Gogol’s masterpiece Dead Souls, the first major book entirely illustrated by Chagall and his first illustrations for Vollard.
Written over five years at the end of the long pilgrimage that brought Gogol to Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy, Dead Souls offers a vivid and ruthless portrait of a small swindler in provincial Russia in 1820. Published for the first time in 1842, the novel went on to exert a huge influence over the development of Russian literature.
In 1923 the French publisher Ambroise Vollard asked Chagall to produce an illustrated edition. Chagall, who had always felt a strong emotional connection to the country where he spent his youth, agreed with enthusiasm and pursued the project between 1923 and 1927. However, like many other Vollard projects, the production of the work was interrupted and only completed years later.
The final plate presents a particularly curious image in which Gogol reads and Chagall paints a portrait of Vollard.
2 volumes folio (38 x 28 cm). [iv], 160, pp.; [viii], 165-308, pp. 118 original plates (of which 96 hors texte, 11 headlines and initials, 11 engraved); table very lightly browned. Loose leaves in beards housed in editorial fiches, two chemises and original cardboard case; some light wear.
The Artist and the Book, 50.
Stock ID: 96259