DEPERO, Fortunato. 96 Tavole a Colori per 'I Dopolavoro Aziendali in Italia'. [97 leaves]. Leaf with calligraphic title (repeat of the front board of the binding) in pink, copy number and signature verso, leaf with explanatory text recto and 95 colour plates, each with guard leaf, recto only. Small folio, 296 x 274 mm, bound in original publisher's coarse weave cloth, burgundy title to front cover reproducing Depero's manuscript preserved in a new blue cloth folding box. Rovereto: Tipografia R. Manfrini, 1938.
A fine copy of a splendid and virtually unknown work. Fortunato Depero (1892 - 1960) was commissioned to produce a series of illustrations for I Dopolavoro Aziendali in Italia, a five-volume set published in five languages, on the occasion of the 1938 Third International World Congress of Leisure Time and Recreation (IIIº Congresso Mondiale del Dopolavoro), which convened first in Hamburg before moving to Rome. Depero produced 100 images for the book, each representing a different Italian region and bearing a motto by Mussolini.
Depero's Tavole open with a pictorial dedication to the patron of the work, Il Duce, Benito Mussolini, with the repeated slogan DUCE/ DUCE / DUCE / DUCE above and a repeated black eagle beneath; various symbols of a modern Fascist Italy are also included but an overt reference to previous Italian glory, in the form of the Roman senatus populusque romanus is also included at right in its S P Q R form. The iconography is often simplistic, making frequent allusions to Italy's history and Roman heritage, is more frequently Futurist, but remains distinctly Fascist throughout, especially when combined with Mussolini's slogans, a testament to art's frequent subservience to power.
Despite the title, the work - as always - features 95 plates not including the colour title after Depero's manuscript; each plate is signed within the image by Depero. The publication details are to the rear pastedown. The 96 Tavole a Colori per 'I Dopolavoro Aziendali in Italia' is rare and we can trace only one copy outside Italy, that at the Zentralbibliothek, Zürich.
From the edition limited to 200 copies, signed and numbered by Depero in black ink to the verso of the title.
Item nr. 167349