JASPER JOHNS
Fizzles
SAMUEL BECKETT

Petersburg Press, London, 1976
Fizzles can be considered the finest Modern Illustrated Book done by an American artist. The etchings by Jasper Johns and the entire production of the book are reminiscent of the finest work done in Europe, much of which is displayed on this website. Many well-known American artists illustrated books, as can be seen on the list at the end of the website. With very few exceptions, although the artists are outstanding, many of their books fall short of the great Modern Illustrated Books. Possibly, there was not the same commitment to the book as occurred earlier. Published in an edition of 250 copies, Fizzles is 10 x 13 inches. One hundred and forty trial proofs were made before Fizzles was ready for publication. This enormous effort clearly indicates that the result is a magnificent Modern Illustrated Book by an American artist.

A note about some of the productions (books) produced by American artists: Shades by Robert Rauschenberg with lithographs on plexiglas, inserted interchangeably in a slotted aluminum frame; The Donkey and The Darling with illustrations by Larry Rivers, lithographs placed loosely in a wooden box with a plexiglas cover, weighing approximately forty pounds; El Negro illustrated by Robert Motherwell, the images drawn directly on mylar and acetate sheets; A La Pintura illustrated by Robert Motherwell, unbound in a box of wood and plexiglas fastened with nautical fittings designed by the artist. These are not books in the traditional sense, yet other books by American artists are. Mention must be made of Central American and Mexican artists who created art for Modern Illustrated Books: Matta, Lam, Rivera and Sisqueros, among others.

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