This illustration by José Roy is a frontispiece created for a rare edition of Les Chants de Maldoror published by Genonceaux in 1890. Roy (1860–1924) was a French artist whose work receives little attention today but his Maldoror illustration happens to be the first of its kind, and a picture that serves the text better than some of those being produced a few years later. The detail of a flayed man stepping out of his skin prefigures Clive Barker by almost a century, a further example of the ways in which Lautréamont’s baleful masterpiece was ahead of his time.
Netherlands, 1917. Cover art by WF Gouwe.
Previous posts here have concerned illustrated editions of Maldoror but this one is all about the covers. Literary classics aren’t always very rewarding in this respect but Maldoror’s textual and imaginative wildness has prompted an assortment of illustrative choices that range from the appropriate to the bewilderingly arbitrary. The following covers are a selection of the more notable examples, avoiding those without pictures or ones that use photographs of the book’s enigmatic author, Isidore Ducasse.
Italy, 1944. Cover art by Mario De Luigi.
France, 1947. Cover and interior illustrations by Jacques Houplain.
Salvador Dalí was the first well-known artist to illustrate Maldoror but his 1934 edition was published with plain black boards. Houplain’s illustrations follow the text more closely than do those by Dalí, Magritte or Bellmer, all of whom remain preoccupied with their own obsessions.
Belgium, 1948. Cover and interior illustrations by René Magritte.
France, 1963. Cover art by Paul Jamotte.
Continue reading “Covering Maldoror”
Seen briefly in yesterday’s film about René Magritte were some of the artist’s 77 illustrations created for a 1948 edition of Lautréamont’s Les Chants de Maldoror published by Éditions “La Boetie”, Brussels. The examples here are from various auction sites, and they can’t be counted among Magritte’s best work which probably explains why they’re not reproduced very often. Salvador Dalí’s set of engravings for a 1934 edition were appended last year to a new English translation by RJ Dent for Solar Books. And from French publisher La Baconniere there’s this recent edition with a set of fresh illustrations by TagliaMani (also here).
Continue reading “Magritte’s Maldoror”
Black Cat on a Chair (1850–1860) by Andrew L Von Wittkamp.
• “A little bit of acid, lots of weed, and too much Castaneda and I was ready to move from the magical realm of Middle Earth into a world that was much stranger than any involving hairy dwarves and white wizards…” Too Much to Dream by Peter Bebergal, “a psychedelic American boyhood”.
This year’s Booker prize isn’t about the power of the new – there’s no experiment with form or strangeness of imagination. The winner may get on the bedside tables of middle England, but that’s not as important as changing the way that even one person dreams.
Jeanette Winterson throws the cat among the pigeons.
• 50 Watts continues to show us things you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere: illustrations by TagliaMani from a new edition of Les Chants de Maldoror, and War Is a Verb, collages by Allan Kausch.
• Don’t go in the swimming pool! Coilhouse directs us to Fantasy: music by French outfit DyE with a weird and nasty animation by Jérémie Périn.
• Ace album cover designer and photographic Surrealist Storm Thorgerson is having another exhibition at IG Gallery, London.
• The Art of Leo and Diane Dillon, an art and illustration archive.
• John Turturro reads a short story by Italo Calvino.
• Spaceport America by Foster + Partners.
• Your Body of Work by Olafur Eliasson.
• Wonder-Cat cures all ailments.
• Blogging Moby-Dick.
• Krazy Kat (1927) by Frankie Trumbauer & His Orchestra with Bix and Lang | Pussy Cat Dues (1959) by Charles Mingus | Katzenmusik 5 (1979) by Michael Rother | Big Electric Cat (1982) by Adrian Belew | Purrfect (1996) by Funki Porcini.