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The Coming of Age in Samoa from the portfolio In Our Time: Covers for a Small Library After the Life for the Most Part

© The Estate of R.B. Kitaj, Marlborough Gallery, New York. Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion.

The Coming of Age in Samoa from the portfolio In Our Time: Covers for a Small Library After the Life for the Most Part

Artist: R.B. Kitaj (American, 1932–2007)
Culture: American
Date: 1969
Medium: Screenprint and photoscreenprint on paper
Dimensions:
Image: 9 7/8 x 12 1/4 inches (25.1 x 31.1 cm)
Sheet: 30 1/4 x 22 3/8 inches (76.8 x 56.8 cm)
Mat: 34 x 26 inches (86.4 x 66 cm)
State: 61
Edition: 150
Classification: Print
Credit Line: Gift of Robert Anthoine
Label Text:American-born and British-based artist R. B. Kitaj began to work in screenprinting at Kelpra Studio in the mid-1960s. He was immensely prolific, collaborating on over sixty-five single prints and four major suites, including this series, In Our Time. For these prints, Kitaj selected books from his personal library to reproduce in order to explore the visual qualities of their covers, as well as the personal implications of their content. Kitaj was an avid reader and the covers, transferred through the process of photoscreenprinting, are reproduced in thorough detail, revealing their texture and wear as three-dimensional objects handled over time. Inspired by critical theorist Walter Benjamin’s 1931 essay “Unpacking My Library: A Talk about Book Collecting,” translated into English in 1968, Kitaj pursued his cultural and artistic identity through subjects as varied as history, film, literature, Jewish identity, and politics. Disassociated from their normal use, the books function here as aesthetic curiosities and provide a complex portrait of Kitaj as an artist and book collector.
Object number: 1999.7.1.P