The Fall of the House of Usher. Edgar Allen Poe, Raphael Soyer, Alice Neel, Appreciation of the Artist, Artist.
The Fall of the House of Usher
The Fall of the House of Usher
The Fall of the House of Usher
The Fall of the House of Usher
The Fall of the House of Usher

The Fall of the House of Usher

New York: The Limited Editions Club, 1985. Neel, Alice. Limited Edition. Hardcover. No. 351 of 1500 copies, folio size, 33 pp., signed by both Alice Neel and Raphael Soyer, with LEC Monthly Newsletter, in the clamshell box. Near Fine. Item #171031019

This lovely edition of Edgar Allan Poe's (1809-1849) narrative short story "The Fall of the House of Usher" is hauntingly illustrated by Alice Neel (1900-1984), whose expressionist style of portrait painting complements the darkness and isolation of Poe's text. Included also is an essay on Alice Neel and her work by Russian-born American painter Raphael Soyer (1899-1987), most often associated with the Social Realist movement; Soyer examines Neel's sense of portraiture, calling her work "[a] veritable inferno", her dynamic creations at once an honest reflection of their subjects and the turmoil and intensity of the artist herself.

So many touches make this, as with many of the LEC books, a special work, beginning with the illustrations which were carefully selected by Neel after it became apparent she would not be able to complete a new suite of artwork for the book (as she was suffering from cancer) and therefore some prior artwork was chosen. In order to reproduce just the initial lithographed illustration required the use of eighteen separate plates and colours, with several of the plates being used more than once, so that each piece received a total of twenty-five printings. The marbled paper covering the boards was made by hand using five colours marbled in a Turkish Stone Pattern. In addition, not only the spine but the fore-edges of the book are covered with Nigerian goat-skin.

This copy differs from several currently offered online in two respects. First, it is one of the earlier books which were issued in a clamshell box (higher numbers in the edition would be housed in a slipcase). Second, it is one of the few with Neel's signature on the colophon, as well as Raphael Soyer's.

___DESCRIPTION: Quarter burgundy leather with gilt lettering on the spine, leather fore-edges, marbled paper over boards, fore-edge of the text block uncut, title page in red and black, two full-colour lithographs, line drawings in black, and one black-and-white etching by Alice Neel; monotype Dante, Cartiere Enrico Magnani mouldmade paper, folio size (15.5" by 11.5"), pagination: [1-6] 7-32 [1 colophon], no. 351 of 1500 copies, signed by both Alice Neel and Raphael Soyer on the colophon. Loosely laid in is the prospectus, one sheet folded to four pages, book's title in red, measuring 13" by 9 3/8". Housed in a clamshell box covered with black cloth, red morocco label with gilt lettering and a gilt ruled border, the bottom of the interior lined with red velvet and the top with grey laid paper.

___CONDITION: Volume near fine, with clean boards, straight corners without rubbing, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean and bright, and entirely free of prior owner markings; a very small area at the lower front corner of the marbled paper lightly rubbed, and the front board very slightly bowed (as often happens with large, slim volumes). Monthly newsletter near fine with the original mailing fold, a very shallow unintended crease along the fore-edge margin, and a few areas of light dustiness. The clamshell box very good, strong and sturdy, clean overall with a few spots of soiling, with a closed slit to the cloth on the front (approx. 4" long) and some wear to the edges of the box where the cloth has worn away. A near fine book with a slightly worn, but still sturdy box.

___CITATION: LEC no. 542.

___POSTAGE:  Please note that this is an unusually large book and additional postage may apply as the standard does not always cover costs; please inquire for details.

___Swan's Fine Books is pleased to be a member of the ABAA, ILAB, and IOBA and we stand behind every book we sell. Please contact us with any questions you may have, we are here to help.

Price: $350.00