Sight and Touch, Octavio Paz, Limited Editions Club

{Ed Note 10/14/2011:  I forgot to mention below, Mrs. Shiff does have Sight and Touch still available to order.  Please contact her at 212-737-7600 or 800-701-8870 to inquire about price and to order, if interested.}

I was able to spend a wonderful afternoon last week with Jeanne Shiff, the owner of the Limited Editions Club (LEC).  It was a fun and enlightening visit, and I was able to spend many hours with some of the grandest fine press books ever produced.

Jeanne Shiff (LEC) and Chris Adamson (Books and Vines)

While there are no plans for LEC to produce any new titles, Mrs. Shiff is currently going through remaining inventory and has a number of LEC’s later titles still available. Over the coming weeks, I will be posting pictures and thoughts on many of them, starting with their incredible edition of Sight and Touch by Octavio Paz, illustrated by the great twentieth century artist Balthus.

My excitement for fine press books often results in my describing how stunning a work is, but in this case it is no hyperbole to say that the interior of this edition of Sight and Touch is one of the most beautiful of any book I have had the pleasure to handle. The paper is unreal, one could look at and feel it for hours without getting bored of doing so. It is simply beautiful paper, far beyond any within any books that I own.  The prints by Balthus are classically beautiful.  The size of the book was determined based on the work Balthus created, unlike most books where the illustrations are shrunk to fit the pre-determined size of the book. The text and layout is perfect, with incredible spacing allowed due to the massive size of the presentation.

Mexican born Octavio Paz (1914-1998) was one of the world’s most celebrated writers of the twentieth century.  Among many honors he received in his lifetime, Paz won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990.  Paz was influenced by Marxism early in his career, but became disillusioned and spoke out loudly against totalitarianism bringing him much enmity from what he called the dogmatic and illiberal left.   Paz was a prolific author and poet; if you have not read any of his works, you owe it to yourself to do so.  Sight and Touch is about light, “a wavering river that stretches its doubts and turns them into certainties…light is time thinking about itself.”  He dedicated this poem to Balthus, who was a close friend of his.  LEC’s edition, brings them together, resulting in a true work of art.

About the Edition

  • Designed by Dan Carr
  • Three multi-color woodcut prints by Balthus cut and editioned by Keiji Shinohara
  • Presented in the original Spanish, in English and in French
  • Kozo Uwazen paper hand made in Japan
  • Text set in a Monotype version of Lutetia by Julia Ferrari and Dan Carr at Golgonooza Letter Foundry, Ashuelot, New Hampshire
  • Printed at Wild Carrot Letterpress, Hadley, Massachusetts
  • Pure linen boards overlapped on the spine with Nigerian oasis goatskin
  • Signed by Octavio Paz and Balthus
  • Limited to 300
  • Huge volume, 22 1/2″ x 23 1/2″
Sight and Touch, LEC, Solander Box
Sight and Touch, LEC, Solander Box Detail
Sight and Touch, LEC, Book in Solander Box
Sight and Touch, LEC, Monthly Letter
Sight and Touch, LEC, Title Page
Sight and Touch, LEC, Sample Page with Text
Sight and Touch, LEC, Sample Illustration by Balthus
Sight and Touch, LEC, Colophon

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