Negen Houtsneden by Jan Cockx

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Jan Cockx (1891-1976), Negen Houtsneden [Nine Woodcuts] ([Antwerp : s.n., 1921]. Copy 57 of 100. Graphic Arts GAX 2010- in process

Following World War I, young artists throughout Europe were attempting to reinvent art and culture. In Antwerp, a small group of writers, poets, and social activists came together to publish a monthly journal called Ça ira, Revue mensuelle d’Art et de Critique. From April 1920 to January 1923, twenty issues were released with poems by Paul Colin, Theo van Doesburg, and Paul Éluard. Rough black and white woodcuts and linocuts filled the issues created by Floris Jespers, Paul Joostens, Frans Masereel, and Jan Cockx. Ça ira broke with its German and French colleagues in 1922 when Clément Pansaers published his “assassination of Dada” in a special number entitled ‘Dada, Its Birth, Life and Death.”

The Belgian artist and poet Jan Cockx (1891-1976) had his first exhibition in Paris at the age of twenty-nine, the same year he began publishing in Ça ira. In 1921, Cockx found the financial backing to publish a small portfolio of nine woodcuts with a striking color linocut on the wrapper. Graphic Arts’s copy is from the collection of Maurice van Essche, the editor of Ça ira.

An interesting note: the only other copy listed on OCLC is at the Library of Congress. Their edition note is quoted in French, our portfolio’s text is in Dutch. There must have been either two editions, or two distributors of this portfolio.

For more information, see Rik Sauwen, L’esprit Dada en Belgique (Leuven: Katholieke Universiteit, [1969]). Marquand Library (SA), PQ307.D3 S28 1969

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Dear all,

Last year alone, I had the luck to see three copies of this magnificent portfolio. All of them were in Dutch. I talked about this with many colletors, all of them confirming me that their copies too were in Dutch.
Untill proven otherwise, I would say that someone at the Library of Congress took an effort on getting some translation.
I'll keep looking!

many regards,

Elias Leytens