TAKEI Takeo, author/artist. A collection of 138 twentieth-century artist's books by the Japanese author/artist TAKEI Takeo (1894-1982). Over the course of his long career as an artist and book designer, Takei returned time and again to the publication of a series of small format artist's books, often with a child-oriented theme, he called his "kampon." The first appeared in 1935 and the last the year after he died, 1983, for a total of 139 books. They were issued in limited editions ranging from 150 to 600 copies (though the majority were limited to an edition size of 300), usually signed and numbered, in various non-uniform small sizes.
Early on Takei decided that the kampon would be his artistic playground and he explored every conceivable technique therein of image reproduction, inventing quite a number of new ones along the way. He used traditional methods of letterpress, woodblock, wood engraving, stencil, etching and lithography, as well as experimenting with printing from clay blocks and creating custom baren to rub and alter the impression obtained from blocks, along with definitely non-traditional images of woven labels, painted glass, ceramic, and cello-slides - transparencies composed of bright cellophane paper. (Oliver Statler has a nice summary of Takei's work on p. 93-96 in his MODERN JAPANESE PRINTS: AN ART REBORN.)
Takei admitted that he felt an artistic kinship with Paul Klee once he became aware of and familiar with Klee's work. But Takei's work might also be compared favorably to that of Bruno Munari because of its inventive qualities, wit, and sophistication. The power of Takei's artistic imagination and ongoing creativity is amazing; one may literally sit with these volumes for hours and listen to how the books speak to each other and to the browser, as well.
On these eight pages you may browse a representative selection of images.
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We are offering a sizeable fraction of Takei's kampon as one lot, 138 volumes of the total of 139 (lacking only volume 1), as well as nineteen of the original twenty-one book boxes (honbako) he designed to house his kampon. Although some of the books have a bit of internal foxing here and there, and there is some cover wear, the volumes are lovely overall.
The collection: $45,000.00