Basel: Basilius Presse, 1968. Single volume, measuring 8 x 9 inches: [88, double leaves]. Original glossy color pictorial boards, text block printed in black and orange. Inscribed by Warja Lavater in the year of publication. Slight bowing to boards.
Inscribed first edition of Swiss artist Warja Lavater’s dynamic panorama charting the development of painting in the West, from the prehistoric cave art of Pech Merle to Jackson Pollock. Originally a designer of corporate logos and trademarks, Lavater had a genius for the symbol, producing inventive artist’s books constructed of minimalist graphic codes and keys. The visual narrative of Sketch…Book is a historical one, focused on the disruptive figure of the painter, the “Disobedient,” who is represented by two eyes stacked on top of each other: “With his exterior eye he sees, with his interior eye he thinks.” As the centuries and millennia rush by, populated by the flowing black dots who represent the Disobedient’s contemporaries, we see glimpses of the painter’s radical power of sight: Sumerian glyphs, the golden ratio, medieval illuminations, Renaissance perspective, modern abstraction, captured in flashes and fragments. “This story is history, because the visions of the painter become reality.” Text in French, English, and German. Lavater has warmly inscribed this copy: “den Ungehorsamen...Curt und Erna Burgauer / herzlich / Warja Honegger-Lavater / April 1968.” Based in Zurich, the Burgauers were prominent art collectors; their foundation, Stiftung Erna und Curt Burgauer, remains an important source of support for emerging Swiss artists. A fine inscribed copy of a representational tour-de-force, with an excellent art world association.