32 woodcuts by Derain; binding: original vellum wrappers; endpapers: heavy laid paper (?)

L'Enchanteur pourrissant (The Rotting Sorcerer), 1909

Woodcuts; letterpressexpand_more

Gift of Bruce B. Daytonexpand_more  B.81.12

Not on Viewexpand_more

Produced in collaboration with Fauve artist André Derain,

The Rotting Sorcerer features a prose-poem by French avant-garde poet, essayist, and critic Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918). It is Apollinaire's first published volume of poetry and the first book illustrated with original prints by Derain.

Fascinated by the ritual and romance of Arthurian legends, Apollinaire based his poem on the mythical character Merlin the Enchanter, the medieval wizard, prophet, and counselor in King Arthur's court. Through a strange lyrical dialogue between Merlin and his love interest, the nymph Viviane, the poem describes Merlin's death and entombment and recounts a series of graveside visits by various mythological and historical figures.

Derain contributed a series of 32 monochromatic woodcuts that augment Apollinaire's poems, but did not illustrate them. In these bold, simplified designs, Derain reveals his strong interest in African sculpture and the graphic art of Paul Gauguin.

L'Enchanteur pourrissant (The Rotting Sorcerer)
Artist Life
1880 - 1954
Accession Number
Possibly Sickles Sale, PB 1947
Catalogue Raisonne
Boston 78; MOMA 52; Skira 81; Rauch 31; Ray 388
Curator Approved

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32 woodcuts by Derain; binding: original vellum wrappers; endpapers: heavy laid paper (?)