London: George G. Harrap & Co., Ltd., . Item #04915
An Exceptionally Fine Riviére Rubáiyát
Illustrated by Willy Pogany
[RIVIÉRE & Son, binders]. Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. Presented by Willy Pogany. [The illustrations and decorations in this edition of Fitzgerald's translation of the "Rubáiyát" are by Willy Pogany]. London: George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd., [ca. 1916].
Octavo (8 1/8 x 5 1/2 inches; 207 x 140 mm.). Text printed in blue and black. 112 unnumbered pp. With sixteen tipped-in color plates within decorative borders by Willy Pogany, and numerous text illustrations printed in blue.
Bound ca. 1916 by Riviére & Son, stamp-signed in gilt on front turn-in. Full vermillion crushed levant morocco. Front cover with a central oval panel of green morocco with Eve, the serpent and the tree of life inlaid in various color morocco's. This central panel is surrounded by a gilt floral border of flowers and bunches of grapes, which in turn is surrounded by a border lettered "Oh, Thou, Who Man of Baser Earth Didst Make, / And Who With Eden Didst Devise The Snake, / For All The Sin Wherewith The Face Of Man / is Blacken'd. Man's Forgiveness Give - And Take". Rear cover with an oval panel featuring the snake twined around a large chalice, also surrounded by a gilt floral border of flowers and bunches of grapes, which in turn is surrounded by a border lettered "Oh, Thou, Who Man of Baser Earth Didst Make, / And Who With Eden Didst Devise The Snake, / For All The Sin Wherewith The Face Of Man / is Blacken'd. Man's Forgiveness Give - And Take". Spine with five raised bands decoratively paneled, tooled and lettered in gilt in compartments, gilt board edges, decorative gilt turn-ins, decorative floral endpapers, all edges gilt. Housed in the original, felt-lined, red cloth over boards slipcase. A very fine example.
Willy Pogany had previously illustrated the Rubaiyat in 1909, but these later illustrations are quite a different interpretation, more westernized and modernized than the earlier ones.
"Had Omar Khayyam, the old tentmaker, visioned the beauty of his verses centuries later in Western dress, as embroidered by a Hungarian artist, he might have had a new conception of the meaning of immortality. For Pogany, the Hungarian, had made Omar, the Persian, live again." (Willy Pogany and his Work. eight-page leaflet).
Willy Pogány, born in Szeged, Hungary, in 1882, studied at Budapest Technical University and in Munich and Paris. His reputation as a muralist, painter and illustrator was well established in Paris, London and Munich before arriving in the United States in 1915, at the age of thirty-three. Skilled in an unusually wide range of media, he had won gold medals at exhibitions in Budapest, Leipzig, and at the Panama Pacific International Exhibition.
"Among Pogány's many murals are those for the Heckscher Children's Theatre in New York City and the Niagara Falls Power Station. As a painter he did portraits of famous people in all walks of life. An expert on scenery design and lighting effects, Pogány also designed sets for ballets and operas, including "Le Coq d'Or," and for many films, such as Modern Times for Charlie Chaplin as well as animated cartoons based on his children's books.
"Among his other artistic endeavors Pogány was an accomplished book illustrator. It was this phase of his career, especially as an illustrator of children's books, which gives this collection special relevance for Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Oregon Libraries. Pogány designed and illustrated more than 150 books. His illustrations include those for the Rubaiyat and the Sonnets from the Portuguese, The Song Celestial, The Adventures of Odysseus, Gulliver's Travels, and many others, both classic and original.
"Working tirelessly right up until the end, Willy Pogány died in 1955" (University of Oregon, Guide to the Willy A. Pogány Papers 1910-1967).