Excitement is building around here for a book we’re making with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (which more of you may know as the de Young and the Legion of Honor). It’s a reproduction of a turn of the (last) century book called Thirty-Six Views of the Eiffel Tower and it is Just. So. Gorgeous! Here’s a little sneak peak of the cover to give you an idea—
We’re in the midst of sourcing and testing all these great cover materials and textures right now—the blue and white floral pattern is printed directly onto the book’s hardcover case, which is made of this great rich soft textured paper, and the white flowers are embossed so they raise up and almost seem to float above the surface of the book’s cover. The band with the title and image is a removable paper strip called a J-wrap, and when you take if off the original French title block is underneath.
Both museums are gearing up for the amazing fact that part of the collection of Paris’s Musée d’Orsay is coming to the de Young this summer and fall (read more about that coolness here) with concomitant shows Impressionist Paris and Japanesque at the Legion at the same time. Prints from the original book—by Henri Rivière, a French artist very much influenced by Japanese art in general and Hokusai’s 36 Views of Mount Fuji in particular—will be on display at both those Legion of Honor shows. So our team has been to’ing and fro’ing out to the museum all this spring to visit the original in the Achenbach collection and get everything just right.
Chronicle staff and museum staff reviewing plates from the original book and discussing how best we can reproduce them.
This book is going to be so pretty I can hardly stand it! To show you what I mean, here are a couple of images from the interior, just to amuse bouche you a little bit…
The book isn’t coming out until this fall—but you can preorder it here.
Bridget Watson Payne