Exquisite unpag. example of Art Deco book design, detailing a 3-month journey the artist undertook with Jean Dunand aboard the schooner Peau-Brune, sailing from St. Nazaire in Brittany, around the Iberian Peninsula and through the Strait of Gibraltar, to the town of La Ciotat on the coast of Provence, fashioned as a logbook with chronological entries related to specific dates, table of contents. Illustrated throughout with approximately 100 beautiful engravings in brilliant colors from various points along the trip, including two full-page plates depicting the ship under sail, both signed by Schmied. Large 4to. Full leather with raised spine, gilt and polychrome wave decoration to front and rear covers, gilt tooling to inside covers with laid blue silk “endpapers”, fitted slipcase. Spine slightly shaken, first signature loose in places. N.p. (Lyon) (Société des XXX de Lyon) 1931. From a limited edition of 135 copies, signed by Schmied in several places.
Schmied was an important Art Deco painter, illustrator, and bookbinder particularly known for his beautiful limited edition books. He first gained notoriety with his commission to engrave and print the illustrations of Paul Jouve for Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book in 1919. He went on to create several additional pioneering works of books design throughout the 1920s and 1930s, including Les Climats and Le Cantique des Cantiques. His volumes were always expensive to produce and printed in very limited editions, usually no more than 200 copies. He sold his books by bringing sheets of works in progress to Parisian art fairs, with the hopes of getting wealthy art and book collectors to buy a subscription. Once the Great Depression took hold, the economic climate could no longer support the cost of Schmied’s books, and he was forced to close his workshop. A gorgeous feat of Art Deco book design; as of March 2016, WorldCat locates five holdings in North America. Book ID: 48441