10 April 2008
Facile -- Easy. Text by Paul Eluard. Paris: GLM, 1935.
Folio (241 x 184 mm). 12 black and white photographs. (Light browning in margins.) Original photo-illustrated card portfolio (extremities rubbed, light spotting to covers). Provenance: Hans Bellmer (inscription from Man Ray and Paul Eluard on the half-title).
FIRST EDITION, INSCRIBED BY PAUL ELUARD AND MAN RAY TO HANS BELLMER: "à Hans Bellmer en toute amitiée, Paul Eluard" to which the photographer adds "et Man Ray". It is a remarkable association copy of this perfectly formed and highly influential collaboration, linking three major figures of Surrealism. Bellmer's own book, the supremely obsessive Die Puppe, had appeared one year ahead of Facile but echoes Man Ray's influence. Bellmer's deeply unsettling images captivated Eluard, who arranged the publication of some of these in Minotaure while working on a French edition of the book published the following year (La Poupée, 1936). After Minotaure most major international Surrealist exhibition included the work of both Man Ray and Hans Bellmer. Eluard and Bellmer collaborated on their own blend of verse and photography, Les Jeux de la Poupée, which was complete in 1938, but remained unpublished until 1949. Facile is "one of the iconic French photobooks of the 1930s... a landmark modernist book and an inspiration to generations of graphic designers" (The Photobook). It is "a fluent but not at all facile collaboration between the poet, the photographer, the model and muse, and the publisher" (101 Books). 1 of 200 copies hors commerce, this one numbered 91. 101 Books, pp.87-7; The Open Book, pp.118-9; The Photobook, vol. I, pp.104-5; Regards à travers le livre 48.
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