September 15 - November 16, 1999
A Century for the Century:Fine Printed Books 1900-1999
Curated by Jerry Kelly & Martin Hutner
In September 1999 The Grolier Club will open its 116th season of free public exhibitions with A Century for the Century: Fine Printed Books 1900-1999, a survey of beauty and excellence in book production during the 20th century. On display will be more than one hundred books from distinguished private and commercial presses of England, Europe, and America, recording the development and progress of fine printing in our time.
A variety of work from Britain, including books from the renowned Doves, Ashendene, and Curwen presses, to name a few, will be on display. From France there will be magnificent livres de artiste, illustrated by Bonnard, Picasso, Matisse, and others. Germany will be represented by the great Bremer, Cranach and other presses, along with seminal books from designers such as de Beauclair and Zapf. Books from Italy, Holland and Switzerland will round out the European survey. The United States will be represented by many notable designers and presses, including DeVinne, Merrymount, Grabhorn, Overbrook, Plantin, Windhover, and Gehenna.
The 19th century ended with a great revival of interest in fine printing, spearheaded by the protean figure of William Morris and his Kelmscott Press. This influence spread throughout the western world, and by the turn of the 20th century, there was a burgeoning fine printing industry which has flourished until today. The change from handset metal type to modern printing technology, which developed throughout the period, has necessarily brought sweeping changes in book production. The evolution the of Arts and Crafts style, as well as the effect of two global wars, have all contributed to further change. In the face of shifting aesthetic values, and at a time when emergent rival information technologies appear to challenge traditional print culture, the eternal question of what is beautiful and significant in the printed book is a central focus of this exhibition.
The Grolier Club has had a long and distinguished history of presenting printed books of great interest and beauty. Some of these exhibitions have focused on individual presses and practitioners. In this survey an attempt has been made to cull the best of the beautiful books of the entire century. The exhibition will curated by Martin Hutner, former President of The American Printing History Association, collector, author and lecturer, and Jerry Kelly, vice president of the Stinehour Press and noted book designer and calligrapher.
A fully illustrated catalogue of the exhibition is available, and may be ordered through The University Press of New England (UPNE).
Funding for the catalogue was provided by
The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation
The Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation