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Archive for March, 2011

Peter Matthiessen is a two-time National Book Award winning American novelist, as well as an environmental activist, and Zen Buddhist. Along with George Plimpton and Harold L. Humes, Matthiessen founded the literary magazine The Paris Review in 1953. In 2008 Matthiessen reissued a revised edition of  his trilogy of novels — Killing Mr. Watson, Lost Man’s River and Bone by Bone, for which he received his second National Book Award.  In Men’s Lives he champions yet another cause, this time the baymen of Long Island’s East End.  Matthiessen himself worked as a commercial fisherman in the early 1950s on the South Fork of Long Island. As both knowledgeable insider and keen observer of a passing culture, he writes of the independent, tough, skilled members of a few large families who have fished those coastal waters for generations, but who no longer can make a living in the face of regulations, political restrictions, economic pressures.  A meditation on a traditional culture  marginalized by the forces of the modern culture, but also a masterful celebration of pride in one’s work, and the sense of community it brings.

Description: INSCRIBED, SIGNED & DATED BY PETER MATTHIESSEN on then half title page. TRUE FIRST EDITION. Two volumes, hardbound in olive green linen with pasted down illustrations affixed to front boards. No dust jackets, as issued. In original publishers olive green linen slipcase. Matthiessen’s tribute to the fishermen of eastern Long Island and their way of life that slowly seemed to dying away. Matthiessen has spent much of his life on the eastern end of Long Island, where he maintains a house in Sagaponack. Photographs by Danny Lyon, Gilles Peress, Lynn Johnson, Dan Budnick and others. 238 and 170 pages; as new condition. ; clean and crisp books and slipcase. A RARE INSCRIBED COPY!

Bookseller Inventory # 25017


Men’s Lives: The Surfmen and Baymen of the South Fork
Matthiessen, Peter

Publisher: Rock Foundation
Publication Date: 1986
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Near Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: No Jacket, As Issued
Signed: Inscribed by Author
Edition: 1st Edition, Limited


Ellsworth Kelly studied at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, from 1941 to 1943. After military service from 1943 to 1945, he attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, from 1946 to 1947. The following year, Kelly went to France and enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris under the G.I. Bill. In France, he discovered Romanesque art and architecture and Byzantine art. He was also introduced to Surrealism which led him to experiment with automatic drawing and geometric abstraction.

Kelly abstracts the forms in his paintings from observations of the real world, such as shadows cast by trees or the spaces between architectural elements. In 1950, Kelly met Jean Arp and that same year began to make shaped-wood reliefs and collages in which elements were arranged according to the laws of chance. He soon began to make paintings in separate panels that can be recombined to produce alternate compositions, as well as multipanel paintings in which each canvas is painted a single color. During the 1950s, he traveled throughout France, where he met Constantin Brancusi, Alexander Calder, Alberto Magnelli, Francis Picabia, and Georges Vantongerloo, among other artists. His first solo show took place at the Galerie Arnaud, Paris, in 1951.

Kelly returned to the United States in 1954, living first in a studio apartment on Broad Street, and then at Coenties Slip in lower Manhattan, where his neighbors would through the years include Robert Indiana, Agnes Martin, Fred Mitchell, James Rosenquist, Lenore Tawney, and Jack Youngerman. Kelly continued to develop and expand the vocabulary of painting, exploring issues of form and ground with his flatly painted canvases. His first solo show in New York was held at the Betty Parsons Gallery in 1956, and three years later he was included in Sixteen Americans at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 1958, he also began to make freestanding sculptures. He moved out of Manhattan in 1970, set up a studio in Chatham, and a home in nearby Spencertown, New York. Kelly’s first retrospective was held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1973.

Description: Paperback catalogue raisonne 1949 – 1985. Published on the occasion of the 1987 touring exhibition. 201 pages, profusely illustrated. Includes lithographs, leaves, curve series, concord, plant, flower litho images, paper images with an appendix on printmaking. Chronology, glossary, bibliography, and index. Scarce!

Bookseller Inventory # 17354


The Prints of Ellsworth Kelly: A Catalogue Raisonne, 1949-1985
Axsom, Richard H.

Publisher: Hudson Hills Press, Manchester, Vermont, U.S.A.
Publication Date: 1987
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Very Good

Gerhard Richter began working with artists such as Sigmar Polke and Georg Baselitz. Their work, and Richter’s in particular, began to have an impact in Germany, and eventually international art circles. Richter’s beliefs are credited with refreshing art and rejuvenating painting as a medium during a period when many artists chose performance and ready-made media. Together with Polke and Fischer-Lueg, Richter formed a group called the Capitalist Realists. The Capitalist Realists were satirical, often deriving subject matter from print media. Richter began to see art as something that had to be separated from art history; he believed that paintings should focus on the image rather than the reference, the visual rather than the statement.

Description: Hard bound with dust jacket. Published on the occasion of the April 22, 1991 exhibition. 91 pages. Mirror Paintings, Sculpture,  Glass panels, and Abstract paintings. Catalog, exhibition checklist, and bibliography 1965 – 1991.  A very nice copy of a scarce Richter title.

Bookseller Inventory # 17021


Gerhard Richter: Mirrors

Publisher: Anthony d’Offay Gallery, London
Publication Date: 1991
Binding: Hard Cover
Book Condition: Very Good
Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good



James Baldwin was a leading advocate for the rights of African Americans. As the 1960s began, and violence in the South increased, Baldwin grew increasingly angry. He responded with powerful books and essays, in part meant to educate white Americans on what it meant to be black. It also offered white readers a view of themselves through the eyes of the African-American community. Through his work, Baldwin offered a brutally realistic picture of race relations, but he always remained hopeful about improvement. Nothing Personal began as a collaboration with Richard Avedon, intended as a eulogy for the slain civil rights activist Medger Evers. Published a year after John F. Kennedy’s assassination, it highlights the civil rights movement, and illustrates in sharp contrast the wide spectrum of social views of the 1960’s. Avedon juxtaposes an American Nazi Party salute with a naked Allen Ginsberg, a segregationist George Wallace, and a man born into slavery, William Cansby. Nothing Personal remains an important portrait of a time of great internal strife, and a testament to those who stood up and demanded change.

“If a society permits one portion of its citizenry to be menaced or destroyed, then, very soon, no one in that society is safe. The forces thus released in the people can never be held in check, but run their devouring course, destroying the very foundations which it was imagined they would save.”

– James Baldwin, Nothing Personal

Description: Hard bound, no dust jacket. Missing original publishers slipcase. Bound with white paper over boards with silver title panel front and back and black lettering to panel and to spine. Boards are rubbed and lightly soiled. Spine edges bumped, and showing small tears. Interior clean and binding tight. A good working copy of copy of Avedon’s notoriously fragile second book.

Bookseller Inventory# 25401


Nothing Personal
Baldwin, James; Avedon, Richard

Publisher: Antheneum
Publication Date: 1964
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Good
Dust Jacket Condition: No Jacket
Edition: First Edition

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