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Ballet by Alexey Brodovitch, Unique Binding and Display Box by Richard Tuttle



Ballet by Alexey Brodovitch

Unique Leather Binding and Display Case

First Edition, Limited to 500 Copies 

Published by J.J. Augustin, New York in 1945

FINE Condition

Binding Details:  I consider this to be one of Richard Tuttle’s masterworks. He has created an incredible binding of lamb skin over sculpted boards that capture the movement of dance contained in Brodovitch’s remarkable photography. The book is housed in a custom made walnut presentation box with etched glass featuring ballerinas in various poses with the title etched in the same font as the original front cover.

The binding and presentation case were done in 2013.

The book measures approximately 9” x 11.25” and the case measures approximately 11.5” x 13.5”.

Book Details: This is an extremely scarce first edition, first printing of the critically acclaimed photobook, “Ballet” published by J.J. Augustin, New York in 1945 with a limitation of 500 copies. Vince Aletti provides a wonderful critique of “Ballet” in the photobook reference work, “The Book of 101 Books: Seminal Photographic Books of the Twentieth Century” … “Critic Jane Livingston speculates that only a few hundred copies of “Ballet” were ever printed, and that most of them were distributed as gifts to the artist’s inner circle rather than to bookstores. But if the book’s audience was limited, it was also quite select, and “Ballet” had enormous impact among the design and photo cognoscenti. No wonder; more than half a century later, the book still looks radical, still feels exciting. The photographs in it were taken between 1935 and 1937 and they reconnected him with one of his enduring passions: the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo … working with an extremely mobile 33 mm camera, Brodovitch captured the ecstasy and essence of the dance in images that shift, dissolve, blur, darken impenetrably, or explode into light.” In “The Photobook: A History”, Martin Parr and Gerry Badger added, “One of the most cinematic and dynamic photobooks ever published, “Ballet” has become a photobook legend for two reasons. Firstly, only a few hundred copies were printed and the book is more talked about than actually seen. Secondly, the volume was extremely radical … Alexey Brodovitch’s pictures totally violated the accepted conventions … [creating] a vibrancy and fluidity that perfectly captures the motion of the dance”.

The book contains 104 stunning black-and-white photogravures. Internally, the book is in FINE condition.

About the Artist: Richard Tuttle is a painter, writer, graphic designer, carpenter, bookbinder and lover of literature. For the past 20 years, he has combined his many interests to create one of a kind works of art that merge the written word with fine leather, paper, paint, wood and veneer. These original book bindings have been exhibited in numerous galleries and were featured in a PBS documentary on the Chicago Art beat. Richard describes his work as follows:  “I make literary artifacts. They are designed to pull books down off the shelf and display them in the salon, gallery or home as if they were works of art, which, of course, they are. Whether binding books with leather, paper, paint, wood, and found artifacts or building sculptures to encase the volumes, I seek to find a perspective that shouts out a piece of the essence of the literary work. I try to put myself in the author's or character's mind to say something about the time it was written in; the attitude that is explored and expressed; the magic that makes it a work of art. While I obviously respect and admire the books I work on, the humor, wit and raw energy I find so attractive in their works leads me to places that some might call disrespectful, but are, for me, essential parts of these literary works. Motivated by Marcel Duchamp's attempts to elevate the object into art and William Blake's efforts to remake his world and James Joyce's efforts to include all culture and all action in one whole: Motivated by the ongoing conversation of Jazz musicians between its earliest practitioners and its most avante garde practitioners: Motivated by the great world library of "what we are" as extolled by Jorge Luis Borges: Motivated by the desire to live in a world that is conscious of itself and conscious of its ability to create itself: I create these art objects out of books in order be surrounded by a physical environment that reflects the world of ideas I want to live in.”

Condition Report: The binding and display case are in FINE condition.

Photographs of the book and display case as well as images from the book appear in the photo section of the listing.