Friday, March 5, 2010

We're All Mad Here

A woodcut illustration of a bearded man with eyeglasses and a top hat."'In that direction,' the Cat said, waving it's right paw round, 'lives a Hatter: and in that direction,' waving the other paw, 'lives a March Hare.  Visit either you like: they're both mad.'"  Confronted with this statement, Alice decides to visit the March Hare as "perhaps as this is May it won't be raving mad - at least not so mad as it was in March."  Unfortunately for her, the March Hare and the Mad Hatter are having tea together and proceed to add to the confusion of the adventure by informing Alice that her hair "wants cutting" and by posing questions such as "Why is a raven like a writing-desk?"

The woodblock for an illustration of a man in a top hat.Alice's Adventures in Wonderland have been illustrated by many artists, starting with John Tenniel and including Peter Newell, Arthur Rackham, and Barry Moser.  Pictured here is Moser's interpretation of the Hatter - the final published print and the original wood block.  His Hatter is a somewhat more sinister character than that depicted in Disney's 1951 film adaptation and one can believe that this gentleman has absorbed enough mercury to become "mad as a hatter."

Ask for Presses P372c to see the Pennyroyal Press edition illustrated by Barry Moser.  The original blocks for Alice and other Moser books can be found in one of our manuscript collections, ML-39.   A finding aid is available.

And of course, we can't forget Alice herself.
A woodcut of a girl with her arms flung out. Her eyes are not visible, shaded by her bangs.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Male Gaze, Male Money

A sketch of a nude man painting a seated nude woman from life.Ambroise Vollard. Pablo Picasso. Honoré de Balzac. Three men. Three artists. Together they created an intriguing artifact. Balzac wrote Le Chef-d'Oeuvre Inconnu. Vollard commissioned Picasso to illustrate the text.

A sketch of a man considering his painting of a nude woman.About art and artists, the story, the men, and their collaboration reveal interesting aspects of their personhood and their craft. Examine for yourself the de luxe Vollard production. The smooth morocco binding, the textured, thick paper, and the choices made by Picasso in his visual depictions done by woodcuts and engravings all suggest an engagement with the text that reveal men in their time and their class.

There are 13 leaves of plates with original engravings by Picasso. In addition, there are many woodcut illustrations by Picasso.

A sketch of a crushing of man in front of an easel as a woman poses for him with her chest bared.

Ask for Rauner Rare Book PQ 2163.C4 1931