Donation by Jan van der Marck
Size: 33 x 26 cm.
Shelfmark: 1770 B 16
In 2006, the collector Jan van der Marck donated six modern bindings by renowned foreign bookbinders to the Koninklijke Bibliotheek. This generous gesture meant a significant expansion of the collection, especially since five of the binders were not yet represented in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek's collection. Jan van der Marck is the son of a printer and grandson of a publisher. He seemed destined to continue the family tradition among the printing presses and print runs, but he decided to study art history instead, earning his PhD in 1956 with a thesis on Romanticist book illustration in Belgium. Van der Marck, in reality more interested in modern art, moved to the United States and built a career in the museum world. He started as curator of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and ended up as the head curator of the Detroit Institute of Art in 1995.
While in America, he enjoyed the adventurous 1960s and 1970s, with their 'feverish tempo and concentration on innovation in the Arts', but he became discouraged when efficient human resources policies and visitor statistics began to set the museum's agenda.
In 1975, he purchased a beautiful edition by Vollard, with etchings and engravings by Picasso in a richly-decorated binding. This book was the start of an extensive collection, and he said that from the 1980s onwards, his books satisfied his thirst for adventure.
He visited the binders in their studios, listened to their ideas and in so doing he was able to acquire some pieces with very personal accents. The binding of his copy of Diana Trivia is a beautiful example. Van der Marck approached his friend César Domela, one of the famed artists of the De Stijl movement, with a request for a binder. In a letter that has been preserved to this day, Domela replied somewhat laconically that he wouldn't send the design in advance, but that '...you will just have to trust that I will make something nice for you'. After consulting with the binder, Alain Lobstein, he amended the original design slightly before executing it. A comparison between the still-extant original design and the final result illustrates a unique co-operation between two great artists. (RT)