Illustrating Poe #4: Wilfried Sätty

satty_poe01

Here it is, the book that began my fascination with the collage art of Wilfried Sätty (1939–1982), a German artist and psychedelic poster designer resident in San Francisco during the 1960s and 1970s. Warner Books published his Poe collection in 1976 and for some reason omit the umlaut from his name even though it’s present in Thomas Albright’s introductory note. I bought my copy in 1979 at a time when I was writing a lot of unsuccessful “experimental” fiction, and the sight of these tremendous collages inspired a surge of writing activity which disregarded Poe’s stories altogether. I’d seen enough of Max Ernst’s engraving collages to know that Sätty was following Ernst’s example but something about Sätty’s work struck me in a manner I couldn’t articulate other than by trying to set down the thoughts they inspired. Personal obsessions aside, I’ve since come to regard this book as the only illustrated Poe which can approach Harry Clarke’s inimitable volume.

satty_poe02

I’m fortunate to own two copies of this edition otherwise I wouldn’t have attempted to scan any pages when doing so involves bending the spine rather badly. The book is profusely illustrated, with many full-page or double-spread illustrations most of which I haven’t tried to reproduce. What you have here are the title pages from nearly all the pieces and a couple of additional illustrations. Sätty’s Poe is still the easiest of his books to find secondhand if you browse the dealer pages at AbeBooks. For more of his incredible work there’s this page at Ephemera Assemblyman, and for details of the artist’s life and career there’s my 2005 essay in Strange Attractor Journal Two.

• Sätty’s illustrations for The Annotated Dracula (1975) at Flickr.

satty_poe03

Continue reading “Illustrating Poe #4: Wilfried Sätty”