Small 4to; half-title, with the extra suite of 5 etched plates by Chagall including frontispiece; insignificant stain to the lower edge of the text block, but a fine copy, unopened and uncut in the original publisher’s blue wrappers; small marginal stain on upper wrapper, extremities lightly rubbed; preserved in custom-made blue chequered portfolio boards, lettered in silver on spine, within matching slipcase.
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Maternité. Récit orné de cinq gravures hors texte de Marc Chagall.
An exceptionally fine hors commerce copy of the first book published with a series of original images by Chagall. His early, fine etchings interpreting ‘La Honte’, ‘La Naissance’, ‘La Rixe’, ‘Couple au lit’ and ‘La Visite par la fenêtre’ transform the artifact: they constitute ‘more a complement to the text than illustrations’ (Sorlier). The edition run was 960 copies, of which 765 were printed on Lafuma de Voiron paper.
Arland’s story was one of the first commissions for visual narrative received by Chagall upon his move to Paris in 1923. The narrative develops in reverse chronology, starkly beginning with the death of the illegitimate baby of a young girl and the shame and criminalisation of the young mother by the authorities and by a shouting mob, trailing backwards through the lonely and squalid scene of the birth up to the first night which the girl had spent together with her lover. This complete copy has survived, intact and beautiful, decades in which Chagall’s enormously popular etchings were taken out of sets and sold individually. Sorlier p.12.
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