Andre Lanskoy, Maurice Beaufume, Pierre Lecuire, “Cortege” 1959
ANDRE LANSKOY (1902-1976) France
64pp, 25 illustrations by Andre Lanskoy and Maurice Beaufume
Cortège is now often compared to “Jazz” as perhaps the finest example of
pochoir in the postwar period. Printed on Arches Vellum paper.
Book: H: 18” x W: 13 3/8” x D: 1 7/8”
Custom leather box 2008: H: 20 ¼” x W: 15” x D: 4 ½”
Custom silk slipcase: H: 21 ½” x W: 15 5/8” x D: 5 3/8”
The artworks of André Lanskoy (1902-1976) are more than abstractions—they are juxtapositions of shapes, assemblages of colors and studies that explore the interfacing of language with visual imagery. A pioneer of Tachism, an artistic movement of the 1940s and 1950s also known as Art Informel or Lyrical Abstraction, Lanskoy emphasized the spontaneous in his paintings, combining surges of pure color with more subtle modulations. His efforts to translate language into abstract visual messages are most evident in two of his bold projects: a rare screen-printed textile and his vivid collages for Pierre Lecuire’s book, Cortège.
Born in Moscow, Lanskoy spent his youth in Russia; in 1921, he moved to Paris and studied at the Académie de la Grande-Chaumière. His first non-figurative works were painted in 1937, with his first Parisian exhibition of abstractions in 1944. As a painter, Lanskoy gave primacy to color, and this holds true for his textile design, Egypte. In 1946, French industrialist Jean Bauret invited several Tachist artists—including Serge Poliakoff, André Beaudin and Henri Michaux—to experiment with designs for furnishing textiles. One of Lanskoy’s contributions to this series was an expressive interpretation of the complex pictorial characters of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. The relationship between the Egyptian writing system and his own glyphs is mainly conceptual: the symbols Lanskoy invented have no inherent meaning, yet their careful placement suggests a text that is meant to be read. Contrasting with the neutral ground, the centered, vertical column is a grid of rectangular cells containing six repeating compilations of mysterious, hieroglyphic-inspired shapes. These cartouche-like compartments are bordered on each side by narrow strips of color blocks with voided linear abstractions. The intense purple and teal hues and vibrant reds and yellow are typical of Lanskoy’s exaltation of color.
Working within the theme of synthesizing language, color and form, Lanskoy tried his hand at an exciting tradition: the livre d’artiste. His first project was a collaboration with poet Pierre Lecuire; their masterpiece Cortège, arguably one of the finest artist-books ever produced, is a dazzling symbiosis of literary and visual material. Lecuire first met Lanskoy in 1948; ten years later, he would enlist his friend to illustrate the long prose poem. At Lecuire’s suggestion, Lanskoy created a series of twenty-four compositions for the book in the papiers collés method; his challenge was to interpret Lecuire’s writing into bold, graphic statements. The author’s opening lines set the tone for Lanskoy’s luminous color harmonies: “This book is a cortège. It has its colors, action and animation. It blazes, it proclaims one knows not which passion, which justice; it flows like the course of a navigation….” As he achieved with Egypte, the vibrant, saturated tints of the abstractions on these particular plates create a language of their own, while the lively arrangement of crisp and jagged forms shows an affinity with the rhythmic cadence of communication.
Remarkable for their dense bursts of color and unfamiliar shapes, the series of collages was masterfully executed in pochoir by colorist Maurice Beaufumé under Lanskoy’s personal direction. The bold, oversized text was printed by Marthe Fequet and Pierre Baudier, and Cortège was released in Paris, December 1959
Andre Lanskoy, Maurice Beaufume, Pierre Lecuire, “Cortege” 1959
AZTEC AD 1325-1475 Mexico.
Important stone carved sculpture of a coiled serpent, AD 1325-1475 Mexico.
***Two scientific authentication reports are available with this sculpture.
H: 10″ x D: 8″
The serpent played a very important role in Aztec religion and was represented in a variety of forms. The majority of the serpents represented in Aztec sculpture are rattlesnakes.
Mexican mythology indicates the snake is a symbol of veneration, worship and honor. Often a symbol of great power, resurrection and rebirth, the snake continues to be a powerful emblem of renewal and transition.
Further, the snake is recognized as a symbol of humanity as a whole. Interestingly, the Mexican perspective provides hope for mankind to aspire to great heights as it correlates the shedding of the serpent’s skin to man’s ability to change his own circumstances and overcome adversity.
The Aztecs build an impressive empire in the valley of Mexico. This thriving area, known as Tenochitlan, was the cultural, religious and trading center of Mesoamerica. Aztecs were the Native American people who dominated northern Mexico at the time of the Spanish conquest led by Hernan Cortez in the early 16th century. According to their own legends, they originated from a place called Aztlan, somewhere in north or northwest Mexico. At that time the Aztecs (who referred to themselves as the Mexica, or Tenochca) were a small, nomadic, Nahuatl-speaking aggregation of tribal peoples living on the margins of civilized Mesoamerica. Sometime in the 12th century they embarked on a period of wandering and in the 13th century settled in the central basin of México. Continually dislodged by the small city-states that fought one another in shifting alliances, the Aztecs finally found refuge on small islands in Lake Texcoco where, in 1325, they founded the town of Tenochtitlan (modern-day Mexico City). The term Aztec, originally associated with the migrant Mexica, is today a collective term, applied to all the peoples linked by trade, custom, religion, and language to these founders. Warriors and pragmatic builders, the Aztecs created an empire during the 15th century that was surpassed in size in the Americas only by that of the Incas in Peru. As early texts and modern archaeology continue to reveal, beyond their conquests and many of their religious practices, the Aztecs had many positive achievements: the formation of a highly specialized and stratified society and an imperial administration, the expansion of a trading network as well as a tribute system, the development and maintenance of a sophisticated agricultural economy (which was carefully adjusted to the land) and the cultivation of an intellectual and religious outlook that held society to be an integral part of the cosmos.