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Belgian Avant-Garde


Mechelen: Holemans (printed by J.-E. Buschmann, Antwerp), 1924. Square octavo (25.5 × 19.5 cm). Original wrappers with typographic linocut print on the front cover; 32 pp. with full-page typographic linocut prints in different colors and shapes, printed over the text. Lacking the slipcase; wrappers heavily toned; last blank page also toned; else internally very good.

First edition of Gaston Burssen's major work, which follows the Dadaist-inspired "rhythmic typography" of his friend Van Ostaijen's "Bezette stad" *Occupied City, 1921), in which the classical stanzaic structure is replaced by typographic experiments. (See Jacqueline Bel, Geschiedenis van de Nederlandse literatuur 1900-1945, 2018, p. 496). Moreover, the prints also remind us of Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman's "The next call". Salaris writes: "[...] the author played all the keys of contemporary civilization with its discoveries and its myths: from electricity to telephone, from the telegraph to the jazz band, passing through Chaplin, Rosa Luxemburg, Dadaism and Futurism. The book was conceived primarily to be enjoyed visually with its beautiful pages that created a dual level of writing: over the verses printed in black ink are set names or words, composed of block capitals in an exuberant variety of colours. The construction of the letters is highly sophisticated, original and inventive, but always under the influence of the free and expressive typography codified and practiced by the Futurists [...]" (pp. 75–76).

Claudia Salaris, "Futurismi nel mondo", pp. 74-7; Jaroslav Andel, "Avant-Garde Page Design, 1900-1950", pp. 93-95.

One of 225 numbered copies on "Van Gelder" laid paper.

As of June 2012 WorldCat locates only two copies in North America.

Book ID: 52108

Price: $2,250.00