Evolution and Innovation 1870-1920

The Modern Artist’s Book has its origins in France in the wake of the Franco-Prussian War. Artists like Manet rejected the mass-produced and often poorly printed books of the era in which a predominance of text was occasionally relieved by different illustrations. Instead, in volumes like Manet’s Le Fleuve (1874), the book was carefully designed to combine text and images in a sympathetic and unified whole. This revolution in book design spread throughout Europe and to America, reflecting the particular aesthetic sensibilities of each nation. The twenty-six books in this gallery display the rapid evolution of artists’ book design during the period and the innovative use of graphic techniques, typography, binding and scale.

Ein Moderner Todtentanz

Portfolio of 13 photogravure etchings (10 with color) on cream paper. Loose within an off-white morocco portfolio, tan morocco leather trim, with inset image and title label on cover, lined with decorative paper, cloth ties, ex libris pasted in front cover.

Der Wurmstich

“Der Wurmstich - Piqûre de ver”, plate 1, in the book Ein Moderner Todtentanz (Berlin: J. A. Stargardt, 1894)

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The Innovation Gallery

Self portrait of Edouard Manet, from WikiMedia

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