Louis BRODER's album A : A legendary portfolio
Album A is an album taken from the tribute book to Paul Eluard "a poem in each book" published in 1956 under the direction of the publisher Louis BRODER. The book is composed of 12 poems that Eluard himself chose without any apparent theme that unites them. The Poet then asked 15 painter friends to illustrate them, making it a precious work to the glory of poetry and friendship. The book was printed in 120 copies and includes 16 prints unsigned by the artists.
After the printing of the book, Louis Broder decides to publish an offprint in 20 copies which he calls Album A and gathering only the prints from the book but with some significant differences (photo 1).
1. Difference between album A and the book
Indeed, the album A purchased by the gallery and which comes from the prestigious collection of Genevieve and Jean Paul Kahn, contains the 16 prints appearing in the book but reproduced with large margins (i.e. in larger format than those of the book). They are also all signed or monogrammed by the masters of modern art (examples of prints belonging to Album A, photos 4 & 5) : Jean Arp, André Beaudin, Georges Braque, Marc Chagall, Oscar Dominguez, Max Ernst, Alberto Giacometti, Valentine Hugo, Henri Laurens, Fernand Léger, André Masson, Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso, Yves Tanguy and Jacques Villon.
The album A produced by Louis Broder in 20 copies, can be qualified as a Portfolio in the sense that it includes not only the basic suite of 16 prints but also different prints printed at crucial moments in the creative process of the artists. This porfolio has a folded cover (photo 8), it is contained in a publisher's box in gray canvas with a label stuck on the back and the first cover (photo 1). It includes proof of print guaranteeing the number of copies and the list of artists who contributed to this Album (photo 9). Ours is annotated in red pencil "Editor's copy B" because it belonged to Louis Broder himself (photo 9).
Some Albums, and in particular ours which is Album A which Louis Broder had reserved for himself (later purchased by Genevieve and Jean-Paul Kahn from the latter), have therefore been enriched in addition to the 16 prints by proofs of essay, state proofs, artists' proofs and certain proofs. It should be noted that these proofs are very rare (examples of prints, photos 9 to 12), some having been printed in a single copy.
The book and the prints were exhibited at the house of French thought, 2 rue de l'Elysée in Paris 8 from October 26 to November 11, 1956 (photo 13).
Of Swiss origin, Louis Broder was an enigmatic and controversial figure in the world of publishing from the 1950s to the 1970s. He was undoubtedly the publisher who best knew how to exploit the new medium represented by the "painter's book". Its recipe for success: modern typography and texts by renowned authors illustrated by the greatest painters. There are around ten books published by him, including works by Antonin Artaud, René Char, Robert Desnos and René Crevel, most of which are divided into two collections, "Writings and engravings", and "Mirror of the poet". In addition, the gallery has a copy edited by Louis Broder of the book "Tir à l'arc", highlighted by Georges Braque published in 165 copies in 1960. We also have on the same principle as album A, album B taken apart from the book "feuilles éparses" by René Crevel and illustrated by Jean Arp, Stanley W. Hayter, Valentine Hugo, Alberto Giacometti, Wols, Max Ernst, Joan Miro, André Masson , Man Ray, Oscar Dominguez, Wilfredo Lam, Camille Bryen and Hans Bellmer.
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