Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Illustrations by Rockwell Kent
Unique Full Leather Binding by Richard Tuttle
Published by The Heritage Press, New York, Circa 1957
Binding Details: As with all of Richard Tuttle’s pieces, this is a one of a kind binding that captures the spirit of the book and returns us to a time when books were beautiful to display as well as read. In a world of mediocrity and mass produced books, he believes important literary works are special and should be treasured and passed on to future generations.
The book has been rebound by Richard Tuttle in cowhide over sculpted boards that feature a motif of long grass. There is no title that appears on the outside of the binding. For this work, Richard Tuttle felt that the mystery of what was contained within this beautiful binding should be a surprise to anyone who opened it. The endpapers are hand painted long strands of grass on a light green background and the page ends are sculpted with the top edge dyed green. The binding date and artist’s symbol signature are contained on the colophon. The binding was done in 2012.
The book measures 9.5” x 6.25”
Book Details: This is the Heritage Press edition of “Leaves of Grass” undated but published circa 1957. The poems are the unabridged authorized version and feature the illustrations of Rockwell Kent. The internals of the book are in FINE condition.
Artist Statement: Included with the book is a signed artist statement by Richard Tuttle on the making of “Leaves of Grass”.
About the Artist: Richard Tuttle is a painter, writer, graphic designer, carpenter, bookbinder and lover of literature. For the past 20 years, he has combined his many interests to create one of a kind works of art that merge the written word with fine leather, paper, paint, wood and veneer. These original book bindings have been exhibited in numerous galleries and were featured in a PBS documentary on the Chicago Art beat. Richard describes his work as follows: “I make literary artifacts. They are designed to pull books down off the shelf and display them in the salon, gallery or home as if they were works of art, which, of course, they are. Whether binding books with leather, paper, paint, wood, and found artifacts or building sculptures to encase the volumes, I seek to find a perspective that shouts out a piece of the essence of the literary work. I try to put myself in the author's or character's mind to say something about the time it was written in; the attitude that is explored and expressed; the magic that makes it a work of art. While I obviously respect and admire the books I work on, the humor, wit and raw energy I find so attractive in their works leads me to places that some might call disrespectful, but are, for me, essential parts of these literary works. Motivated by Marcel Duchamp's attempts to elevate the object into art and William Blake's efforts to remake his world and James Joyce's efforts to include all culture and all action in one whole: Motivated by the ongoing conversation of Jazz musicians between its earliest practitioners and its most avante garde practitioners: Motivated by the great world library of "what we are" as extolled by Jorge Luis Borges: Motivated by the desire to live in a world that is conscious of itself and conscious of its ability to create itself: I create these art objects out of books in order be surrounded by a physical environment that reflects the world of ideas I want to live in.”
Condition Report: The binding is in FINE condition.
Photographs of the book and hand painted endpapers appear in the photo section of the listing.