges Braque (1892-1963). This typically impressive work from the Atelier Mourlot combines Reverdy's prose-poem manuscript, reproduced in dominating, quite large facsimile, with Braque's delicately-colored, almost serene lithographs.
Braque and Reverdy first met around 1910, and their great mutual admiration and affinity fueled a fifty-year friendship. Reverdy felt that Braque was that rare painter who truly understood poetry: "The painters who count today all claim kinship with poetry and maintain that they are sensitive to poetry alone. Their appetite for collaboration with poets is enormous. [...] What Braque has is poetry!" In acknowledging his friend's influence on the Cubist painters, Braque said of Reverdy (who once admitted "I believe I should have been a painter"): "He talked about painting, just as we did ... [a]nd he led us to discover our secrets."
This final collaboration between these two modernist giants appeared in May, 1960, one month before Pierre Reverdy died at the age of 70.
John Golding. Braque, The Late Works.
The suite of signed and numbered lithographs are laid into a printed paper wrapper. The wrapper and the signed lithographs all have a minor bump/shallow fold to the lower left corner. Two of them (one containing the pair of monochrome figures and the other the three ovals) have small areas of finger-soiling to the top edge. Otherwise, the lithographs are in excellent condition.
The dark brown Braque "overlay" wrapper with Braque design: back joint rubbed; back cover bumped at lower spine-edge and slightly splitting upward about one inch; some rubbing to art on the front.
Box: some minor overall soiling (hard to discern as it blends in with cloth); minor fraying at corners; a two-inch split along one of the edges; top/bottom panel is completely split along two edges; small area of puckering along the fore-edge. Chemise: spine lightly sunned; some minor rubbing along spine edge.
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