Paris: F.-L. Schmied, 1924. Item #04957
Considered to be Schmied's First Important Book
The Copy of Publisher, Bookbinder and Bookseller René Kieffer
SCHMIED, Francois-Louis, illustrator. VIGNY, Alfred de. Daphné. Paris: Chez F.-L. Schmied, Peintre-Graveur-Imprimeur, 1924.
Limited to 140 numbered copies (this being no. 41) signed by F.L. Schmied.
Large quarto (12 1/8 x 9 7/8 inches; 310 x 251 mm.).
[iv, blank], , 1, imprint], [7, blank] pp. Forty-nine colored woodblocks, five of which are full-page, twenty-five headbands and end caps and nineteen large ornamented letters, all of which are partly embellished with silver. The title-page and frontispiece have light offsetting and there is some light offsetting from the illustrations onto the text, far less than is usually seen. A near fine and fresh example.
Publishers pictorial gray wrappers printed in silver, maroon, red light gray and blue. Publisher's mottled red chemise (with tile in silver on spine) and matching slipcase. Chemise joints neatly repaired with acid-free tape, some rubbing to extremities of slipcase.
Considered to be Schmied's first important book - this copy was subscribed to the great Parisian Publisher, Bookbinder and Bookseller, René Kieffer.
"Beginning in 1921 the four friends, artists Paul Jouve and Jean Goulden, Jean Dunand, a master-artist in lacquer who had been a friend of Schmied's since their student days at the École des Arts Industriels de Genève, and Schmied held a joint exhibit at the Galerie Georges Petit. These continued each year until 1931 when they became a victim of the depression. While the others showed their art, Schmied showed layouts and sample pages of projected books, for which he took orders. Inasmuch as his books usually took several years to produce Daphné was the first of his own publications to be so shown and later printed. It is a remarkable book, architecturally designed with monumental initial letters unrivalled in book design. Schmied formulated a soft black velvet-textured ink which was the envy of printers. It was a secret formula which Schmied would not divulge. This was fortunate, since in time it bled through the paper and offset onto facing pages. While it couldn't spoil the basic beauty of the Daphné, it was a distracting blemish affecting many of the text pages. Oddly enough on the title page and the opposing frontispiece it creates a design of great unplanned beauty. One hundred and forty copies were printed on the handpress." (Ward Ritchie. Art Deco. The Books of Francois-Louis-Schmied… p.24).
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 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.
Alfred Victor, Comte de Vigny (1797-1863) was a French poet and early leader of French Romanticism. He also produced novels, plays, and translations of Shakespeare.
Ward Ritchie, 15.