The Momentum of Modernism 1920-1930

The momentum of modernism, interrupted by World War I, was unleashed afterwards in the “Roaring Twenties.” Cubism and Dada were established styles by then, not outrageous affronts to aesthetic propriety. From this period onwards, artists’ books generally consisted of two forms. Accessible, inexpensively produced volumes, often of revolutionary design, with photomechanical reproductions conveyed ideas and images to the greatest number of persons. Fernand Léger’s La Fin du Monde (1919) is an extraordinary example of such a publication. Other artists’ books were more traditional works in which the tendency was to use only original prints and the finest papers and bindings to create sumptuous volumes that were referred to as livres d’artistes. The range and variety of artists’ books created in this decade are in keeping with the frenetic nature of the period.

Exposition de dessins et aquarelles par Picasso chez Paul Rosenberg

Exposition de dessins et aquarelles par Picasso chez Paul Rosenberg with preface by André Salmon (Paris: Galerie Paul Rosenberg, 1919).

Le Manuscript trouvé dans

Le Manuscript trouvé dans by André Salmon (Paris: Société Littéraire de France, 1919)


Russian language book with original illustrations.

Au Pays de Mufle

Au pays de mufle by Laurent Tailhade (Paris: Edouard-Joseph, 1920)

Gorod: Stikhi

Gorod: Stikhi (The City: Verse) by Nicolay Rubakin (Paris: unknown, 1920).

The Modernism Gallery

A portrait of Fernand Leger

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