Various [see below]: Various [see below], . 12 books, various sizes. Generally very good condition overall. Included are: 1) Bangs (John Kendrick). THE PURSUIT OF THE HOUSE-BOAT. London & New York: Harper and Brothers, 1913. First English edition, thirteenth impression. 2) Lindsay (Vachel). THE CONGO AND OTHER POEMS. Introduction by Harriet Monroe. NY: Macmillan, (September) 1922. First edition. 3) Gallico (Paul). LOU GEHRIG / Pride of the Yankees. With an Introduction by Bill Dickey. NY: Grosset & Dunlap (1942). 4) MENSCHEN DER ZEIT / Hundert und Ein Lichtbildnis…[= title]. Taunus & Leipzig: Karl Robert Langewiesche (nd) . 5) Robinson (Commander Chas. N., RN) - editor. CHINA OF TO-DAY / The Yellow Peril. An Album of Pictures & Photographs Illustrating the Principal Places, Incidents and Persons Connected with the Crisis in China. London: Navy & Army Illustrated (nd) . 6) Wu Lien-Teh with J. W. H. Chun, R. Politzer and C. Y. Wu. PLAGUE / A Manual for Medical and Public Health Workers. Shanghai Station / Weishengshu / National Quarantine Service (1936). 7) Bell (Ernest A.) FIGHTING THE TRAFFIC IN YOUNG GIRLS or War on the White Slave Trade. With an Astounding Report of Chicago’s Vice Commission. [Chicago:] L. H. Walter (1911). 8) DIE DONAU / Ihre Wirtschaftliche Und Kulturelle Mission In Mittel – und Osteuropa. Wien: Wirtschaftszeitungs-Verlags-Gesellschaft, Oktober, 1932. 9) Hartshorne (Albert) HANGING IN CHAINS. London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1891. First edition. 10) Owen (James) THE BRONXVILLE PORTFOLIO / a Collection of Pictorial Photographs. Bronxville: The Bronxville Review (nd). 11) Wittmann (Konrad F.) INDUSTRIAL CAMOUFLAGE MANUAL Prepared for the Industrial Camouflage Program at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York. NY: Reinhold, 1942. 12) Lewis (Wyndham). THE CALIPH'S DESIGN / Architects! Where is your Vortex? London: The Egoist Ltd, 1919. PROVENANCE: The estate of R.B. Kitaj, via Peter Howard, Serendipity Books, with all bearing his price coding ("LEM") and most additionally annotated "In Our Time." Item #14527
Inspired by Walter Benjamin's classic 1931 essay "Unpacking My Library," acclaimed British artist Kitaj set out in 1969 (Benjamin's essay had been published in English for the first time just the year before) to photograph a selection of book covers from his library for a portfolio of color screen-prints entitled IN OUR TIME: Covers For A Small Library After the Life for the Most Part. The completed portfolio contained 50 covers and was issued in 1969 in a signed edition of 150 copies by Marlborough AG Schellenberg. Here offered are 12 of the actual books from Kitaj's library used in creating this work. The books offer a fascinating opportunity to investigate questions of representation and materiality, and embody something of the physical life they have endured over the 40+ years since they were last documented. Furthermore, at least several provide a glimpse at Kitaj's working methods for this series. One title (PLAGUE) shows evidence of having been touched up in the print. In another (MENSCHEN DER ZEIT), the artist completely altered the cover photograph, substituting an image of German actor Paul Wegener later in the same book for the original cover image. The page with Wegener has also been flagged with a scrap bookmark and a penned line appears on that page. Books were an enormous influence on Kitaj's art. His library in many ways was his studio ("For me, books are what trees are for the landscape painter") and in IN OUR TIME "Kitaj transcends the idea of the physicality of the book. By enlarging the covers he gives the chosen volumes a monumental presence, reinforcing the subjects within the covers with a new and powerful resonance" (Ramkalawon, KITAJ PRINTS: A Catalogue Raisonné). As The Independent (London) said in their 2007 obituary: "[Kitaj's] love of books connects inextricably with his sense of the importance of the transmission of knowledge and thought, through time, and with his awareness of the fragility of such transmission in any era of persecution." As far as we are aware, any remaining original books used by Kitaj for this series have either been anonymously dispersed or perished. These books were featured in the 2015 exhibition "R.B. Kitaj: Unpacking My Library," held at the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam. A brochure from the show, reproducing several of these books, is provided.