WITH EXTRA SUITE OF THE COLOURED WOODCUTS
DERAIN, André. Les Horribles et Espovantables Faictz et Prouesses du Très Renommé Pantagruel, Roy des Dipsodes, fils du Grand Géant Gargantua [The Horrible and Terrifying Deeds and Words of the Very Renowned Pantagruel King of the Dipsodes, Son of the Great Giant Gargantua]. Text by Francois Rabelais. , 187,  pp. Illustrated with a total of 179 unsigned woodcuts printed in colour, including: 39 full-page colour woodcuts, 89 smaller colour woodcuts, 34 colour-printed initials, and 17 colour-printed decorative ornaments. Folio, 350 x 280 mm, bound loose as issued in the original wrappers with title-label on front cover, preserved in original vellum-backed chemise in cardboard slipcase. Paris: Albert Skira, 1943.
A Special Copy of Derain's major book, this being one of 35 copies with an extra suite of the coloured woodcut illustrations. Derain's Pantagruel is considered to be one the landmarks of modern book illustration. It was a remarkable publishing event, being created and produced in Paris in the middle of the Second World War.
Inspired by Medieval playing cards, Derain spent two years working on the 179 woodcuts for this book. Instead of using separate blocks for individual colours, each woodcut was printed from a single block with all colours applied à la poupée. As is also true with Matisse's Jazz, that process resulted in each pull of each woodcut being akin to a monotype, offering a unique impression of the image.
The original Pantagruel by Rabelais was published around 1532. It was so full of vulgarities, scatological humor, and irreverent behavior, that it was immediately condemned by the church and deemed obscene by the Sorbonne, guaranteeing the book's enduring popularity!
"As the initiator of Fauve painting, which stunned the world at the Salon d'Automne of 1905, Derain stood shoulder to shoulder with Henri Matisse (1869-1954)…. Derain also created designs for opera, theater, and ballet; most notably Diaghilev's Le Boutique fantasque (1919). During World War II, when the Germans invaded France, Derain's home was requisitioned and his preliminary blocks for Pantagruel were locked away for several years. Ultimately, he was allowed back into the house and somehow able to import the enormous amount of paper needed to print nearly 3000 pages for the edition of 275 copies" (Julie L. Mellby, "Graphic Arts, Exhibitions, acquisitions, and other highlights from the Graphic Arts Collection," Princeton University Library online).
The coloured illustrations were printed by Roger Lacourière, the great French craftsman best known for his work with copper plates. This copy is one of 35 special copies with an extra suite of the plates, from a total edition of 275. The colophon signed by Derain.
The Artist and the Book 81. From Manet to Hockney 111. Skira 91. Rauch 38. Garvey & Wick, The Arts of the French Book 1900-1965, 27. Logan 118.
Item nr. 154370