Item #3779 [FINE DESIGNER BINDING]. Une Semaine de Bonté ou les sept éléments capitaux. Max Ernst.
[FINE DESIGNER BINDING]. Une Semaine de Bonté ou les sept éléments capitaux
[FINE DESIGNER BINDING]. Une Semaine de Bonté ou les sept éléments capitaux
[FINE DESIGNER BINDING]. Une Semaine de Bonté ou les sept éléments capitaux
[FINE DESIGNER BINDING]. Une Semaine de Bonté ou les sept éléments capitaux
[FINE DESIGNER BINDING]. Une Semaine de Bonté ou les sept éléments capitaux
[FINE DESIGNER BINDING]. Une Semaine de Bonté ou les sept éléments capitaux
[FINE DESIGNER BINDING]. Une Semaine de Bonté ou les sept éléments capitaux
[FINE DESIGNER BINDING]. Une Semaine de Bonté ou les sept éléments capitaux
[FINE DESIGNER BINDING]. Une Semaine de Bonté ou les sept éléments capitaux
[FINE DESIGNER BINDING]. Une Semaine de Bonté ou les sept éléments capitaux
[FINE DESIGNER BINDING]. Une Semaine de Bonté ou les sept éléments capitaux
[FINE DESIGNER BINDING]. Une Semaine de Bonté ou les sept éléments capitaux
[FINE DESIGNER BINDING]. Une Semaine de Bonté ou les sept éléments capitaux
[FINE DESIGNER BINDING]. Une Semaine de Bonté ou les sept éléments capitaux
Max Ernst's masterpiece - superbly bound by Mercher

[FINE DESIGNER BINDING]. Une Semaine de Bonté ou les sept éléments capitaux

Paris: Jeanne Bucher, 1934. First Edition. 4to. Complete set of all 5 Cahiers. Bound in 1990 by D.-H. Mercher (stamp-signed in minute lettering inside front cover, dated 1990 inside lower cover): quarter black morocco, spine lettered direct in multi-colored sans serif fonts (purple, green, red, blue, and yellow); both covers bearing collage beneath clear Lucite revealing stylized letters DLMMJVS (on back cover these letters appear in reverse); wood-grain pastedowns and endpapers; top edges black, others untrimmed; all original wrappers bound in (including the woodcut printed on green paper that was originally issued on the outside of the publisher's slipcase. Quarter black morocco chemise of the same wood-grain boards, spine lettered identically to the volume itself, black morocco fore-edge tips. Wood grain slipcase edged in black morocco. Fine. Item #3779

FIRST EDITION OF ONE OF THE GREAT ARTIST'S BOOKS, WITH 182 FANTASTICAL COLLAGES THAT HAVE BEEN FREQUENTLY REPRODUCED - ALWAYS UNSATISFACTORILY. Our copy of the first edition is preserved in faultless condition: it is copy 502 of 800 on Navarre from a total edition of 812, presented in an exceptional designer binding by D.-H. Mercher.

Ernst's "Une Semaine de Bonte" is a landmark of the Surrealist movement. The images were created from Victorian encyclopedias, illustrated pulp novels, scientific and technical publications, mail-order catalogues, natural history catalogues, and more (including wood-engravings by Gustave Dore and Max Klinger). This "novel-without-words" was created by Ernst 1933 in just three weeks (he was on vacation in Italy), grafted from the contents of one of his suitcases. The result are wonderously strange and foreboding, with recurring themes of sex, violence, anti-religion, jealousy, murder, necromancy and death. Ernst's collages demonstrate the Surrealists' attempt to be "more modern than modern," which is here achieve by exploiting decidedly antiquarian imagery utilizing the heliogravure method of reproduction.

"Using an ingenious cut-and-paste technique, Max Ernst combined the selected motifs to create allusive and seductive visual worlds. This involved rotating some of the original images by ninety degrees, placing others in a state of suspension or making them rotate on their own axis. Through this process of defamiliarisation he created provocatively enigmatic visual scenarios." (Hamburger-Kunsthall Exhibition of the original colleagues 2009).

Beginning in 1929, Ernst produced three collage-novels, beginning with "La femme 100 tetes." The present work is the last in the series and is considered his masterpiece. "Une Semaine de Bonte" (i.e. "A Week of Kindness, or the Seven Deadly Elements") is divided into seven sections, named the days of the week, but the book was actually was published in five cahiers. The reason for this discrepency is as follows: "The first four publication deliveries did not achieve the success that had been anticipated. The three remaining 'days' were therefore put together into a fifth and final book." (Musée d'Orsay 2009 exhibition notes, translated).

The bold and extremely precise binding was ingeniously executed by Daniel-Henri Mercher (b. 1944), who trained with his father Henri (1912-1976) and holds a singular place among modern French designer binders. For our binding, Daniel-Henri drew upon Ernst's color scheme for the five original wrappers of "Une Semaine de Bonte," namely: purple, green, red, blue, and yellow. Mercher then utilized a reproduction of one of Ernst's own collages, over which he affixed a sheet of effervenscent silver and gray, cut out in the forms of stylized letters "DLMMJVS," an acronym designating the first letters of each day in the week (in French, beginning with Lundi and ending with Samedi). Mercher is known to have bound a copy of Ernst's "La femme de 100 tetes" in 1991 (now with Messrs Shapiro, London), likewise utilizing lucite.

Selected references: Robert Rainwater (ed.), Max Ernst, Beyond Surrealism, 1986 (nos. 33 and 33a), and also E.M. Maurer, "Images of Dreams and Desire: The Prints and Collage Novels of Max Ernst" (pp. 78-91). For Mercier pere et fils, see Flety p. 126.

Price: $12,000.00