Rim-Rock and Sage; The Collected Poems of Maynard Dixon
San Francisco: The California Historical Society [printed by Andrew Hoyem, Printer], (1977). Dixon, Maynard. First and Limited Edition. Hardcover. One of 1300 copies, quarto size, 160 pp., inscribed by Kevin Starr to Edith Hamlin, with prospectus and contemporary review. Fine / good +. Item #23012302
Lafayette Maynard Dixon (1875-1946) is internationally known for his artwork, which focused on the American West. He had been sickly as a child and spent much of his time listening to stories of "the old west", which fueled his imagination. He received a bronze medal for work he exhibited at the PIE; the list of his solo exhibitions is long and impressive.
What many do not know is that Dixon also wrote poetry; this work the first publication of the entire body of his work (164 poems), as only a few had previously been published in magazines. With a "lengthy and beautifully composed introduction [by Kevin Starr], almost a dissection, of how the poems relate to Dixon's artistic career and how they reflect those deep agonies of spirit that so often plagued him" (n.b., quote from contemporary review, see details below).
Dixon married thrice: his first wife was a fellow artist, Lillian West Tobey; his second, Dorothea Lange. That marriage ended in 1935, and in 1937 he married another fellow artist, Edith Hamlin (1902-1992). Hamlin was "known for her social realism murals created while working with the Public Works of Art Project, Federal Art Project and the Section of Painting and Sculpture during the Great Depression era in the United States and for her decorative style paintings of the American desert" (n.b., per Wiki).
This volume made special by the warm inscription, in the year of publication, by author Kevin Starr to Edith Hamlin: " for Edith Hamlin / - my essay owes so much / to you, just as the life of / Maynard Dixon owed so much to you! / Gratefully, / Kevin Starr / December 1977".
Also special is the printer; published by The California Historical Society, they wisely chose Andrew Hoyem as the printer; Hoyem, had worked with Robert Grabhorn, publishing books with him under the Grabhorn-Hoyem imprint from 1966 to 1973. In 1975 he would publish the first book under the Arion Press imprint, under which Hoyem published hundreds of impeccably designed, and incredibly lovely, fine books.
___DESCRIPTION: Bound in quarter natural linen with rust-coloured paper over boards, Dixon's symbol of a Thunderbird in gold on both boards, rust-coloured paper spine label with gold lettering, fore-edge uncut, bottom edge rough-cut, inscription by Starr as set forth above on the front free endpaper in black felt-tip, title page with the Thunderbird in rust and a rust decorative line underneath the title, black-and-white reproduction of a photograph of Dixon by Dorothea Lange opposite the first page of the introduction, nine reproductions of drawings by Dixon throughout and one facsmile manuscript (of the poem "Question, Answer"); quarto size (10 1/8" by 6 1/8"), pagination: [i-v] vi-xxxiii [1, blank] [1-2] 3-125 [1, blank] [1, colophon]. With the original white paper publisher's jacket with black lettering on the spine; loosely laid in is (i) the prospectus, a single 8.5" by 11" sheet folded thrice for mailing, measuring 8.5" by 3.75" when folded, and (ii) a "xerox" copy of a contemporary review written by W.H. Hutchinson, published in the San Francisco Chronicle on December 6, 1977, with high praise for the work.
___CONDITION: Fine overall, with clean boards, straight corners (the bottom two with a bare hint of rubbing), a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean and bright, and entirely free of prior owner markings; text block very slightly cocked, else fine. The paper dust jacket is good only; it is entire and all component parts attached, but with overall wear and soiling; the prospectus near fine, clean, without tears but with a few unintended creases.
___CITATION: Hughes, "Artists in California", pp. 130-131.
___POSTAGE: International customers, please note that additional postage may apply as the standard does not always cover costs; please inquire for details.
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