1951 · Paris
Folio 17 1/2" x 12". Three vols, each in folder of hand-made Chinese mulberry-bark paper: 1) Text: loosein signatures as issued, 103pp, with table of contents, printed on Japon nacré. Thirty woodcuts printed inred, or brown or charcoal or black. Chapter initials printed in red; 2) Three original drawings includingthat of a cochon (pig), each signed & mounted along with 6 prints of the cochon showing partial imagesto expose the printing of different surfaces of the woodblock (decomposition); 3) thirty loose woodcuts inthe first state, printed in one color. Black moire silk folding case.
Woodcut in 1 State stOriginal drawing 2The text consists of excerpts of l’Histoire Naturelle of Georges-Louis Leclerc,comte de Buffon,from the 1839 Furne edition. Typography in Garamont 36 point type specially created by Fequetet Faudier. The illustrations consist of thirty prints engraved by Germaine de Coster using cherrywood “cerisier (bois de fil).
The first section of this work was composed during the war and was presented in 1944 atl’Exposition des Artistes du Livre in December of that year.
Germaine De Coster [1885-1992] French artist and bookbinder is a great 20 Century figure of the thebook arts. She first exercised her talents as an engraver and illustrator and designer of books. Asa design student at L'École nationale des arts décoratifs, from 1911 to 1914, she studied underJules Chadel and Yoshyiro Urushibara. Under their tutelage she learned design techniques usedin China and Japan, which were little practiced in Europe at this time. She was an early illustratorof the livre d’artiste, continuing in the genre for 25 years. Later, she grew interested in finebookbinding. In 1936 she joined the la Société des Artistes where she met Paul Bonet whoincluded her in his salons. Her bookbindings, many done with colleague Hélčne Dumas arerecognized internationally, and her earlier engravings on paper deserve to be. She was madeChevalier de la Légion d'honneur in 1946.
For more about Germain de Coster see: Cogniat, Raymond. Portrait de Germaine De Coster,Paris, 1960.http://www.universalis.fr/encyclopedie/germaine-de-coster/http://www.docantic.com/fr/article.php3?id_article=32 (Inventory #: 1287)