Paris: L'Edition d'Art H. Piazza, . Szyk, Arthur. First and Limited Edition. Hardcover. First edition with Arthur Szyk illustrations, no. 260 of 775, octavo size, 1134 pp., in French and Hebrew. Near fine. Item #18100502
Polish-Jewish artist Arthur Szyk (1894-1951) was known for his book illustrations and political caricatures; he was incredibly outspoken on political issues, particularly against the Axis powers during World War II, and his art often projected his own social consciousness in a way that was and still is popular and accessible to a large audience. "Le Livre d'Esther" [The Book of Esther] is his first major work of book illustration, and his lithographs are filled with detail and colours that warrant repeated examination; he uses motifs and patterns found in Middle Eastern art to create opulant spaces for the characters to inhabit. Szyk creates an expanse of decoration where one object moves into another in this expert rendition of a significant biblical writing.
Published in 1925, this gorgeous volume is the first edition of "Le Livre d'Esther" to feature illustrations by Szyk, and as is often done with French books, it is custom bound with the original wraps bound in. The text is in French reading from left to right in a new translation by Robert Schmidt, and then in Hebrew reading from right to left starting at the "back" of the book.
___DESCRIPTION: Half brown leather with marbled paper, gilt ruled borders along the interior edges of the leather, gilt decorations and lettering on the spine inside ruled border, top edge gilt, fore- and bottom edges uncut, marbled endpapers, original grey wraps with gilt lettering, original ribbon marker, title page with pink and gilt decorative border and Star of David, text inside red ruled borders, twenty chromolithographs by Arthur Szyk throughout; octavo size (9.25" by 6.75"), pagination: French left-to-right: [1-10] 11-50 ; Hebrew right-to-left: [i-ii] iii-lxxvi [lxxvii] , one of 775 copies, this number 260. Please note that the text is in both French and Hebrew.
___CONDITION: Near fine overall, with clean boards, straight corners, original ribbon marker still attached, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean and bright with the chromolithographs vibrant with colour, and entirely free of prior owner markings; minor rubbing to the bottom edges of the boards, joints and corners, some sunning to the spine, and top front corner is very gently bumped.
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