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This is an artist's book, an exhibition catalog, and an exploration of art history seen through publishers' book covers. Through 500 examples we look at the work of more than 80 known artists and many anonymous ones. The evolution of aesthetic explorations during this period includes a wide variety of styles, including Arts and Crafts and pictorial graphics. Several different approaches to the study of these covers are demonstrated. The notion that commercial binding design merely applied the art of its time to book covers is dispelled, and we see some astoundingly modern American works that pre-date art movements, including prototypical examples of Futurism in 1880, Art Nouveau in 1881, Constructivism in the 1890's, abstract landscape in 1903, Surrealism in 1904, and more.
Richard Minsky acquired all 500 examples of these binding designs specifically for the purpose of illustrating this book, photographed and/or scanned the covers, wrote the text, designed every page, printed the Deluxe Edition in his studio and bound the books. You can read two sample pages of the layout in lower resolution PDF format (for faster download).
Read the review of this book in Fine Books and Collections
There are three different editions of this catalog:
1.Deluxe Edition limited to 25 signed and numbered copies printed in archival high resolution inkjet, in a foil stamped cloth binding by Richard Minsky, based on a cover design in this collection. This edition includes a printed version of the checklist with images of all the books in the collection that were not reproduced in the text. The CD-ROM version of the catalog is included, mounted in a recess in the back cover. This is a fine art production. Each page is printed the same way a "giclée" art print is done, on an Epson R1800 six color 5760x1440 dpi archival pigment ink printer, with the pages hand fed one sheet at a time. The image quality is astounding.
2.Limited Edition with the same text as the Deluxe Edition in a slightly smaller format, in a foil-stamped Hahnemuehle Bugra Butten paper cover (pictured at the top of this page), and an archival inkjet printed Rives BFK dust wrapper. The foil stamping of each cover was done by Richard Minsky. This is a fine art production. Edition of 100 signed and numbered copies, with about 250 color pictures in the text section. The printed checklist in this edition adds about a hundred more color images bringing the total to about 350 pictures of the cover art. All 500+ cover images are on the CD-ROM, which is included in a separate plastic case. Printed in Atlanta, Georgia on a Hewlett-Packard Indigo 5000 digital offset press on acid-free HP Indigo 80# dull coated cover paper.
American Decorated Publishers' Bindings, 1872-1929
3. CD-ROM Edition with all the text and images of the Deluxe Edition in PDF format and a database including separate fields for title, author, publisher, date, designer, description of binding, variants, and images from scans or digital photographs of all the books in the collection. The discs used are MAM-A Gold Archive, which claims a 200+ year durability. A browser-viewable version of the checklist with "thumbnail" images of every book is also on the disk.
American Decorated Publishers' Bindings, 1872-1929
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