The Living Arts: A Portfolio, Issues No. 1 and No. 3, Ed. Lucien Vogel, 1921-22

Sale price $140.00 Regular price $200.00

These are rare copies of the 1st and 3rd issues of the forward-looking and very exquisitely produced “The Living Arts: A Portfolio Reflecting the Literary and Artistic Taste of Our Time,” edited by Lucien Vogel and published in NY, Paris, and London, 1921-22, by Conde Nast. (Six issues of the bi-monthly publication were produced in total before publication ceased in 1922.) 

I’d say pretty much every page of this beautiful unbound and uncut letterpress publication—which also includes a series of tipped in prints relating to the articles—is frame-worthy; just gorgeous! The contents  (some pieces published In English, some in French) range from poems by Jean Cocteau and Paul Valery, to a minuet for piano by Erik Satie, to essays on the work of diverse artists (painter Charles Pequin, composer George Auric, sculptor Charles Despiau, designer Eileen Gray, etc) to articles with titles such as “Antique Earrings and Fibulae,” “Hell’s Habitants Considered as a Traveling Circus,” and “Chinese Funereal Statuettes.” A wonderful example of experimentation with both the form and content of a periodical publication and fantastic portrait of a particular cultural milieu at a super dynamic time. 

I did not know a lot about Lucien Vogel, but what a force he was, including serving as publisher, editor and art director of early fashion magazines “Le Style Parisien” (making Parisian fashion accessible to consumers in New York and London) and “Gazette du Bon Ton” (a higher brow “journal of good taste”); and as creator and director of “Vu,” an innovative weekly that was especially pioneering in its extensive use of photography. And this is just the tip of the iceberg!

Fortunately, there are complete scanned copies of "The Living Arts" issues 1 though 3 accessible online, to which I have compared these copies to check for missing parts. Issue 1 (cover plus p. 1-54 + plates) is entirely complete. Issue 3 (p. 107-150 + plates) is missing the portfolio cover, pages 122-131 (the second part of a play by Rabindranath Tagore and translated by Andre Gide titled “Amal et la letter du Roi”) and three plates accompanying the story on Chinese funeral statues; everything else is there. The cover of the portfolio is fairly torn as are the paper backings for a few of the tipped in prints, but overall the two issues are in good condition and really quite remarkable things. 8x10 1/2”. Images featured show selected pages.