Paris: Éditions GLM, 1935. First edition. Unbound folded gatherings laid into publisher’s photographically illustrated wrapper, as issued. Some creasing to the front cover at the spine, as often seen, slight rubbing to head and tail of spine. Interior clean and bright. Housed in a custom chemise and slipcase, with title printed on front cover of chemise and displayed through cut-outs on the slipcase. Binder’s signature within the chemise, dated 1988.
Of a total edition of 1225 copies, this is one of 200 roman-numeraled hors commerce copies. Signed on the half-title by both Eluard and Man Ray, and inscribed to Léon Pierre-Quint, the literary director and editor of the major surrealist publishing house Éditions du Sagittaire, and friend and biographer to Proust and Gide. Although not an uncommon book, the hors commerce copies are less seen, and it is very rare to find it signed by both authors.
Facile is one of the most beautiful and influential books of the twentieth century, the very definition of a fusion of word and image. The heliogravure images, of Eluard’s wife Nusch, “solarized nudes drift across the pages as if in a dream.” Light, shadow, curves, and the purity of the verse all combine. “The two arts, poetry and photography, have established themselves as communicating vessels, where communication through love leads without effort to universal harmony…. From cover to cover the book points to a single universe expressed by two different languages. The poem is made up of images, and the images coalesce into a poem…. The directness of the poet’s voice makes the woman present, a presence intensified by but hardly originating in the photographs. This immediacy in no way weakens the dream quality so pronounced in this collaborative work.” (Hubert)
Roth, The Book of 101 Books, 86-87. Parr & Badger, The Photobook, vol. I, 105. Logan, Artists’ Books in the Modern Era, 184. Castleman, A Century of Artists’ Books, 183. Renée Riese Hubert, Surrealism and the Book, 73-83. Caron, De Goya à Max Ernst, 290-297. Andel, Avant-Garde Page Design, 339. Perpetual Motif: The Art of Man Ray, 221. Item #2245