DUCHAMP, Marcel. Le Surréalisme en 1947. 142 pp., including 139 illustrated pages, with 44 plates. 4to, 240 x 205 mm., a copy of the catalogue bound in publisher's wrappers with a photographic reproduction of the chemise design, enclosed in the publisher's pink paper covered chemise mounted with the female foam rubber breast created by Duchamp in collaberation with Enrico Donati, further enclosed in publisher's cardboard chemise and slipcase, designed by Marcel Duchamp, chemise with the title stamped in gold on a cloth spine and photographic boards in black and grey, slipcase also illustrated in black reproducing a papier peigné inked with "Pierre à Feu" characters randomly arranged by hand on fresh ink in the workshops of the publisher Aimé Maeght. In a new cloth folding box. Paris: Maeght, 1947.
A very special copy of this celebrated Surrealist object found here in unusually fine unrestored condition, with an unrecorded additional chemise and decorated slipcase.
The 1947 Surrealist exhibition organized by Breton and Duchamp celebrated the return of the exiles after the war. The catalogue was housed in the celebrated box containing Duchamp's foam rubber mounted breast, and contains 24 original hors texte prints: 5 colour lithographs (Bauer, Ernst, Hérold, Lam, Miró), 4 etchings (Jean, Maria, Tanguy, Tanning), 1 colour etching (Bellmer), 2 wood engravings (Arp) and 12 lithographs (Brignoni, Calder, Capacci, Damme, Diego, Donati, Hare, Lamba, Matta, Sage, Tanguy, Toyen).
This copy is an exceptional survival almost never found in such superb condition. The foam rubber used for the construction of the breast was delicate and perishable; consequently, of those few that have survived, most are now in an unappealing, deteriorated state, and a large majority of the copies that appear on the market today have the replacement chemise and slipcases made by Maeght in 1989.
This copy differs in several significant ways from the more common version of the deluxe edition. Firstly, it possesses a cardboard slipcase wrapped in paper decorated with haphazardly placed letters that spell "Pierre à feu," the publishing division of the Galerie Maeght. Secondly, it includes a supplementary stand-alone cardboard chemise intended to encase and protect the pink cardboard covers on which Duchamp had collaged the foam-rubber breast and paper label. The exterior recto and verso of the stand-alone chemise is wrapped in the same randomly lettered paper as the slipcase. Along its spine, the title LE SURRÉALISME EN 1947 is embossed in gold ink on a black ground. A second paper label, also reading PRIÈRE DE TOUCHER, is glued to the inside front cover of this chemise. Due to the handmade nature of paper covering the slipcase and chemise, each one is unique. Thirdly, the spine of the pink stand-alone covers is blank, thus avoiding any visual interference between Prière de toucher and Duchamp's paper label. Finally, the pink paper employed to wrap the stand-alone covers is subtly mottled in imitation of the blemishes and irregularities visible on the skin of a white person. The paper selected for the stand-alone covers of the more common variant of the deluxe edition described above is uniformly pink.
This version was made for a planned grand-deluxe édition de tête, the copies of which were to be numbered I-XLIX and signed by Breton and Duchamp, as indicated in the catalogue. After the production of this edition was abandoned, surviving copies of the slipcase and matching chemise were used to house some of the copies of the deluxe edition, but copies are virtually unknown and it is not mentioned in Schwarz.
This copy is number 34 of 999 copies. It is accompanied by a satirical rebuff of the exhibition by Noël Arnaud and Christian Dotremont entitled Le Surréalisme en 947. Branded a 'patalogue', a reference to the work of Alfred Jarry, it sets the fictionalized exhibition in the dark ages, a pointed critique of Andre Breton's project.
Schwarz, The Complete Works of Marcel Duchamp, 523, for the regular issue. From Manet to Hockney 115. Castleman, A Century of Artist's Books 232.
Item nr. 169707