n.p. ca. 1935. Limited Edition. Folio sheet, folded. No. 73 of an unspecified limitation, ten plates in five folios plus "title page" and outer folio (complete), elephant folio size. Very good +. Item #19100409
Isac Friedlander (1890-1968) was born in Mitau, Latvia; a friend of Russian writer Maxim Gorky, Friedlander was arrested in 1906 (as was Gorky, many times) and imprisoned by Russian authorities for anti-Czarist Political activities from 1906 to 1912. After his release, he studied art at the Academy of Rome, 1913 until 1917 and began his printing career in 1915. After the beginning of the Russian Revolution in 1917, he repatriated to Russia during the Kerensky regime; however,in 1929 Friedlander immigrated to America with the encouragement of his cousin Joseph Hirshhorn (n.b., per the web site of the New England Art Exchange).
"Invictus" is a portfolio of five illustrations after wood engravings by Friedlander, each signed by the artist in pencil below the plate, with a facing page with the title of the illustration and corresponding text which is also wood-engraved, both plates tipped onto its own cardstock portfolio. Each illustration depicts a seminal, heroic moment in the history of Judaism, hence the title of "Invictus" - Undefeated. The portfolio includes: "Moses" (Deuteronomy 34.40), "Bar Kochba" (text from the Kol Nidre); "15th Century Spain" (I Maccabees 4.35); "The Battle of the Warsaw Ghetto" (Isaiah 54.17); and "Toward the New Day" (text a quote from Bar Kochba).
While these powerful engravings can be found in the marketplace singly, it is uncommon to find a complete portfolio; as of this writing, there are no copies listed online and we find only a handful of auction records.
___DESCRIPTION: Green cardstock portfolio, engraved paper label on the front, inside on the right are three flaps which enclose the six individual folios each consisting of heavy textured white paper folded once to four pages, each folio measures 15.75" by 11.75", the first folio with the engraving of the contents tipped onto the front (the paper for this engraving measures 7.5" by 5.5"), with the limitation statement, the number being hand-written, the other five folios are blank on the front and back, tipped onto the inside left is the engraved text illustration (paper sizes range from 6 5/8" to 10.5" high, by 4.75" to 8.25" wide) and tipped onto the inside right side is the engraved illustration (papers approx. 13.25" by 10.5", the illustrations approximately 11" by 8.5"), each illustration signed by Friedlander in pencil below the plate.
___CONDITION: Overall much better than very good; the plates are fine, clean and free of wear, with the black inks deep and rich, the tipped-in papers still strongly adhering to the folio; the outer, green portfolio showing minor overall wear including several closed tears (mostly at the right-hand flap) and a bit of wear to the paper label; the inner porfolios with scattered light soil, the first folio (Contents) with a short (approx. 5/8") closed tear at the bottom edge near the "spine", the first four illustration folios with old cello tape residue either at the inner corners (as though they had been opened and taped to a wall), or around the inner edges, the residue only on the folios and not touching either the text or illustration papers, the first folio with old cello tape on the back holding together a closed tear (approx. 2"?), the plate itself not affected, the first two folios lacking the tissue guards, and the back of the final folio with a bit more soiling than the others. Still a scarce, complete collection of "Invictus" with the plates in fine condition.
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