Die Büchse Der Pandora; Tragödie in Drei Aufzügen. Mit 12 Bildebeigaben und Einem Vorsatz von Alastair

Pandora's Box
Alastair's Illustrations

[ALASTAIR, illustrator, pseud. of Baron Hans Henning von Voight]. WEDEKIND, Frank. Die Büchse Der Pandora. Tragödie in Drei Aufzügen. Mit 12 Bildebeigaben und Einem Vorsatz von Alastair. Munich: Georg Müller Verlag, [1921].

One of 500 numbered copies, this being no. 315. Large quarto (11 1/4 x 8 1/2 inches; 285 x 216 mm.). Twelve full-page plates printed in red and black.

Publisher's boards hand-blocked with black, pale green and red honeycomb cell patterned paper, and with tan paper spine lettered in gilt. Pictorial endpapers printed in red and black. Slight edge and corner wear, otherwise a fine copy.

A gorgeous and decadently illustrated edition of Wedekind's classic Pandora's Box. It is said that German film director Georg Papst visualized his 1927 adaptation, Lulu, and cast its star, Louise Brooks, based upon Alastair's illustrations.

Hans Henning Otto Harry Baron von Voigt (1887-1969), best known by his nom de paintbrush, Alastair, was a German artist, composer, dancer, mime, poet, singer and translator. Mysterious, flamboyant, enigmatic and attractive, Baron Hans Henning Voight was self-taught as an artist, and he was also a proficient dancer and pianist. He is best known as an illustrator, and his career as an artist was launched in 1914, when John Lane published Forty-Three Drawings by Alastair. His drawings, which are often decadent in spirit and have the look of Art Deco, were influenced by the drawings of Aubrey Beardsley. His ‘serpentine line’ often depicts characters whose outlines are lightly drawn with the main areas filled in with ‘broken dotted lines’.His drawings were in black and white ink, sometimes with one color added. Alastair's illustrations show a strong influence from the Decadent movement in art and poetry that had begun decades earlier, with the perverse and sinister a recurring theme.

The poet and publisher Caresse Crosby described her first meeting with him: "... a blackamoor ushered us into a room where their was a black piano with a single candle burning on it. Soon Alastair himself appeared in the doorway in a white satin suit; he bowed, did a flying split and slid across the polished floor to stop at my feet, where he looked and said, 'Ah, Mrs Crosby !'" He knew how to made an entrance. Item #02737

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