Lyon: Cercle Lyonnais Du Livre, 1927. Item #04657
Schmied Illustrates "The Prince of Poets"
SCHMIED, Francois-Louis, illustrator. FORT, Paul. Les Ballades Francaises. Montagne, Foret, Plaine, Mer [Mountain, Forest, Plains, Sea]. Lyon: Cercle Lyonnais du Livre, 1927.
Limited to 120 copies (this for Victor Blanchet) out of a total edition of 165.
"Il a été tiré de cet ouvrage, établi par F.-L. Schmied pour le Cercle Lyonnais du Livre, cent vingt examplaires nomantifs de soviétaires et quarante conq examplaires dits de Collaborateurs, Numérotés de 1 a 45. á M. Victor Blanchet" (limitation leaf).
Quarto (10 1/4 x 8 inches; 260 x 203 mm.). Loose as issued in twenty-one gatherings (168 pp. including preliminary blanks). Four full color title-pages and twenty-six full page color plates. Twenty colored head & tailpieces in the text. Some sporadic foxing throughout, mainly marginal.
Publisher's color pictorial wrappers uncut, with the original glassine jacket. Chemised in the original gray cloth backed marbled boards within it's gray cloth edged, marbled board slipcase. Minimal rubbing to extremities. An excellent copy.
"One hundred and twenty copies were printed for members of the Cercle Lyonnais du Livre, each copy printed with the name of the recipient member… As occasionally happened with Schmied's books, the paper was uncomfortably heavy. It was fine as the books were issued in loose sheets in a portfolio, but quite stiff in a bound book. This was evidently the last book on which Pierre Bouchet worked as an employee of Schmied. He subsequently set up his own atelier at Boulogne-sur-Seine where he also designed and printed books." (Ward Ritchie. Art Deco. The Books of Francois-Louis Schmied, p.29).
Francois-Louis Schmied (1873-1941) was an important painter, illustrator, wood engraver, printer, editor and bookbinder particularly known for his beautiful limited edition books. He is considered a major artist in the Art Deco style, particularly in the area of publishing fine books for bibliophiles. He first gained notoriety with his commission to engrave and print the illustrations of Paul Jouve for Rudyard Kipling’s Le Livre de la Jungle which was finally published in 1919. The success of that production allowed Schmied to expand his operations, purchase a Stanhope hand-press, and hire a group of craftsmen who helped him to execute some of his most famous and pioneering work such as Les Climats (1924), Daphne (1924), Le Cantique des cantiques (1925), Les Ballades Francaises (1927), Les Douze Cesars (1928), Kim (1930), Ruth et Booz (1930), and Peau-Brune de St. Nazaire a la Ciotat (1931). His books were always expensive to produce and were printed in highly limited editions, usually no more than 100-200 copies. His marketing strategy was to display sheets of works in progress to Parisian art fairs, seeking the subscription of wealthy bibliophiles and other organizations. Once the Great Depression took hold, the economic climate could no longer support the cost of Schmied’s books, and he was forced to sell off virtually all of his assets and close his workshop.
Paul Fort (1872-1960) was a French poet associated with the Symbolist movement. At the age of eighteen, reacting against the Naturalistic theatre, Fort founded the Théâtre d'Art (1890-93). He also founded and edited the literary reviews Livre d'Art with Alfred Jarry and Vers et Prose (1905-14) with poet Guillaume Apollinaire, which published the work of Paul Valéry and other important Symbolist writers. Fort is notable for his enormous volume of poetry, having published more than thirty volumes of ballads and, according to Amy Lowell for using her polyphonic prose form in his Les Ballades Francaises.
Ritchie, 20; Carteret Illustrés IV, 365.