Inspired by Literature: Art and Fine Books

Willem de Kooning Illustration for the poem “A Man Without A Country” by Frank O
Nov 21, 2008 - Jul 05, 2009
Eisenberg Gallery

Exploring the inspiration of great writers on contemporary artists, this exhibition features a selection of recent Limited Edition Club publications, including Willem de Kooning’s Seventeen Lithographs for Frank O’Hara (1988); Robert Motherwell’s lithographs for the Octavio Paz Suite (1988); Sean Scully’s color intaglios accompanying excerpts from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (1992); Balthus’s illustrations for Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (1994); Edward Ranney’s photogravures for Heights of Machu Picchu (1999); Dean Mitchell’s colored etchings inspired by jazz (2003); and photogravures by Duane Michals inspired by the poetry of Constantine P. Cavafy (2003). 

Today, when the internet makes a book’s entire text readily available, it is a luxury to experience an elegantly produced book, one with pages of handmade paper imprinted with words set in beautiful typography and enhanced by an artist’s original prints. The New York-based Limited Editions Club, which was founded in 1929, is still one of America’s finest publishers of artist-illustrated limited edition books. In 2007, Sidney Shiff, who has headed Limited Editions Club since 1978, donated a group of contemporary Limited Editions Club exhibition portfolios to the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum in honor of his longtime friend Ralph W. Voorhees, who is also a great friend to this museum and Rutgers University. This exhibition presents a selection of prints and photogravures from this wonderful gift, complemented by an important loan of Limited Editions Club books illustrated by Leonard Baskin, Fritz Eichenberg, Jacob Lawrence, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Robert Motherwell from the Special Collections of Rutgers University Libraries.

Organized by Marilyn Symmes, Director of the Morse Research Center for Graphic Arts and Curator of Prints and Drawings


Willem de Kooning

Illustration for the poem “A Man Without A Country” by Frank O’Hara

Published by the Limited Editions Club, New York, 1988

Collection Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers

Gift of Sidney Shiff in honor of Ralph W. Voorhees

© 2008 The Willem de Kooning Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York