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DRAWINGS FOR DANTE'S INFERNO by  Illustrator  RICO - One of 2,000 copies - 1963 - from Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Medieval Manuscripts (SKU: ST15816-24)


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McMinnville, Oregon
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About This Item

[Los Angeles]: Kanthos Press, 1963. One of 2,000 copies. 430 x 320 mm. (17 1/4 x 12 3/4"). [46] leaves.Edited and translated by John Ciardi. Book designed by Leonard Baskin. Publisher's black buckram, gilt lettering on upper cover and flat spine. In the original gray cardboard slipcase. With 36 lithographs in black & white by Rico Lebrun, and FOUR ORIGINAL, SIGNED LITHOGRAPHS laid in at front. List of plates also laid in at front. In mint condition. In this series of lithographs, Italian-American artist Rico Lebrun captures the essence of souls in torment: distorted, faceless human bodies writhing in misery, trapped in their own sins, eternally distanced from God, forever without hope. Born in Naples, Lebrun (1900-64) immigrated to the United States at age 24, and built a successful but unsatisfying career as a commercial artist. In 1938 he gave up business and moved to Southern California to create and teach art. His artistic influences include the Italian Renaissance masters, particularly Michelangelo, and the darker, tragic vision of Spanish artists, particularly Goya and Picasso. Strains of both can be seen here, in the sculptural quality of the bodies and the overall sense of foreboding. This series was among the last works Lebrun completed before his death from cancer, perhaps intensifying the awareness of mortality in the work. The Kanthos Press was founded by printmaker Joe Funk (1917-81) in 1962, at a time when there were few lithographers operating in the U.S. He is credited with helping to preserve and promote that medium, which was in danger of dying out in mid-20th century America.


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Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Medieval Manuscripts US (US)
Bookseller Inventory #
Book condition
Quantity available
One of 2,000 copies
Kanthos Press
Place of Publication
[Los Angeles]
Date published

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Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Medieval Manuscripts

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About the Seller

Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Medieval Manuscripts

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers. member since: 2006
McMinnville, Oregon
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About Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Medieval Manuscripts

Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books an Manuscripts was established in 1978 on a ping pong table in a basement in Kalamazoo, Michigan. From the beginning, its founder was willing to sell a range of material (both because this approach made the work more educational than otherwise and because it gave him a good excuse for not being an expert in any particular specialty). Over the years, the business has gravitated toward historical artifacts that are physically attractive in some way--illuminated material, fine bindings, books printed on vellum, fore-edge paintings, beautiful typography and paper, impressive illustration. Today, the company still sells a wide range of things, from (scruffy) ninth century leaves to biblical material from all periods to Wing and STC imprints to modern private press books to artists' bindings. While we are forgiving about condition when something is of considerable rarity, we always try to obtain the most attractive copies possible of whatever we offer for sale.


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

A plain weave fabric normally made from cotton or linen which is stiffened with starch or other chemicals to cover the book...[more]
The decorative application of gold or gold coloring to a portion of a book on the spine, edges of the text block, or an inlay in...[more]
Very generally, "leaves" refers to the pages of a book, as in the common phrase, "loose-leaf pages." A leaf is a single sheet...[more]
The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf....[more]