Stonington, CT: Wequetequock Cove Editions, 2010. Artist's book, one of 26 copies, hand-painted throughout on velin d'arches, each copy signed by the now-deceased author, Michel Butor, the artist, Julius Baltazar and the translator, who is also the publisher, Joshua Watsky. Page size: 10-3/4 x 7-1/2 inches; 38pp. (including 4 hand-painted endsheets). Bound: loose as issued by the press, in tan wrappers with title printed in black in French and English on both the spine and front cover, housed in custom-made black cloth over boards clamshell box with title in both French and English in black on white paper label on spine. Hand-painted throughout by Julius Baltazar, the art is in a palette of lavender and earth tones of brown, blue, red and yellow, with black and white highlights. Michel Butor's poem, the French with Joshua Watsky's forceful English translation following it on each page, is a narration by the volcano itself. "...I am seized with a fury rising from my agitated gut...bursting from my crater my vengeance upon human corruption and the shame of armies..." Capturing the force of nature, never subject to human control, Etna's words recount how it unpredictably spews ash, flame, and destruction on mankind. Butor's text is complemented by Baltazar's paintings - each page a whirlwind of nature's wrath in grey ash and red lava, turning the skies (page backgrounds) a lavender-grey only infrequently letting in glimpses of light (white). Accomplished in watercolor and black India ink, Baltazar's art, with Butor's (and Watsky's) words complete a dizzying natural cycle. The text is hand set in 18pt. Garamond and printed letterpress at Francois Huin, Typographie, in L'Hay-les-Roses, France.
Julius Baltazar (1949-) is a noted French painter and printmaker, who has worked with major poets and writers to create livres d'artistes of the highest quality. In the early part of his career, he was championed by Dali and the resulting influence of surrealism can be seen in his work where words and image create images of haunting beauty. Joshua Watsky, American teacher, translator and poet, is the publisher as well as translator of this livre d'artiste. Michel Butor (1926-2016), born in France, has taught in Egypt, Manchester, Salonika and the USA, and has been awarded the Prix Renaudot, Prix Feneon and Prix Apollo, among other accolades. Considered an experimental writer, his novels, essays, and verse explore various structures and unconventional voices - as here with the volcano speaking to us. He is noted for the livre d'artiste - as exemplified in this provocative piece of art / literature. Item #10946