HESSE, Hermann (1877-1962). Autograph manuscript signed in two places, a fair copy of his prose fairy-tale "Piktor's Verwandlungen," with manuscript colophon at end: "geschrieben und gezeichnet von Hermann Hesse," ILLUSTRATED BY HESSE WITH 15 WATERCOLOR VIGNETTES AND TWO DECORATIVE BORDERS, n.p., 1928.
"PIKTOR'S VERWANDLUNGEN", ILLUSTRATED BY THE POET
Small 4o (190 x 150 mm), neatly written in ink on rectos only of 17 leaves of good-quality laid paper. Collation: Decorated titlepage ("Piktor's Verwandlungen Von Hermann Hesse"), decorated dedication page (with Hesse's favorite couplet of Novalis: "Im ewigen Verwandlungen begrsst Uns des gesangs geheime Macht hienieden..."), text (ff.3-15), decorated tailpiece (separate leaf), manuscript colophon. Stiff vellum boards, covers with single gilt-ruled border, plain endleaves, uncut. In extremely fine condition.
A finely written and attractively decorated manuscript by Hesse, in his typical, very clear hand, the text embellished by vignettes and borders in watercolor washes over ink and pencil. Hesse habitually sold his hand-illustrated manuscript poems and tales on commission. The present example, one of 42 known handwritten or typed examples of this tale produced by Hesse from the early 1920s through the late 50s, was commissioned by Martha Wegmann. First published in 1925, "Piktor's Transformations" recounts the fabulous adventures of Piktor, who travels to Paradise, encounters the Tree of Life, a serpent, a brightly-feathered bird, a flower-headed giraffe and finally is himself incarnated as a branch of the Tree of Life. Hesse had taken up painting in watercolor as a pastime while undergoing phychoanalysis with a disciple of Jung.