"My friend Soames was a talented artist. She and I shared our lives together in ups and downs and ins and outs. She was beautiful. She believed in my work. She was something." So begins, with Saul Leiter's paean to his muse, an intimate reverie on family, relationships, philosophy and the wonder of an artistic life.
Lumiere Press celebrates thirty-one years of fine press publishing with the release of The Ballad of Soames Bantry.
Saul Leiter's color imagery is multi-layered and multi-faceted - his paintings and photographs at times attaining an exuberantly kaleidoscopic presence. The Ballad of Soames Bantry is a kaleidoscope, Saul's life seen through the prism of his associates, colleagues and friends - Philippe Laumont, Grace Coddington, Robert Benton, Alan Porter, Jane Livingston, Howard Greenberg, Adam Harrison Levy, Tomas Leach, Anders Goldfarb, and Margit Erb.
Recollections from the members of "the artist's circle" are interwoven with period art reviews, Leiter's poetry - published here for the first time - and predominantly, Saul's voice - his aphorisms and personal narrative distilled from more than 130,000 words of transcription of lectures and interviews - Saul's candid reflections on work and life.
"For twenty years the conversation went on: good-hearted, interesting, flowing freely this way and that. I became profoundly attracted and attuned to this man's quiet talent, his simplicity, his mirth, his benevolence, his tolerance, his sense of fairness, his aversion to dogma, his erudition..."- Philippe Laumont
Twentieth century letterpress and twenty-first century offset lithography have been combined to present a suite of 18 color plates. Each image has been meticulously rendered in 10 micron stochastic four-color offset lithography
on acid-free Mohawk Superfine paper which has been matte varnished. Each plate has then been individually tipped onto the page within a letterpress debossed tint block. The result is the ideal integration of art and book craft. The book is further illustrated with two Saul Leiter self-portraits printed on Somerset.
Over the years it has been our mission and pleasure to present original interviews, primary source documentation, thoughtful essays and astutely selected images, with elegance and craftsmanship, as our contribution to the dialogue on the art of photography and the art of the book.
With The Ballad of Soames Bantry, we offer our most ambitious title to date and a genre of bookmaking all its own. Printed in a numbered edition of 250.
Size: 8 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches
Publisher: Lumiere Press/Howard Greenberg Gallery
Publication Date: February 2018
Available from the gallery for $900