Typographical Tour de Force


L’Ode à Picasso. Poème 1917.

Paris, La Belle Édition, [François Bernouard], 1919.

Tall 8vo, orange-red paper boards by Atelier Devauchelle Paris, publisher’s wrappers printed in orange and black bound in. (66) pp. Text printed in black within orange borders. Complete.

First edition, scarce.

One of the earliest written tributes to Picasso’s genius and a typographical tour de force by the great French typographer and publisher François Bernouard (1884-1948).

Cocteau wrote the work in 1916 but was initially unable to find a publisher. The clever typographical layout resulted in the accusation from the British art historian and Picasso biographer John Richardson that the book is a “slick pastiche” of Mallarmé’s Un Coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard, published in 1914. However, he does go on to say that Cocteau was the only writer to have understood the significance of Picasso’s Seated Man (Peter Kraus). The book is notable for its Cubist-influenced typography.

One of 300 copies on Vergé d’Arches paper numbered 14-313 of a total edition of only 339 copies.

A very good copy.

Ref. Dassonville, Catalogue des impressions de Feu Monsieur François Bernouard, p.15 / Talvart & Place, Bibliographie des auteurs modernes, III, p. 180.