A collection of black and white charcoal or pencil drawings, this volume seeks to re-interpret ancient myths, or to create contemporary fables (often through the use of satire). These range from rivalries and feuds of academics, the devastating results of biological experiments, power & corruption, illusions of grandeur, and the inflation of reputations. The last two drawings, however, should be seen as documents or records of the 20th century.
Peter Laurent de Francia (1921-2012) was a French-born British artist, Professor of Painting at the Royal College of Art in London from 1972 to 1986. The author of two books on Fernand Léger, a French artist of the Cubism school, his own work was both combative and brilliant. He was an agile draughtsman and beautiful colourist, but the clincher is the poignancy of his imagery even as it comments excoriatingly on human frailty, as in 'The Ship of Fools', a painting from around 1972 (in the Pallant House collection at Chichester). 'The Battle of Sakiet', (on extended loan from the Tunisian Embassy), has been viewable at Tate Modern. As well as referencing Picasso's 'Guernica', it has echoes of the wrecked warplanes of Paul Nash's 'Dead Sea', and even of Hogarth's 'Gin Lane' – an infant falling headlong from its mother's arms – but mostly its inspiration was the memory of German Stukas dive bombing during the artist's wartime bike ride through Belgium.
Our book is in excellent condition, protected by a grey card slipcase with the artist's name and title on one end. The book itself has similarly grey card covers, the front with the name and title in brown letters and an impressed design. All edges are clean and sharp. There is no wear to the book, and only slight damage along one long angle of the slipcase, which is a little faded and lightly marked. The artist's signature appears above his name on the title page. A rare book.