Paris: [Imprimerie CD for] Librairie Auguste Blaizot et al Société des Amis de la Reliure Originale, 1981. First Edition. Oblong folio. Unbound in sheets as issued, printed on Papier Romana pale green. Illustrated with 33 photographs (sic) of which 14 are in color and19 in b/w, all by Studio Chevojon and Alain Lefèvre. Introduction by Jacques Guignard (1912-1980), esteemed Conservateur en chef de la Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal. Original salmon-colored wrappers designed by De Coster and printed in relief by Jacques Frelaut on thick paper with deckled edges (spine sunned), original plexiglass etui slipcase. Near Fine. Item #3243
EDITION STRICTLY LIMITED TO 100 COPIES, SIGNED BY BOTH ARTISTS. Working together for more than 50 years, Germaine de Coster and Helene Dumas jointly created an oeuvre which has few parallels in the history of modern bookbinding. This is the catalogue raisonne of the De Coster-Dumas partnership from the beginning up to 1980: described herein are 270 artistic bindings, their contents, their exhibition histories, and their former and current owners. It is not only a beautiful book object: it is a work of permanent reference that has yet to be surpassed.
Germaine de Coster (1895-1992) studied at L'Ecole Nationale des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. She worked with Jules Chadel, assisting him with his engravings, and also designed jewelry, costumes and theatre sets. In 1931 she met Hélène Dumas (1896-1995) and in 1935 they entered into partnership, with De Coster as the designer and Dumas as the binder. They had a workshop at 11 Avenue du Maine in Paris and in 1951 they won le grand prix de la Reliure Originale. Their collaboration was one of the most creative in the history of bookbinding, as demonstrated by the 270 bindings featured in this catalogue." (SOURCE: British Library Database of Bookbindings, describing the B.H. Breslauer copy).
De Coster was (in the words of B.H. Breslauer) "a most versatile artist whose activities have spanned decoration, book illustration, engraving, calligraphy, and of course bookbinding." Dumas began training as a fine binder in 1927 and her work must be seen to be fully appreciated: it is described by Flety as exhibiting such decorative perfection and technique as to bring honor to contemporary French bookbinding" (pp. 48 and 64, and color illustration at end).