[From upper cover]: Swimmer, 114th Book. Keith A. SMITH.

[From upper cover]: Swimmer, 114th Book.

Offset printed black & white illus. throughout. Leporello (160 x 115 mm. closed), printed pictorial label on upper board, stiff paper boards. Rochester: Visual Studies Workshop, 1986.

One of Smith’s works in leporello format, based on the pen and ink drawings from his unique Book 73 (1978-79), complemented with a poem by the artist; printed offset in an edition of 300. This work is dedicated to the photographer Philip Lange.

In his auto-bibliography, 200 Books, Smith (b. 1938) explains the origin of this piece, “I have always been afraid of water. I never took showers, only baths. Even then I filled the tub with only one to two inches of water and dampened my wash cloth to spot bathe. When I was 44, Philip Lange said he would teach me how to swim. He told me to start by taking baths with the tub half filled with water and to dip my head under. Then I was ready to go to the pool with him. He had taught many to swim, including babies. When we got to the pool the first time he said to me, ‘If you start to drown I will not save you; you might pull me under.’ This did nothing to increase my confidence in him, but he did teach me to swim and even to dive into the water. I still hate water, but can take showers. I have not gone swimming again since this book was made…

“It was important that the figures not be limited to the page size, but could be two or more pages wide. The final figure takes five pages. Yet the book is to be seen also in the manner of a codex, page by page, so the drawing on a single page or a two-page spread must be attractive.”

A scarce artist’s book, in pristine condition. Signed by the artist on the upper cover.

❧ K. Smith, 200 Books (2000), pp. 198-200.

Price: $1,250.00

Item ID: 6996