- Museum number
Series: Au loin un oiseau (Afar a bird)
A coat hanging on a wall, with one pocket open; plate 1 from a portfolio containing five aquatints printed on folded sheets accompanying Samuel Beckett's text 'Au loin un oiseau' in French, with title page, colophon, list of titles and sheet giving copyright details; in original cream cloth-bound case; published by The Double Elephant Press, New York. 1973
Aquatint on Velin Arches paper
- Production date
Height: 466 millimetres (case)
Height: 270 millimetres (plate)
Height: 435 millimetres (sheet)
Thickness: 34 millimetres
Width: 240 millimetres
Width: 382 millimetres
Width: 410 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- A short, previously unpublished text by Samuel Beckett, dating from the late 1950s, was suggested for illustration following a proposal from the publisher to Arikha. As Arikha only worked from observation, this precluded the depiction of the protagonist named Balfe from imagination. Attributes instead were depicted: coat, ruin, cane, stones and grass. These were all discussed between the author and artist. The old coat was one owned by Arikha; the cane, stones and grass represented Balfe's road. The first line of the text, 'Terre couverte de ruines', called forth a ruin which was found by smashing a pottery vessel, the archetype of all ruins. The text was later incorporated in 'Fizzles'.
See Avigdor Arikha, 'Un livre de Samuel Beckett et Avigdor Arikha: Au loin un oiseau', La Revue de l'Art, Paris, 1979, no. 44, p.103.
The text was hand-set in Garamond and printed on a hand-press by Fequet & Baudier, Paris. The plates were printed by Imprimerie Artistique Bellini, Paris in a numbered edition of 90 on vélin d'Arches paper (plus 30 hors commerce copies numbered I HC to XXX HC on vélin d'Arches and 6 artist's proofs numbered in roman numerals on Torinoku-kozu paper, reserved for the artist, author and printer and not mentioned in the colophon). This copy is numbered 26.
Text from 'Living with art: The Alexander Walker collection' (British Museum Press, 2020) (for 2004,0602.11.1-5):
Arikha produced these prints to accompany 'Au loin un oiseau', a previously unpublished text by Samuel Beckett, the artist’s close friend. They represent objects from the brief text, including the protagonist’s coat and the road he walks along, in the form of grass and stones. The prints are presented with Beckett’s text in French in a cream, cloth-bound case. They were printed by Imprimerie Artistique Bellini, Paris and published by the Double Elephant Press, New York in an edition of ninety plus thirty hors commerce copies and six artist’s proofs.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2004-2005 June-Jan, BM, Matisse to Freud: The Alexander Walker Bequest
2006-2007 July-Jan, BM, Avigdor Arikha From Life, no.36
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Au loin un oiseau
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- 2004,0602.11(1-5) purchased by Alexander Walker from Marlborough Graphics, London on 17/10/96 for £6,242.19.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number