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La Prose du TranssibÈrien et de la Petite Jehanne de France

La Prose du TranssibÈrien et de la Petite Jehanne de France, Couleurs simultanÈes de Mme. Delaunay-Terk [caption title]

CENDRARS, BLAISE AND SONIA DELAUNEY 78.25 x 14.25 inches, folded accordion style once vertically and 21 times horizontally to create a 7.25 x 3.625 inch "book" that is enclosed in painted vellum wrappers, with a separate essay by Kitty Marryat, proprietor of the Two Hands press, on the history of La Prose du TranssibÈrien. A seminal avant-garde artist book of the 20th century. Of the 11 copies of the original edition that have sold at auction in this century, the average price realized has been about $200,000. This is the first true facsimile, using similar methods and materials as the first edition of 1913. ? La Prose du TranssibÈrien was written, designed and printed by letterpress and illustrated by pochoir in an edition that was stated to be 150 copies (in three subsets, in the French manner). The actual number completed has long been in dispute, as has the number of surviving copies. A census by Kitty Marryat of the Two Hands Press located 40 copies; a French scholar claims to have recorded 73 copies, but will not produce his list for examination. The poem by Blaise Cendrars (1887-1961), Swiss-born modernist poet and novelist, is a free verse, free wheeling look at the poet's life and the events of the Russian Revolution as contemplated during a journey on the Trans-Siberian railway, followed by a short poem about Paris. The letterpress text is printed in over 38 typefaces in four colors, printed in 22 panels on a narrow, long sheet. Cendrars's collaborator, the artist Sonia Delaunay-Terk (1885-1979), interwove the text with colorful abstract pochoir, that when folded made a relatively small accordion book, but when fully opened was 78.25 x 14.25 inches. Cendrars and Delaunay-Terk called it the "first simultaneous book." It created a sensation among those who saw it when it was first displayed, particularly among those who were involved in the avant-garde artistic movement. First Two Hands Press edition, a facsimile - or "recreation" as the press prefers to describe it - of the first edition of 1913, letter "J" of 30 lettered copies hors de commerce; there are also 150 numbered copies, for a total edition of 180 copies.
Eight original art works for different versions of a theater poster advertising Oscar Serlin's production of the Broadway debut of John Steinbeck's play The Moon is Down

Eight original art works for different versions of a theater poster advertising Oscar Serlin’s production of the Broadway debut of John Steinbeck’s play The Moon is Down, New York, 1942. Together with one version of a printed poster

STEINBECK, JOHN) Eight original gouache on paper art works, with text and illustration, for different trial versions of a theater poster for Oscar Serlin's production of the Broadway debut of John Steinbeck's play The Moon is Down, New York, 1942. Together with one version of a printed poster. Nine variations, all demonstrably different and by several different artists, only one of whom is identified: Witold Gordon, who was known for his New Yorker magazine covers. His signature is on two of the versions. Sizes vary from approximately 13 x 9 to 28 x 20 inches; all are mounted on pasteboard or cardboard. The Moon is Down was John Steinbeck's second attempt at converting one of his novels into a play (Of Mice and Men was the first). It was originally written while Steinbeck was on assignment from the Foreign Information Service, a division of the Office of Strategic Services that was charged with combating Nazi propaganda. The first draft of the story, depicting a small American town invaded by German troops, was rejected by the FIS, who feared that it might demoralize the American public. In the second draft, Steinbeck kept the basic plot but changed the setting to a fictitious Scandinavian town. Despite mixed critical reception, the The Moon is Down was a popular success and a bestseller. Shortly after its publication, Broadway producer Oscar Serlin, who thought the story would attract a large audience if made into a play, purchased the dramatic rights. In April 1942, The Moon is Down premiered on Broadway, with Otto Kruger as Colonel Lanser and Ralph Morgan as Mayor Orden. Its initial run lasted nine weeks, and the play was well received on the road and abroad, especially in London and Stockholm. The Moon is Down was nominated for Best Play by the New York Drama Critics' Circle and placed second. Provenance: The collection of producer Oscar Serlin. Overall condition is very good. An itemized and illustrated description is available on our website.