Tuesday, February 19, 2008

1937 FROM LAND TO LAND by Todros Geller signed Judaica

1937 FROM LAND TO LAND by Todros Geller signed collection of woodcuts

Available is a signed & numbered (#51 / 100) 1st edition of an exhaustive collection of works by woodblock printmaker Todros Geller (1889 - 1949).
Book Description:
Chicago: L.M. Stein; published 1937. First edition, De Luxe signed and numbered edition. Signed "Todros Geller" in ink on "limited edition" page. Small quatro, unpaginated. Near fine in illustrated wood veneer over grey cloth. Boldly illustrated with 43 named black & white, 4 named color, and 6 non-named illustrations. Slightly bumped and rubbed corners, cloth slightly darkened from handling. Binding tight - interior without marks or discoloration - bright and fresh pages.

Background Information:
Arguably the holy grail of the L.M. Stein imprints, FROM LAND TO LAND is the only survey of the incredible woodcuts by Chicago artist Todros Geller. Beautifully designed and printed - every page's layout was carefully considered, as the layout direction is evident. A very handsome and uncommon book, with woodcuts illustrating Jewish life, as well as Native American, Spanish, Mexican, and Midwestern American themes.

Todros Geller (1889 - 1949) immigrated to Chicago from Vinnitza, Ukraine in 1918. His art training was at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He became one of the leading artists of Chicago. Geller was a master of the print, winning several prizes, exhibiting his work widely, and having his work collected by museums such as the Metropolitan and the Whitney. He taught art at the Jewish People's Insitute of Chicago and in private classes. Known as the “dean” of Chicago’s Jewish artists, he was as a mentor and a source of inspiration to others, including Aaron Bohrod and Mitchell Siporin.

Geller’s works were included in various exhibitions, and they are in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Like David Bekker’s Bronx Express, which was based on a Yiddish play, Geller’s Raisins and Almonds (image included within this book) was inspired by a Yiddish poem of the same title. The founder of the modern Yiddish theatre, Abraham Goldfaden, wrote the poem in 1880 as part of his operetta Shulamis, which features a mothers singing a lullaby to her son. The poem is an allegory of the Jewish people’s longing to return to their homeland:

Under Baby’s cradle in the night
Stands a goat so soft and snowy white
The Goat will go to the market
To bring you wonderful treats
He’ll bring you raisins and almonds
Sleep, my little one, sleep.

In Eastern Europe, goats were an important staple of Jewish life, believed to be endowed with mystical qualities. The goat became an insignia or dominant symbol in Geller’s artistic vocabulary. On the cover of his book From Land to Land (1937), he positioned the goat on the shore of Lake Michigan with Chicago’s skyline as a backdrop. Raisins and Almonds is also included in this book.
To find out more information about this book, or are interested to know its value, go here.

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