Monday, January 6, 2020

Unknown, Untitled, press type and gold leaf, nd

These six accordions were given to me by a friend who purchased them from the estate sale of the Madison based composer, professional pianist and scholar, ellsworth snyder (1931-2005). I am not at all sure that these unsigned works are by Snyder. One knowledgeable friend suggested they could be someone connected to Walter Hamady (1940-1919), the well known book artist, who taught papermaking, letter press printing and bookbinding at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for over forty years. 

ellsworth snyder however, is an interesting man himself. A friend of John Cage, and while at the University of Wisconsin-Madison he wrote the first doctoral dissertation on Cage. Snyder appears to have been loosely associated with the Fluxus movement, but I haven't been able to find his name in the standard Fluxus literature at the moment.

These six individual works are all the same size (do not be fooled by my creating "lenoir" in the first photo) and utilize press type and gold leaf in their production, coupled with words that would seem to suggest the author was living in the midwest, and the reference to 'driftless' pins it down to the western part of Wisconsin in particular. 

Dimensions for all pages are 1.25" (h) and 1.25" (w), with varying lengths when extended.

Please note: if anyone has more information as to the author of these works please contact me at:





Antonio Frasconi, A Sunday in Monterey, New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1964

As far as I know this was the first of only two accordion books that were published of Frasconi's (1919-2013) work during his lifetime. The earlier one "Kaleidoscope in Woodcuts" (1968), can be found on this blog. This one-sided accordion displays all his skills in the woodcut medium, as well as a smart use of the panoramic qualities of the accordion to showcase this enchanting work. 

Born in Argentina, but by nationality Uruguayan, his parents were Italian immigrants who moved to South America during WWI. In 1945 Frasconi moved to the USA and soon established a reputation for himself, later becoming a professor at the State University of New York at Purchase. Frasconi provided illustrations for many books during his long career.

Frasconi often tackled themes of social justice and politics, and a later series that took 10 years to complete was titled "The Disappeared" and addressed the disappearances that took place under the various Uruguayan dictatorships. Individual pages for this book are: 5.25" (h) x 2" (w), and with a total of 58 pages it is 9' 8" when fully extended.

This image from the Harcourt, Brace & World website