Title: The Fall of the House of Usher
Publisher: The Limited Editions Club, New York
Publication Date: 1985
Illustrator: Alice Neel
Book Condition: As New
Dust Jacket Condition: Publishers clam shell box
Signed: Signed by Illustrator(s)
Edition: Limited Edition
In describing this masterwork of literature, printing and illustration, I will try to describe the illustrator the late Alice Neel as opposed to the famous author Edgar Allan Poe. Edgar Allan poe considered a dead woman an artistic necessity. The death of a beautiful woman served as an inspiration of art itself. Like Poe, Alice Neel died before her brilliance as an artist was fully appreciated by the public in general. Before she died she picked out the illustrations for this book from her personal collection. . There are two color illustrations, the first, is Alice neel's 'Nadja' which represents Poe's Madeline sister of Roderick who is also her "husband and father" as she is his " wife and mother" is both startling and chilling chosen from the personal collection of Neels as was the second 'Requiem". There are two pen and inc, the second a self portrait of a dying artist, frank and remarkably honest . Not unlike a death mask. Alice Neel had begun to develop her ideas fro The Fall of the House of Usher in sketches in the late summer and early fall if 1984. By the time she returned from her summer home in New Jersey her illness-cancer- had progressed to the stage where she was forced to spend most of her time in bed. Shortly before her death in October Neel gave her approval and encouragement to the illustrations selected for the book. 1500 copies of this edition were printed by the Anthoensen Press. The book was designed by ben shiff and was hand set in monotype Dante by Michael and Winifred Bixler, the paper used is mould-made by Cartiere Enrico Magnani. The etchings and lithographs were printed by the water street press, Ltd and bound by John Isakovics. The exquisite side papers on the front and back covers of the book were individually marbled by faith Harrison of Woodstock Connecticut. Harrison used five colors marbled in a turkish stone pattern to achieve the delicate web like effect on the covers, which has been echoed in blood-red Nigerian goat-skin on the fore edges and spine. The book is housed in a fine clam shell box with red velvet lining and bound in black cloth over boards. There is a fine leather label with gilt lettering and border on front. A wonderful collectible and homage to the late great Alice Neel. Book is SIGNED by Raphael Soyer who penned a short biography of Neel for the book and " allegedly" SIGNED by Neel. This is #539, which is an early copy. I would like to think this is her signature, and it may well be, but she died before the book was put together. For the sake of disclosure, this is what I think. Still and all, this book is a treasure for any collection. Bookseller Inventory # 000881
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