np [Czechoslovakia?]: (ca. 1923). Hardcover. Oblong folio; 12" x 16.5" approx. String-tied quarter-leather commercial album with 40 full-color, hand-illuminated (most likely gouache) pages on 20 thick paper leaves, each interleaved with spider-web design tissue. Featuring 123 mounted original postcards and photographs (most approx. 3.5" x 5.5"), each numbered and keyed to a calligraphic index of captions on verso of collaged and painted title page. Touches of wear to pages and tissue, a few bumps to boards. Else generally fine; housed in custom archival linen clamshell box. Fine. Item #13859
Though ostensibly a travel album documenting an extensive tour through the Vysoke Tatry mountain range, much more a singularly striking work of folk art featuring extensive hand-painted illuminated backgrounds and borders. The artist, here unnamed but presumably identified by the monogrammed and dated painting that ends this album, has filled each page and framed each image with elaborately marbled and intricately detailed elements. These expert illuminations, which seem influenced to some extent by Art Nouveau, exhibit a brilliant palette and a decidedly modern sense of de- sign. A whirlwind of effects - from geological patterns that evoke the mountainous terrain of the journey, to pointillist enameling reminiscent of matryoshkas, and abstract geometrics that call to mind the burgeoning avant garde - all carefully arranged to accentuate colors, subjects, and other details in the mounted photos and postcards. Quite simply one of the most impressive and beautiful vernacular books we've handled. Virtuosic.