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Le Courtisan Grotesque
de Cramail dit Comte

Item date(s): 1974

Joan Miró
Ilia Zdanevich (Iliazd)
Adrian de Monluc

Pages: unpaged
Size: 465mm
Collation: 32 bifolia
Technique: Colour etchings printed on single fold sheets
Edition: #71/95

Publisher: Le Degré Quarante-et-un
Cat. 021 - MM2
Exhibition 2017

Additional notes:
Texte des éditions 1630 & 1621.

Exemplaires sur Japon Ancinet aux suites sur Chine 1 a 6.

Auvergne Richard de Bas aux suites sur Chine 7 a 12.

Japon Ancien 13 a 24

Chine 25 a 33.

Auvergne 34 a 95

XV nominatifs

Atelier Lacourière & Frélaut. Imprimerie Union Louis Barnier.

Handmade paper wrapper - Parchment wrapper (with title on cover) - paper chemise - single folded blank signature - 15 double-page signatures with text and illustrations - single folded blank signature.

Housed in a beige linen slipcase.

Illustrated on back cover of Elizabeth Phillips' catalogue, Spring 1996.

Taken from her catalogue:

This is a remarkable collaboration between Miro and Iliazd. Donsidered to be one of Miro's most successful illustrated books, it is richly illustrated with his colorful and whimsical etchings.

Iliazd was an extraordinary figure in the history of the Livre d'artiste. His distinguished editions are characterized by their innovative typography, unique design and unusual choice of text. This is the last book published by iliazd. Monluc, a seventeenth century French writer Iliazd rediscovered, weote the sardonic tale of an unattractive royal court attendant which Miro illustrated with court humour. The text is printed horizontally and vertically creating a visual rhythm so that the reader is physically engaged while reading the book.

Joan Miro: The Illustrated Books by PatrickCramer, p182

Iliazd and the Illustrated Book, Plates 38 and 39.

Contemporary Illustrated Books, MoMA, 1987, p19.

Le Peintre et le livre by Francois Chapon, Flammarion, Paris, 1987, p296.

Reference note:
Another copy:


Modern Illustrated Books, Artist Books, Prints and Posters 1874  – 2000

[46]. — Iliazd's typographic masterpiece 'Le Courtisan Grotesque' with illustration by Miró.

MIRO, Joan. Monluc, Adrien de. (Comte de Cramail). Le Courtisan Grotesque.

From the edition limited to 110 copies signed by the artist and publisher in pencil, with this one of 60 copies on Auvergne Richard de Bas.

'Le Courtisan Grotesque' was Iliazd's final printed and published book but he had first written to Miró concerning the project in 1951. Further discussions occurred in the mid-1960s but it was not until 1971 that production began in earnest and it was only in 1974, in time for Iliazd's 80th birthday on April 21st, that the book was completed.

'I find the book more and more beautiful, and I am very proud to have done it with you.' (Miro writing to Iliazd in December 1974).

'Nowhere is Iliazd's typographic skill more apparent than in the artfully deft handling of typography to indicate puns within the seventeenth-century text of Adrien de Monluc that appears in Le Courtisan Grotesque (1974). In that work, Iliazd called attention to the wordplay by setting the phrases containing double entendres sideways within the line. A difficult technical task, one for which Iliazd's early apprenticeship with the elaborate pages of Ledentu (1923) had prepared him more than fifty years earlier. The aesthetic judgement with which Iliazd subsumed his youthful exuberant spirit of radical experiment into the almost classical-seeming beauty of the works of his later decades bears tribute to his capacity to preserve the best of his early discoveries within the context of a more artistic vision.' (Johanna Drucker, Iliazd and the Art of the Book).

'The typographic virtuosity involved in setting the letters of phrases that contain wordplay is almost invisible to anyone unfamiliar with the letterpress process. But the justification of each line (the process by which it is made into a solid form so it can print correctly) would have required hours of meticulous attention.' (Drucker).

References: Cramer 182; Isselbacher 17; see 'Iliazd and the Art of the Book' by Johanna Drucker in 'Splendid Pages, The Molly and Walter Bareiss Collection of Modern Illustrated Books', 2003.


Paris Iliazd / Le Degré Quarante et Un 1974

Folio. (462 x 340 mm). [32 bifolia]. Title and text illustrated with 15 colour etchings by Miró, all printed on single folded sheets, final leaf with justification and achevé d'imprimer.

Loose as issued in original vellum wrappers with a colour etching by Miró to front cover, additional jacket of 'papier de boucher', publisher's grey cloth chemise with title and monogram to spine in black and matching slipcase.

Exhibition notes:
Item 021 - MM2 on Booknesses: Artists' books from the Jack Ginsberg Collection. UJ Art Gallery, University of Johannesburg. 25 March to 5 May 2017

Ref: GB/14146

© Jack Ginsberg Centre for Book Arts (JGCBA). All rights reserved.