Ubu Roi: Drame en Cinq Actes, by Alfred Jarry.
Price: 50000.00 USD
Paris: Dupont-Visat, 1982. Large quarto. (6), 61, (13)pp. One of 150 copies. An important work of absurdist and surrealist theater based loosely on Shakespeare's Macbeth. It is illustrated with eight colored etchings and a "pop-up" theater by the Chilean expressionist artist, Roberto Sebastian Matta. The etchings depict Pere Ubu and other characters from the play, done in the style of comic strips and Mayan carvings. Georges Leroux, one of the important twentieth century French bookbinders, chose vermillion calf as a palette to bind Ubu Roi. He sculpted relief figures depicting Father and Mother Ubu on the front and rear covers. Modeled after 1950s style Japanese robots, Leroux incorporated a series of gears, springs, and clock wheels in the chest cavities of both figures. He added multi-colored wires, metal widgets, sheet plastic and marbles to the figures and has Father Ubu's holographic eyes spinning in his head. The spine is lettered in gray calf onlays; the flyleaves and doublures are red suede. Book label of noted collector Jan Van Der Marck, whose 1997 work The Art of Contemporary Bookbinding features this work. Van Der Marck writes, "Attracted to the incongruous, like the Surrealists, Leroux indulges his love of tinkering by analyzing, dissecting, and reproducing the most salient imagery and features of a given text and illustration," often using irony and "tongue-in-cheek visual rhymes." For Ubu Roi, he drew on Matta's bold color palette, and the spiral clock spring inside of Father Ubu's chest plays on the characteristic, distinctive spiral designs used both in Matta's illustrations and in Jarry's original depiction of the greedy ruler. Extremely fine, housed in a chemise and slipcase. A complete tour-de-force accompanied by a reproduction of the tin toy, "Chief Robotman," which is battery powered and was the influence for Leroux's design. (Van Der Marck, The Art of Contemporary Bookbinding, p. 29-31; 73).