Folio. 15ff., loose, as issued. A set of twelve proof illustrations, each labeled as such in pencil, plus a title page and Table of Contents, for an edition of Psalms by Gustav Wolf. The artist's watercolor sketches were in the process of being transferred to engraved blocks when he died in 1947. What remained were notes to himself written on the back of the sketches intended to guide him as he transferred the feel of the multitonal watercolors to the single-color gradients of black & white prints. After Wolf's death, his wife authorized a printing of the Psalms; Borrie's catalogue raisonné states that the planned edition was fifty copies, but it is unknown how many sets were ultimately printed. Wolf's notes were transcribed onto a single sheet and included with this group of proofs of his final illustrations "to show something of the fitful, unpredictable process of creation." Wolf, who studied under Hans Thoma, fled Germany in 1938 and settled in the United States, where he continued his work as an illustrator. One of his more noteworthy contributions was the set of thirty-two woodcuts he produced for The Book of Job, published by the Cummington Press in 1944. Reflecting their shared Old Testament inspiration, the illustrations for Psalms and The Book of Job show grand, multi-dimensional landscapes and the awesome power of Jehovah over the heavens and earth. Beyond the similarities in their subject matter, the images in Psalms also depict themes and symbols that were in The Book of Job, such as crystalline mountains and stars surrounded by swirling whirlpools of creation. In many ways, this edition of Psalms would have acted as a follow-up volume to the Book of Job, and was perhaps intended as such while Wolf was alive. The loose leaves are housed together in a paper chemise with a label designed by Wolf. Light toning and minor creasing to leaves and chemise; transcription of Wolf's commentary affixed to cardboard, which is toned and has darkened the inside of the chemise; else fine. Overall a fine portfolio of Gustav Wolf's last work. Bookseller Inventory # 26710
Title: Twelve Wood Engravings to the Psalms
Publication Date: 1947
Binding: Soft cover
Illustrator: Wolf, Gustav
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