West Islip, NY: Universal Limited Art Editions, 1972-1978. Rauschenberg, Robert. First edition. Portfolio with 36 lithographs by Rauschenberg and text by Robbe-Grillet. It comprises 31 pages plus the title page and 4 colophon pages, printed from 37 stones for the images and 27 aluminum plates for the text, numbered ,1-31, I-IV.
Pages measure 20-1/2 x 26-3/16 inches (52 x 69 cm.), folded as issued. Printed on specially made Twinrocker paper, with the watermark of the artist's and author's signatures. One of seven artist proof copies from the total edition of 42 copies. Each of the 31 pages is signed and dated by Rauschenberg and signed and numbered by Robbe-Grillet; each page also carries the embossed folio number and publisher's seal. Fine condition in original red cloth clamshell box, designed by the artist, as issued, and the publisher's specially constructed wooden case. Item #29227
"Long enamored of French literature and language, [publisher] Tatyana Grosman attended a lecture by Alain Robbe-Grillet in April 1972. When the writer mentioned Robert Rauschenberg's work, Mrs. Grosman, already aware of stylistic similarities between the two, felt that a collaboration was fated. Two days later, it was underway. During the next four years, Mrs. Grosman sent [aluminum] offset plates to Paris and proofed and translated Robbe-Grillet's text in West Islip; Rauschenberg added images one chapter at a time. The completed pages were sent back to Robbe-Grillet with plates for the next chapter. It soon became clear that Robbe-Grillet was not working in the spirit of sympathetic collaboration but providing a massive text that presented great problems in page design. Rauschenberg responded with images that are much more aloof than in previous books yet responsive to the elegance of the text," Esther Sparks, Universal Limited Art Editions, pp. 447-459. "The title is police jargon, loosely meaning that things are not as they seem....To Robbe-Grillet's mysterious story of lost romance and murder in the city, Rauschenberg responded with a portrayal of everyday life, with supermarkets, underwear, and bicycles. Mrs Grosman saw both contributions as equally nostalgic and sad. 'The effect was a Last Year at Marienbad quality,' she said," Mary Lynn Kotz, Rauschenberg / Art and Life, (1990), p. 148.