Skyline Books

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Folding invitation/ticket order form for the 1917 bohemian Bal Primitif featuring a cover illustration by Clara Tice.

TICE, Clara. Narrow 4to. Single sheet folded to make four pages. Gold leaf-covered paper covers features an illustration by Tice of a naked Eve holding a fig leaf, with the words "Bal Primitif Oct. 12" on the fig leaf. Inside is printed the info for the event that took place at Webster Hall in Greenwich Village, as well as a form to be used for ordering tickets. Due to her avant-garde art, provocative public appearances, and skills as a scene-maker, Tice was seen as the epitome of the early Village bohemians, and when she was dubbed "The Queen of Greenwich Village" by a prominent magazine editor the moniker stuck. She was friends with Duchamp, and became a regular at the salons of Dada patrons Walter and Louise Arensberg. She regularly exhibited her works, designed announcements for Village events like this, and her drawings were reproduced in Vanity Fair, Rogue, and The Blind Man, among others. In 1910 she financed the Independent Artist exhibition in which she also exhibited. The show, with it's radical jury-free and no-awards concept was quite revolutionary at the time. In 1915 Tice achieved a new level of notoriety when Anthony Comstock, founder of the Society for the Suppression of Vice, tried to confiscate Tice's art at the well known bohemian restaurant Polly's. During this period Webster Hall was the epicenter of bohemian activity in the Village, and promoters Bob Edwards and and Bob Brown held several outrageous costume parties at this venue in the spirit of the Dada bacchanals being held simultaneously in Europe, including toga-wearing, scantily-clad, highly intoxicated revelers who often ended up shedding their costumes and partied in the buff until dawn---one of the invitations for this event even admonished partygoers to "leave their syringes at the door," a shockingly unambiguous hard-drug-related remark for a 1917 party invite. A terrific item with a charming nude drawing (the motif for which she was most well known), and an impossibly rare document from the peak of the NYC Dada movement---and the bohemians---the first American counterculture group, centered in Greenwich Village, who preceded by many years the hipsters, hepsters, beatniks, beats, hippies, and punks of later years. Old horizontal crease, some rubbing/fading to gold leaf covers, but a remarkably nice copy of a rare and ephemeral item.