R.B.Kitaj photo screenprint printed directly onto canvas, 1969. Signed in pencil to lower right. Printed by the Kelpra Press and published by Marlborough Fine Art Ltd. This one of the three proofs printed on canvas. Very good. Creasing to canvas at corners, nicked to left hand edge.
Image: 550 × 440 mm 21.75 x 17.5 in
Reference: Kitaj Prints. A Catalogue Raisonné by Ramkalawon. Number 107; Kinsman 37(xxxv)
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, was published by Marlborough AG, Schellenberg FL, Germany, in an edition of 150.
‘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 suite ‘In Our Time’.