R.B.Kitaj screenprint ‘Photo-Eye (El Lissitzsky), 1969-70’



K.B.Kitaj colour screenprint and photoscreenprint signed in pencil lower right. One of the 3 proofs printed on canvas, not for sale. Same image size as the paper edition. The edition was published by Marlborough Fine Art Ltd ,printed by Kelpra Studio, 1970. The canvas is thumbed and a few surface marks, raw canvas with nail holes to right edge, else very good.

image: 21 3/16 x 14 15/16 in. / 53.8 x 38 cm

paper: 30 3/8 x 22 5/8 in. / 77 x 57.5 cm. .  545x760mm.


Item details

Reference: Kitaj Prints. A Catalogue Raisonné by Ramkalawon 93; Kinsman 37 (xxi)

Part of the suite of prints, ‘In Our Time: Covers for a Small Library After Life for the Most Part.‘ The suite, composed of book and periodical covers, some altered in collage by the artist. . This was published by Marlborough AG, Schellenberg FL, Germany and printed by Chris Prator at the Kelpra Studio in an edition of 150 initialled and numbered;10APs; 5 PPs; and HC’s; some proofs initialled and and/or signed and numbered by the artist.

‘Kitaj told Kinsman that this series was inspired by Walter Benjamin’s 1931 essay ‘Unpacking my Library: a talk about Book Collecting’, which considers the book as an object to be valued and loved. As Benjamin wrote ‘What I am really concerned with is giving you some insight into the relationship of a book collector to his possessions, into collecting rather than a collection’. However Kitaj transcends the idea of the physicality of the book. By enlarging the covers he gives the chosen volumes a monumental presence, reinforcing the subjects within the covers with a new powerful resonance.’

In 1962 Kitaj was introduced to the commercial screenprinter Chris Prater, with whom he would produce his finest body of prints. A self-confessed bibliophile, books frequently provided the impetus for Kitaj’s work, their torn covers appearing in early collaged prints alongside photographic negatives and hand drawn designs. In 1969, Kitaj worked closely with Prater to produce his most important meditation on literature yet: the major screenprint suiteIn Our Time’.

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