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Warja Lavater. Lune Enchantée: Une Imagerie Racontée et Dessinée d’après le
Conte de Charles Perrault, La Belle au Bois Dormant.
Paris: Adrien Maeght, 1973.
Single one-sided color lithographed pictorial sheet folded leporello-style, measuring
12 inches high x 73 inches long, original blue cloth spine and rear board, front board
covered in color lithographed pictorial paper, front pastedown printed as title page,
hanging hook anchored below title. $750.
First edition of this pictorial retelling of
Sleeping Beauty
, produced in the wake of
the first moon landing, and set in outer space. Originally a designer of corporate
logos and trademarks, the Swiss artistWarja Lavater had a genius for the right
symbol. In the late 1950s, she began to translate classic fairy tales into visual
language, using minimalist graphic codes and keys. Like her contemporary Bruno
Munari, Lavater combined the conventions of the picture book with the ideal of
the “book-object” to create a playful new kind of artist’s book. The folding
leporello
format appealed to her as a medium, she explained, because it could “be
transformed into sculpture, standing on the ground, or hung, unfolded, on the
wall.” The first of Lavater’s folding “imageries” was
WilliamTell
, published by the
Museum of Modern Art in 1962, followed by a series of symbolic fairy tales in the
years to come, including
Little Red Riding Hood
(
Le Petit Chaperon Rouge
, 1965),
Cinderella
(
Cendrillon
, 1974),
SnowWhite
(
Blanche Neige
, 1974), and a smaller
separate treatment of
Sleeping Beauty
(
La Belle au Bois Dormant
, 1974). This early
galactic interpretation of
Sleeping Beauty
is unusual not only in its much larger
size, but also in its incorporation of text into the visual narrative. The characters
are represented by vibrantly colored symbols of the space age, with the princess
as the sleeping moon in orbit, awaiting her rocketship prince.
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