Paris: PAB, 1964. 8vo (9.75 x 7 inches; 248 x 178 mm). 98,  pages. Printed on Arches.
ONE OF 50 COPIES WITH FOUR ORIGINAL SIGNED PRINTS BY GEORGES BRAQUE, ALBERTO GIACOMETTI, JOAN MIRÓ, and MARIA HELENA VIEIRA DA SILVA; and 12 illustrations in text by Valentine Hugo (portrait of René Char), Giacometti, Jean Hugo (2), Joan Miró (2), Braque, Picasso, P.A.B., Victor Brauner, Greta Knutson (2).
EXQUISITE DESIGNER BINDING BY RENAUD VERNIER, finished by CLAUDE RIBAL, gilt-stamped signed by Vernier on the front turn in, dated 2018: grey buffalo, boards cut to an asymmetrical pattern and each side centering a curvilinear inset panel of macassar wood cornered with rivets, velvet goatskin linings and guards, title lettered on the smooth spine by Ribal, stamped signed by him on the rear turn-in, all edges gilt; chemise lettered by Ribal; slipcase.
Renaud Vernier was awarded the title of Maitre d'art in 2000 by the French Ministry of culture, and he is one of only three binders to receive this prestigious award. Vernier follows traditional methods in the practice of modern designer bookbinding, and often integrates unusual materials considered more challenging to the artist. On the present binding, the use of buffalo shows Vernier's deft handling of a difficult material known to require great technical skill to execute with success. Each binding demands an exacting detail and attention, and Vernier now only completes three bindings a year. The exacting nature of Renaud Vernier's refined art is embodied in this stunning creation. Item #404853
RENE CHAR'S COPY, DESIGNATED COPY NUMBER 1 on the colophon from the edition of 50, bound with autograph correspondence to him from the publisher P.A.B., and further enhanced with P.A.B.'s holograph errata and a marked printed proof of the errata leaf.
This edition, printed in 50 copies, is scarcely found complete due to the number of copies broken for the extraction of the original signed prints (though they too rarely come on the market as stand-alones). The prints are bound at end, following the colophon, and comprise:
Georges Braque. [Untitled]. Engraving on wove paper, signed in pencil. Valier 191.
Alberto Giacometti. [Untitled]. Etching on wove paper, signed in pencil (Lust erroneously calls for an edition of 100). Lust 176.
Joan Miró. [Untitled]. Drypoint on wove paper, signed in pencil. Cramer 93.
Maria Helena Vieira da Silva. [Untitled]. Etching on wove paper, signed in pencil.
After the lengthy editing process, PAB discovered numerous errors in the text and wrote to Char: "J’ai étant relu et il faut un errata. C’est impensable toutes ces erreurs ! Lamentable bref il n’y a plus rien à faire. Ci-joint le texte de l’errata. Voyez-vous autre chose. Il fait très froid. Votre, PAB." ["I have reread [the bibliography] and it’s necessary to have an errata. Regrettable, but anyway, there’s nothing else to do. Attached is the text of the errata. See to other things. It is very cold. Yours, PAB."]
Less than a month later, PAB sent Char his copy, designated No. I, with the errata, offering him the corrected errata and the manuscript. He adds a last word by letter, posted from Alès on December 30: "C’est un plaisir de s’occuper de ce que l’an aime, mais aussi, à cause de cette amour, quelle angoisse de ne pas faire mieux, malgré tante l’aide recherchée. Si peu que ce sait ce servi tant ce que j’aurai fait d’utile. Ne voyez là qu’un signe du cœur. PAB" ["It is a pleasure to handle what one loves, but also, because of this love, what anguish to not have done better, despite all of the help I received in research. So little of the measures of care I have taken will be known. See that this work is but a sign of heart. PAB."
Born in Alès in 1921, Pierre-André Benoit began his activity in 1949, on the advice of his friend Jean Hugo. Nearly 800 books, in special formats, most often "tiny", were produced by PAB under its own imprint. After having tried typographic composition on a press installed in his apartment in Alès, he began using celluloid engraving in 1949, which enabled him to make the printing plates himself and to produce the entire book. Three years after he began, he wrote his first letter to René Char in the hope of a future collaboration: "I am neither a publisher nor a printer, but I make small books printed in a few copies. If it amuses you, I would be very happy to print one or more of your poems, either in a very small format or by expanding it" (October 3, 1951).... Their first collaboration was 'Amitié cachetée,' as a greeting for 1952. The rest is history: more than a hundred titles by René Char were published by PAB. Books by Pierre-André Benoit, n° 441.