Fleurs et Masques, by Gino Severini

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Fleurs et Masques, by Gino Severini. Large folio, 47 X 33cm, 16 colour pochoir plates, 6 pages text, Londres: Frederick Etchells & Hugh Macdonald, 192 Church Street, W.8, 1930.

Tiemann Antiqua and Cochin types. 16 colour pochoir plates by Jean Saude under the supervision of Severini, many heightened with gold leaf. Number 37 of 125 copies on Lafuma paper. Text stated to be printed at the Pelican Press. Cream paper-covered boards with colour decoration, titled in black, cloth-backed card slipcase with printed label. A fine copy sold with some loose leaves, including an extra copy of the first pochoir, 'Prelude', plus a very extensive correspondence between Gino Severini and Hugh Macdonald on the making of the book. Unique.

'The Fleurs et Masques pochoirs are whimsical (almost resembling playing cards) but at the same time sacred and profane. Throughout, Christian iconography  is evident: the mother and child reminisent of Mary and Jesus; 'Icthus' fish and pigeons substituted for doves, perhaps, and grapes representative of an evangelical banquet.' (Charlotte Hodgson of the Victor Batte-Lay Trust)

In the April 1931 number of The Studio, R.H. Wilenski reviewed these sixteen compositions which had appeared as a book. (He also noted that more than fifty stencils had to be cut for some drawings.) Severini's achievement, he wrote, was to have absorbed all the new motifs developed and deployed by contemporary artists - the figures from Venetian mummery and the Russian ballet, the masks and mandolines, and the Cubist transformations of them - and to have fashioned out of them a new and convincing decorative language.

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