[Image via Fenwick Books.]
It's no secret that I'm fascinated with the graphic design of vintage book covers. When I find a book that I truly want to read or use as a reference, and it happens to have an aesthetically pleasing cover, that's the best of both worlds. Since I don't begin to have enough shelf space for all of my books, many of them end up scattered around on tables, chairs and benches, and I have no problem admitting that I enjoy looking at the covers whenever I pass by. (Remember Andy Spade's exhibition of book jackets?)
personal warmth they bring to a room. We've covered that territory before, and Annie Kelly's new edition, Rooms to Inspire in the City -- with the cover we all flipped for -- has a really nice chapter on the subject. I'm currently stuck on the differences between old book jackets and contemporary versions. In this past post I contrasted the mid-20th-century dust jacket for The World in Vogue with the design for the second edition released in 2009.
Cult of Celebrity, so personalities tend to make the covers. Recently, I found an early edition of Life with Picasso. In true 1960s fashion, the first design is all about the graphic simplicity of multi-colored fonts. Later editions feature a striking photograph of author and painter Francoise Gilot with Picasso. You're probably thinking, "Well, doesn't a picture of the subjects make perfect sense for Life with Picasso? Given the nature of the book?"
[Image via Amazon.]
It does. I'm just intrigued by the change in tastes and marketing strategies. Covers without the people pictures offer a sense of mystery and temptation; we have to open the book to see which photographs, if any, were included.
[Image courtesy Paris Hotel Boutique.]
Again, the dust jacket for David Douglas Duncan's Goodbye Picasso is special because it was created using Picasso's sketchy self-portrait as an owl combined with Duncan's photograph. Under the dust jacket, the book was bound in jute dyed to match the background color from a Picasso portrait. (Images here.) Below are other book jackets that embrace letters.
Tim Street-Porter in Rooms to Inspire in the City. As mentioned here, many of the houses and apartments included in the book are old favorites but we get to see new details, new perspectives.
[Photographs by Tim Street-Porter © Rooms to Inspire in the City Rizzoli New York, 2010.]
It looks like Peter Dunham has an early copy of The World in Vogue as well as Picasso-related titles. (Now I can't get the idea of black bookcases out of my head.)