Sunday, June 24, 2018

Legion of Honor Symposium and an update on Ongoing Sales


Legion of Honor Symposium


The 2018 Reva and David Logan Symposium on the Artist’s Book will be held on Saturday, July 14, 2018 from 1:00 to 4:00 at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. It is free after museum admission and open to the public with no reservations needed. It accompanies the exhibit at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco called Paris 1913: Reinventing the Artist’s Book.

Organizer Steve Woodall writes: By 1913, Cubism was firmly established as a dominant mode for French artists of the avant-garde. Writers and artists traveled in the same circles, especially in the bohemian communities of Montmartre and Montparnasse, and frequent artist/poet collaborations produced radical new experiments with text and image. In that year, artist Sonia Delaunay and poet Blaise Cendrars collaborated on a groundbreaking artist’s book built around the Cendrars poem “La Prose du Transsibérien et de la petite Jehanne de France.” The 2018 Reva and David Logan Symposium takes this milieu, and La Prose du Transsibérien, as the background for an afternoon of discussions that examine poet/artist collaboration and the book as an art medium.

The keynote speaker is Marjorie Perloff, author of The Futurist Moment: Avant-Garde, Avant-Guerre, and the Language of Rupture, and many other books. Her talk is titled Simultaneity and Difference in La Prose du Transsibérien.

There are four other speakers:
  • Craig Dworkin, Cubist Language: The Abstraction of the Word
  • Harry Reese, Pattern Recognition
  • Inge Bruggeman, Archives and Histories: Collecting and Recollecting
  • Kitty Maryatt, Construction and Deconstruction of a Masterpiece
 For more information, please see the symposium website.


Ongoing Sales 

The project to re-create the Blaise Cendrars/Sonia Delaunay 1913 publication, La Prose du Transsibérien, was published by Two Hands Press on January 1, 2018 and completed books are now shipping. It will take another nine months to a year to complete the entire edition. The title of the book is La Prose du Transsibérien Re-creation. The edition is limited to 150 copies, with 30 hors commerce. The price is $3500 plus shipping and may include sales tax if you live in California. To reserve your copy, please email me at twohandspress@gmail.com. I will send you more information about the book, a reservation form, and a pdf with several images.

The type for the book was printed last June by printer Richard Siebert in San Francisco. Two Hands Press licensed a high-resolution scan of La Prose from The Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. Richard removed the surrounding pochoir colors from the Blaise Cendrars poem and then went through the whole text for weeks, cleaning up nearly every letter. Sixteen photo-polymer plates were needed to print the four 16 x 23 inch pages, with each one printed in four colors: orange, ruby red, green and blue. Each of the one thousand sheets was printed four times on his Heidelberg letterpress. The printing is very crisp and uses exactly the format of the original.

The gouache color for the Sonia Delaunay imagery is being hand-applied at Two Hands Press using thin metal stencils (pochoir = stencil in French). There are about twenty-five aluminum stencils for each of the four sheets, or one hundred in all. The sixty-six colors have been selected with great care to match the originals. I worked primarily with originals at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Palace of the Legion of Honor, and viewed nine other originals in the US, France and England. The 2008 Yale University facsimile was invaluable in the process; about one hundred tracings of the Yale facsimile were needed as patterns for cutting the aluminum pochoir plates.

The over six-foot book is folded once down the center and folded again into twenty-one panels to result in a book that is 3.625 by 7.125 inches. On one side you see the Delaunay image and on the facing side you see the Cendrars poem with the enhancing pochoir surrounding the type. A booklet with a description of the processes accompanies La Prose. The book is held unattached in its painted vellum cover. Both the book and the booklet are contained in an acrylic slipcase.
Finished, unfolded copy of La Prose du Transsibérien Re-creation
Painted vellum cover holds folded La Prose (left), Booklet with description of processes (right), vellum cover and booklet cover (center); all these parts fit into the acrylic slipcase
Front and back of vellum covers, with acrylic slipcase

Saturday, December 2, 2017

It's time to reserve your copy at the pre-sale price!

The project to re-create the Blaise Cendrars/Sonia Delaunay 1913 publication, La Prose du Transsibérien, is in its pre-publication phase. I am planning an edition of 150 copies, with 30 hors commerce. The publication date is January 1, 2018 with pre-sales starting November 1, 2017. The discounted price of $2750 will be in effect from November 1 to December 30, 2017. The price will be $3500 on January 1, 2018

To reserve your copy at the prepaid prepublication price of $2750, please email me at twohandspress@gmail.com or by snail mail. The check should be sent to Two Hands Press before January 1, 2018. The delivery date will be subject to the completion of the printing of the booklet and the binding, but is planned be close to January 1, 2018. Delivery of the first 43 will be made in the order prepaid reservations are received. If there is a deluge of pre-sales orders, then the next copies will be shipped by March 2018.

The type for the book was printed last June by printer Richard Siebert in San Francisco. Two Hands Press licensed a high-resolution scan of La Prose from The Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. Richard removed the surrounding pochoir colors from the Blaise Cendrars poem and then went through the whole text for weeks, cleaning up nearly every letter. Sixteen photo-polymer plates were needed to print the four 16 x 23 inch pages, with each one printed in four colors: orange, ruby red, green and blue. Each of the 1000 sheets was printed four times on his Heidelberg letterpress. The printing is very crisp and uses exactly the form of the original.

The gouache color for the Sonia Delaunay imagery is hand-applied using thin metal stencils (pochoir = stencil in French). There are about 25 aluminum stencils for each of the four sheets, or 100 in all. The 50 or so colors have been selected with great care to match the originals. I worked primarily with originals at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Palace of the Legion of Honor, and viewed nine other originals in the US, France and England.

The pochoir for five display copies was completed in France; the pochoir for 43 more copies has been completed at Two Hands Press. The remaining 137 copies in the edition will take another six to nine months to complete. About 75% of the first copies were done in France where Kitty and her assistant Chris Yuengling-Niles spent almost two months working daily with Christine Menguy at Atelier Coloris, who fine-tuned their skills in the pochoir process. The next step is to paint the vellum covers and print the booklet that accompanies La Prose.

The book is folded once down the center and 21 times across to result in a book that is 3.625 by 7.25 inches. On one side you see the Delaunay image and on the facing side you see the Cendrars poem with the enhancing pochoir surrounding the type. The book is held unattached in its vellum cover. A booklet will accompany La Prose and will have a description of the processes.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Prepublication parties in New York and Boston!

We are pleased to announce TWO pre-publication events on the East Coast!

New York

Monday, November 20, 2017
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Center for Book Arts, 28 W. 27 th Street, New York, NY 10001
TICKETS: Admission is free! RSVP to the CBA: 212-481-0295

Boston

Tuesday, November 21, 2017
6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
North Bennett Street School, 150 North Street, Boston, MA 02109
TICKETS: Admission is free! RSVP to NBSS (617) 227-0155


ABOUT the PARTY: You are invited to the pre-publication party to preview the re-
creation of the1913 book, La Prose du Transsibérien, by poet Blaise Cendrars and
painter Sonia Delaunay, published in a new edition by Kitty Maryatt of Two Hands
Press. La Prose is considered to be one of the most remarkable artists’ books of the
twentieth century.

ABOUT the LECTURE and EXHIBITION: Kitty Maryatt will give a talk about her
extensive research on La Prose and will premiere a short video detailing the making
of this new edition. There will be a pop-up exhibition of several copies of the book in
both folded and scroll formats.

ABOUT the BOOK: The type was letterpress-printed by Richard Siebert with photo-
polymer plates, and the gouache imagery was hand-painted using the original 1913
pochoir techniques. Kitty Maryatt and her assistant Chris Yuengling-Niles have been
producing the pochoir under the supervision of Christine Menguy of Atelier Coloris
in Ploubazlanec, France and will complete the edition at Two Hands Press in Playa
Vista, California next year.

The size of the edition is 150 copies plus 30 hors commerce. The price is $2750 until
the publication date of January 1, 2018 after which time it will increase to $3500.
The book is made up of four 16 x 23 inch parent pages, which are cut to size after
printing and after application of the 100 pochoir stencils and extensive handwork.
The four pages are glued together, folded vertically and then accordion-folded into
sections. The finished book size when folded is 7 1/8 inches by 3 5/8 inches and is
housed in a painted vellum cover. When unfolded, the book is 14 1/4 inches wide x
6 ½ feet long. The book will be accompanied by a booklet containing a description of
the production processes and an English translation of the poem by Timothy Young
of Yale University.

ABOUT the LECTURER: Kitty Maryatt is Director Emerita of the Scripps College
Press and was also Assistant Professor of Art at Scripps College in Claremont,
California. She taught Typography and the Book Arts at Scripps for 30 years. She
recently received the Oscar Lewis Award for the Book Arts from the Book Club of
California.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION about the project: laprosepochoir.blogspot.com or
contact Kitty Maryatt at twohandspress@gmail.com

Sunday, October 8, 2017

You're invited to the Pre-publication Party in San Francisco!!!


EVENT: La Prose du Transsibérien Pre-Publication Party

DATE: Friday, November 3, 2017

TIME: 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

LOCATION: San Francisco Center for the Book, 375 Rhode Island Street, San Francisco, CA

TICKETS: Admission is free! RSVP to the SF Center for the Book  (415) 565-0545

ABOUT the PARTY: You are invited to the pre-publication party to preview the re-creation of the1913 book, La Prose du Transsibérien, by poet Blaise Cendrars and painter Sonia Delaunay, published in a new edition by Kitty Maryatt of Two Hands Press. La Prose is considered to be one of the most remarkable artists’ books of the twentieth century.

ABOUT the LECTURE and EXHIBITION: Kitty Maryatt will give a talk about her extensive research on La Prose and will premiere a short video detailing the making of this new edition. There will be a pop-up exhibition of several copies of the book in both folded and scroll formats.

ABOUT the BOOK: The type was letterpress-printed by Richard Siebert with photo-polymer plates, and the gouache imagery was hand-painted using the original 1913 pochoir techniques. Kitty Maryatt and her assistant Chris Yuengling-Niles have been producing the pochoir under the supervision of Christine Menguy of Atelier Coloris in Ploubazlanec, France and will complete the edition at Two Hands Press in Playa Vista, California next year.

The size of the edition is 150 copies plus 30 hors commerce. The price is $2750 until the publication date of January 1, 2018 after which time it will increase to $3500.

The book is made up of four 16 x 23 inch parent pages, which are cut to size after printing and after application of the 100 pochoir stencils and extensive handwork. The four pages are glued together, folded vertically and then accordion-folded into sections. The finished book size when folded is 7 1/8 inches by 3 5/8 inches and is housed in a painted vellum cover. When unfolded, the book is 14 1/4 inches wide x 6 ½ feet long. The book will be accompanied by a booklet containing a description of the production processes and an English translation of the poem by Timothy Young of Yale University.

ABOUT the LECTURER: Kitty Maryatt is Director Emerita of the Scripps College Press and was also Assistant Professor of Art at Scripps College in Claremont, California. She taught Typography and the Book Arts at Scripps for 30 years. She recently received the Oscar Lewis Award for the Book Arts from the Book Club of California.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION about the project: laprosepochoir.blogspot.com or contact Kitty Maryatt at twohandspress@gmail.com

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Letterpress Printing


The type for La Prose was originally printed by letterpress with metal type at Imprimerie Crété in Corbeil, France, about 115 miles from Paris. Blaise Cendrars already had a relationship with this important printing company where he had his second book, Séquences, printed in early 1913. Crété was an enormous firm taking up an entire city block in Corbeil. (1)


Aerial view of the entire city block inhabited by Imprimerie Crété in Corbeil, France
 Not only did they have the latest printing equipment and hundreds of type cases, they also had a bindery and a large room for pochoir.


Crété had many large rooms full of printing equipment, including photogravure


One of the type composing rooms at Crété


There are at least nine pocheurs in this photo of the pochoir room at Crété; it’s possible that La Prose was colored here

Blaise would travel frequently from Paris to Crété to work with the typesetters, but Créte also had an office in Paris. As with all large printing firms, they had a catalog of all the typefaces they had in-house. Surely Blaise chose the 38 different typefaces for La Prose from this catalog.


One of the typefaces used in La Prose identified by Michael Caine from the Crété catalog

 He would have received galley proofs of the newly-set type and made corrections during the entire process. Proofs of the poem were set on long galleys; this may have given Blaise and Sonia the idea to orient the book vertically when they received the first proofs. These later proofs in the photo are closer to the actual printing date since they already are in layout position.



These proofs were reproduced by Edition Pierre Seghers in 1966 in his facsimile of the type in La Prose


These proofs were reproduced by Edition Pierre Seghers in 1966 in his facsimile of the type in La Prose

All of the facsimiles of La Prose published to date have been photographic copies of an original copy in a museum or university and were printed by the offset process. For my re-creation of La Prose, I wanted to use the original techniques of pochoir and letterpress. My plan was to find digital equivalents of the original typefaces in order to print the type by letterpress with photo-polymer plates. I didn’t imagine that I could find the original typefaces in metal. I met type expert Steven Coles at the Letterform Archive in San Francisco on December 19, 2016, just as I started to look through French type catalogs like Deberny et Peignot to identify the main typefaces used. He expressed interest in helping me with the project, and so he embarked on the quest to find digital equivalents of the many typefaces. 

During the Codex book fair in early February, I met Jamie Murphy from Ireland who told me about Michael Caine, a collector of early 20th century metal type, who might help me with locating the original typefaces. Michael became quite excited about the possibility of finding the fonts and printing the book in Paris at his studio. I asked Stephen Coles to stop his searching when Michael assured me that he could find the necessary typefaces. I asked Michael to research the actual names of the typefaces used and to look for the Crété catalog of their faces. Happily, he found the catalog and eventually sent me the names of the many faces used. I will post the list when it is in final order. Unfortunately, by the beginning of April, it was clear that he could not find the metal type in Paris, though he did find one major typeface in Switzerland that could be newly cast for 5000 Euros. I finally had to acknowledge that the project could not be done in metal in my time frame at a reasonable cost and sadly asked Michael to stop work on April 3. 

When I visited the Legion of Honor’s copy of La Prose again on March 28, I noticed that the printing of the type was quite beautiful and sharp and realized suddenly that the copy was on Japon paper. Conservator Debbie Evans double-checked this for me with a microscope. The copy is unnumbered, so I had assumed earlier that it was on simili Japon like all the other unnumbered copies. This is the only copy on Japon in the US in a public institution. Steve Woodall had told me that they had made high-resolution digital scans of La Prose, so when I was at a crossroads on April 3, I remembered those digital scans. I sent a request to Steve to license the scans and I had a license from the Legion of Honor in hand in two days. What a lifesaver! In the video below, Steve talks about the relationship between their copy and the facsimile project:



I immediately contacted Richard Siebert in Berkeley who agreed to manage the scans and prepare the sixteen photo-polymer plates needed and print the book by letterpress on his beautiful Heidelberg press.


Richard Siebert with his magnificent Heidelberg press
My plan was to have the printed pages ready for my trip to France in June for Atelier Coloris to do the pochoir over the next several months. I was hoping that I could be their assistant and help them. Unfortunately, Nathalie Couderc had brain surgery and was unable to work on the project. I made a decision to ask my assistant Chris Yuengling-Niles to join me in France for seven weeks. Chris had been working on my facsimile projects and learning pochoir at my studio since February. Christine Menguy agreed to supervise the two of us at Atelier Coloris. I decided to take to France only 200 of the 1000 printed sheets; that means I took 50 printed sheets for each of the four pages. That would limit any disaster in transporting the unfinished and then finished pages to and from Ploubazlanec, France.

Over the next several months, Richard Siebert worked on the scans. Some of the lines of type were damaged because of the folds, and most of the type needed fine-tuning. There are 445 lines in the poem (447 on the actual printed La Prose version). Nearly every letterform needed cleaning up. Richard called it “turning buckshot into type.”


Partial scan from first of four pages


 

Richard eventually separated the scans into the four colors for each page and sent me digital proofs by email. He was actually done with the printing only two days before I left for France on June 25. Here's Richard with La Prose running through his press:




Luggage on September 6 return, five suitcases and four carry-ons

I placed my left side pochoir facsimiles on two of the completed pages and took photos of the final printing.


Page 2 freshly printed, with just completed left side pochoir laid on top


Page 4 freshly printed, with just completed left side pochoir laid on top

I then drove down to Los Angeles with 1000 pages and proceeded to pack 200 sheets, 16 by 23 inches, (40 lbs.) in a big suitcase. The other big suitcase held the 92 pochoir metal plates and extra uncut plates (42 lbs.). Jars and tubes of gouache, tools and clothes were in another suitcase, and Chris even packed some leftovers in her suitcase. I returned on September 6 (having taken three more weeks to travel around Europe with my husband Gary Lindgren) with five suitcases and four carry-ons. (11) Seventy-five percent of all the pochoir was finished on those 200 printed pages, and five books were completed but not glued. All the paper, plates, jars and brushes returned intact and undamaged, thank goodness. 

Keep a lookout for the announcement of our pre-publication party, coming soon!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Maquettes for all four pages


An edition of sixteen copies of the pochoir on the first page was made for the eleven underwriters for this project. One copy was sent to each of them just before I left for France on June 25. This edition was a chance to finalize the colors for the entire edition and to work out some pesky issues with the half-moon shapes at the top and side of the page. I decided to cut an entire new set of stencils after I adjusted some of the shapes. These eighteen new stencils worked like a dream on the Rives heavyweight paper chosen for the project, though if you swirl your brush too much the paper will abrade, and you still have to watch for seepage under the stencil shape if your brush is too wet, or if the direction of the gesture is wrong for the shape.

I went to the Legion of Honor with Richard Siebert, who would be printing the book, to check yet again the colors for the type and for the pochoir. Note that the Legion copy is on Japon, and the colors are somewhat softer than those on simili Japon.

Comparison of my facsimile (left) with the Legion of Honor copy (right)

Just before I went to France I visited the Getty with my assistant Chris Yuengling- Niles to see their original copy again on simili Japon for another color check. Finally nearly all of the colors for the three copies I have been working with extensively (Getty, LACMA, Legion of Honor) match according to my numbering system. The newest list follows.



The pochoir for La Prose might have been done at Imprimerie Crété, where they employed at least six pocheurs. Normally each pocheur would have one color to work on for the whole edition, possibly all in one day if the edition were small. In that way she could make all the pages in the edition the same color. Small differences in color within an edition could be due to having to mix more color if you run out, or having more color in the pochoir brush than planned, or less. If you have to stop at the end of the day and return to the editioning the next day, getting the color exactly the same intensity again takes skill. The humidity and temperature in the room can affect the application of the color as well.

The next task I had was to make an edition of five copies of all the left side pages, which meant  first making a master tracing of each page.

Master tracing of p. 2
Master tracing of p. 3

After comparing all of the colors on pages 2, 3 and 4 to the colors on the first page, I made a master list of colors for the whole book. There are 21 base colors in total, plus 20 tints of the base colors, just for the left side.

Forty-one jars and brushes are needed for the left side colors

 Mixing tints of black
For each page, you have make tracings for each color and cut the stencils so you can start the pochoir.


All the tracings for the colors on page 3
Tracing for color 8 (light blue) on page 3

Detail of stencil for color 8 on page 3

Instead of working on one page at a time, I decided to work on all four pages in series, so that I could mix one color, use one brush, and just change pages.

Five colors on four pages
Thirteen colors on four pages

I hoped that the order of laying down the colors would be nearly the same for each page. Normally you work from light to dark, but I had to examine closely the Yale facsimile (and the original copies) to see which color was on top when there were several layered colors.


Getty Research Institute copy, layered colors
Getty Research Institute copy, note light green is under the pink andyellow-orange, the pink is on top of the green, and the bright yellow is on top
of the green
The fourth page order was remarkably different after the third color, so it was a little crazy-making to do the edition this way. To facilitate this effort, my assistant Chris placed each stencil on its tracing master and prepared each color as I worked through the series.

Once I completed all the colors and tints on all the pages (14), I was finally able to place them in vertical order and see how they looked all together. (15)

Forty-one colors on four pages

Vertical order of the pages, uncut and unglued

They were completed the night before I was to drive to San Francisco to pick up the printed pages from Richard Siebert, which was two days before I left for France. I had hoped to have the printed pages in hand at least a week before I left, so that I could do the same process for all the right side pages. I wanted to cut all the stencils and make maquettes for the right side, but I couldn’t do that until the printed pages were done. So I had to do that task once I arrived at Atelier Coloris in France.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Paper Choices

Editor's Note: Vistors may be interested to know that we have recently uploaded Kitty's census of copies of La Prose. Check it out here.

In the early days of pochoir (1910s to 1930s), color was added by stencil to an image after it was printed by the collotype process. This process preceded offset printing; the image was either a keyline or could be a continuous shaded image. Pochoir was the first choice for the Parisian fashion magazines at the time because of the large numbers of colors that could be applied efficiently. The atelier where Nathalie and Christine worked in the late 70s, Daniel Jacomet, was established early in this period. Occasionally there was no printed image before the pochoir was applied, as in Blaise Cendrars’ 1919 book La Fin du Monde. There were 1225 copies of this book printed. A substantial number of Léger textual images were added by pochoir, an enormous task for the pocheurs at Atelier Richard in Paris.

La Fin du Monde, text by Blaise Cendrars, images by Fernand Léger
The pochoir images in La Prose du Transsibérien are based on Sonia Delaunay’s oil painting and her gouache maquette. Only the text and the Michelin map are printed by letterpress. The paper for the majority of the planned 150 copies is called "simili Japon," which appears to be a commercial French laid paper. Twenty-six copies were printed on Japon, one of many types of Japanese paper sold by the Japan Paper Company. The simili Japon is neither cream nor white, but rather a darkish white/cream (it may have darkened over time), whereas the Japon is somewhat whiter.

Title on Japon, Legion of Honor copy

Title on simili Japon, Getty Research Institute copy

The printing of the text on the Japon copies is beautiful and sharp, whereas on the simili Japon it is somewhat grainy and overinked. This shows how the choice of paper affects not only the end result for the printing, but also for the pochoir.

Text on Legion of Honor copy

Text on Getty Research Institute copy

Atelier Coloris is often commissioned by museums to make reproductions of artworks to sell in museum stores, and they nearly always use Rives BFK papers. This is too thick for my purposes because of the folding scheme. I sent samples of letterpress-friendly papers for Atelier Coloris to test: Bugra, Zerkall Book, Zerkall Laid, Biblio, Frankfurt Crème, Frankfurt White, Arturo, Rives Heavyweight. Christine Menguy responded that her preferred papers for pochoir were: Biblio, Bugra and Rives HW. The problems she encountered were: poor color absorption with Zerkall, Frankfurt makes stripes (shows the brush strokes) though it softens well, and Arturo makes stripes.  

While I was waiting for her results, I made a facsimile edition for the Zamorano Club on Frankfurt Crème, which I talked about in the last blog entry. The issues my assistant Chris Yuengling-Niles encountered were these: the color slipped under the stencil more often than desired, possibly because of the sizing, and the brush strokes showed on dark colors like blue and showed even on the light blue. So the absorption of the gouache into the paper is a critical factor to consider.

I chose three papers to test for my next full-page facsimiles, four sheets for each type of paper for an edition of twelve. The papers tested were: Zerkall Crème, Biblio, and Rives HW.

A new edition of 12 facsimiles on three papers: Biblio, Zerkall Crème, and Rives Heavyweight

The Zerkall paper had the same difficulties as the Frankfurt Crème with seepage under the stencil and the brush strokes, and the Biblio paper tended to pill up if you swirled with the brush too long. So Rives HW was chosen, even though it is not a laid paper like the original, nor is it the same color as the original, which proved impossible to match. But it looks more like the Japon paper, which is a soft white color and has a smooth surface. I had tested a number of possible Japanese papers at Hiromi’s in LA, but the fibers pulled up rather quickly when the brush swirled, so I rejected using Japanese paper. Those pocheurs in 1913 must have had a very light touch while making the copies on Japon, since I only saw one or two areas on the Legion of Honor copy on Japon which had this same problem. I did not notice this on the Bibliothèque Nationale copy or the one at the Jacques Doucet Library in Paris, both on Japon, but at that time I wasn’t looking for it.

I had originally chosen Rives HW in 2015 to take to France for the first facsimiles, but Nathalie preferred a paper she had in-house. I had made a sample binding with that paper in 2015 so I could see the issues in gluing and folding the book. The Rives paper measures 11 mil, while the simili Japon is 10 mil and the Japon is 7.5 mil, so it seemed like the Rives HW was an appropriate thickness for the project. It also folded well against the grain when making the first fold along the over six-foot length of the book.

Once the Rives HW paper was selected, I took the new sample to LACMA to compare it with the original. A few of the areas had a slightly different brush stroke, like the light blue at the bottom, but the basic stencils were all the same shape.

Comparison of the Rives HW facsimile (left) with the LACMA copy (right)

Some of the colors were still slightly different from the original, and so my master list of colors was adjusted again. I am depending on a combination of Pantone colors and gouache samples to pin down the exact colors, but it’s difficult when there’s a finite number of Pantone colors. It would be so exciting and helpful to see all three originals right next to each other. Here's the updated list of colors for three originals:


My next task is to make a new facsimile of the first page with adjusted colors to match the LACMA copy and take it there for a final check. When I am in France, I will not have a copy nearby to check the colors, so this has to be done now. I have to make new tracings of pages two, three and four and identify the colors, trusting that many are the same as the first page. Then I will cut as many stencils as possible, make facsimiles and check the colors again before I go off to France.

Meanwhile, the digital scans we licensed from the Palace of the Legion of Honor are being worked on by Richard Siebert in San Francisco. The background has to be removed so that the type is as sharp as possible. Sometimes the pochoir covers the type, and often the fold of the paper mars the type, so that probably each letter of the 447 lines has to be fixed. Then the type has to be separated into the sixteen print runs for the four colors on each page and photopolymer plates made. Richard will print the book on his beautiful Heidelburg press that will take sheets of 15.5 x 23 inches, exactly big enough for my project.