Madras: Hanuman Books, 1988. 1st US Edition. 16mo, publisher's stiff red wraps, upper wrap gilt, original illustrated printed jacket.
"A work of art should exalt only those truths which are not demonstrable, and which are even ‘'alse,' those which we cannot carry to their ultimate conclusion without absurdity, without negating both them and ourself." French writer Jean Genet’s observations on the Dutch painter. Originally published in 1968 in French avant-garde literary magazine Tel Quel, the leading piece concerns Rembrandt’s later works, particularly his self portraits, while "Rembrandt’s Secret" details the artist's life (with an emphasis on his relationship with his wife and life model, Saskia), the trajectory of his paintings, and how it feels to experience his work. After discovering his paintings in the 1950s during a stay in London, Genet planned on writing a book of art criticism on Rembrandt, which was never realized. This collection was issued as number 22 in art critic Raymond Foye and Italian painter Francesco Clemente's Hanuman Books series. Founded in 1986, the small press, whose administrative and editorial functions were housed in the Chelsea Hotel, produced their series of small handmade books in Madras, India. Translated by Bernard Frechtman and Randolph Hough. Frontispiece photo of Genet by Douchan Stanimirovitch. Light soiling and edgewear to unclipped dust jacket. Very good. Item #5505