First edition thus, first printing. Signed, inscribed and with an original abstract pen and pastel drawing dedicated to Rosamund Bernier by Roland Penrose to the front free endpaper. The drawing, completed in shades of green, yellow and brown, takes the form of an abstract flower incorporating Bernier's nickname - 'Peggy' - at its centre, and is inscribed "For Peggy, with love Roland". Publisher's original black cloth with titles in silver gilt to the spine. In dustwrapper. Illustrated with six black and white drawings by Picasso. A near fine copy, the binding square, firm and bright. The contents remain clean and fresh throughout. Complete with the lightly rubbed dustwrapper which has a 1cm tear to the edge of the front flap, a small scrape near the foot of the spine and a little wear to the extremities. Not price-clipped (25s to the front flap).
As demonstrated by the elaborate, thoughtful inscription and drawing in the present volume, Roland Penrose (1900-1984), the artist and leading promoter of Surrealism, maintained a close friendship with the renowned art lecturer and writer Rosamund Bernier (1916-2016). Both moved in similar artistic circles, and the pair shared a number of notable friends, including Picasso, Max Ernst, Man Ray and Joan Miró. As one of the organisers of the 1936 London International Surrealist Exhibition, which led to the establishment of the English surrealist movement, Penrose was at the heart of the development of abstract art in Britain, and later promoted the work of Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth, amongst others. In 1938, he organised a tour of Picasso's Guernica that raised funds for the Republican Government in Spain, and went on to publish a number of works on the artist as well as on other artist friends. Bernier, known, until her marriage to the art critic John Russell in 1975, as 'Peggy', was, in the words of a recent Vogue article, "the world's most glamourous art lecturer", who transformed the medium into an involving, even entertaining form of education, spending much of her life delivering hugely popular talks at leading institutions around the world, most notably at the Met in New York. Prior to this, she had worked as the first-ever European Features Editor for Vogue in post-war Paris, where she became a fixture of the city's art scene, befriending Picasso, and later co-founding the art magazine L'OEIL, which Picasso, Braque, and Léger championed. She also developed close friendships with Henri Matisse, Leonard Bernstein, and Frida Kahlo, and became particularly well known for her effortless sense of style and verve, spending the majority of her life on the International Best-Dressed List. As her friend, the artist Alex Katz, asserted, her style extended "to the rhythm of her sentences...It's in the way she looks, the way she lives, the way she talks. She'd never settle for anything pedestrian." First published in France in 1949, the present volume forms the first edition of Penrose's translation of the second of two full-length plays that Picasso wrote using a stream of consciousness narrative style. Gifted by one of Picasso's friends to another, and including an original abstract composition by Penrose, it forms a wonderful association copy and a beautiful piece of twentieth-century art history.
Stock code: 17686