Paris: Aux Nourritures Terrestres, 1950. First edition.  leaves; title-page and colophon, ten lithographs. Unbound as issued, laid into a folding chemise and slipcase. Light marginal spotting to edge of sheets, as usually seen, gift inscription to title-page. A couple of mild stains to printed spine of chemise. Slipcase expertly repaired at head, solid and complete.
One of 150 numbered copies (of 165 total), signed by Arp, Magnelli, and Delaunay, with Taeuber-Arp’s signature in stamped facsimile, as she had passed away in 1943. Each lithograph is the work of two or three of the artists (an accompanying diagrammatic representation indicates the contribution of each).
Exiled together in Grasse in the German-occupied south of France in 1941, Taeuber-Arp, Arp, Magnelli and Delaunay collaborated on a series of drawings which were eventually published in Paris in 1950. As described by their friend Gabrielle Buffet-Picabia, “‘one of the four would decide on the initial motif and the other three would develop it by drawing on the same sheet of paper,’ allowing them to create complex abstract images. With this portfolio, the four artists break from traditional modes of creation and authorship, their names credited equally” (William Summerfield, Apollo Magazine, April 2020).
The works were not originally planned to indicate the authors of each drawing, with the intention of leaving the viewer to guess which artists worked on each page. “As writer Stefan Zweifel comments, ‘The works thus became statements against the excessive individualism of the time, in which nationalist mania and the cult of the leader devolved into a destructive power’. Arp later wrote about the experience: ‘We lived there for two years on this wonderful shore, surrounded by trembling crowns of light, waving flower fittings, sounding clouds, creating one of the most beautiful books. All kinds of collaboration have been tested in this book. It bears the names of the four as the title. Originally we planned to make the book appear anonymously. Despite the ominous time, for me the work of that time is one of the most beautiful things I have experienced. All vanity, arrogance, rivalry was eliminated in it.’ Their plan was to publish the portfolio of 10 lithograph prints in Grasse, before their lithographer was captured by the Gestapo. Sonia Delaunay saved these originals. After the war, she brought them to Paris and ‘Album Grasse’ was eventually printed in 1950” (Sophie Taeuber-Arp & Hans Arp: Cooperations-Collaborations: Hauser & Wirth Publishers, 2021). Item #2246