Jan van Krimpen

The poet Hendrik Marsman (1899-1940) published his first poem in 1918 in the periodical Stroomingen. He started out as a follower of modernism, a movement in literature and painting seeking new modes of expression. This can be observed in his poems in the series Seinen, inspired by the cubist verses of Blaise Cendrars and cubist painters such as Léger and Franz Marc. With Penthesileia, the collection of poetry of which the title poem has been reproduced on the opposite page, he dissociated himself from avant-gardism. Or as he himself once put it, ‘...that I have overcome (grosso modo) modernity (ditto) as well...’, although two years later, from a more detached attitude, he called the collection ‘Palladium-classicism’.

This term refers to the series in which it had appeared, a number of slender volumes published by the designer and typographer Jan van Krimpen (1892-1958). Van Krimpen had originally been trained as a visual artist, but later on trained himself in calligraphy and the art of bookbinding, to publish his first book in 1917, the Sonnetten by his friend Albert Besnard. Until 1920 he published four more collections on his own. He then decided, together with the poets J.C. Bloem, J. Greshoff and J. van Nijlen, to concentrate his creative energy on a well-designed literary series that was given the name ‘Palladium’. In all they published 25 books, the last one appearing in 1927. The first were printed by G.J. van Amerongen & Co. (Amersfoort), the later books were printed on the hand-press of Joh. Enschedé en Zonen (Haarlem), all supervised by Van Krimpen. He chose the design and cut the initial titles for almost all of them, printed in red, like Penthesileia, as shown here on the opposite page. The design for the rest of the text is plain and simple: no more colours, initials or embellishments, the titles of the poems have been composed in the same type size as the rest of the text and the same typeface has been used for title page and colophon. Like Leopold's Cheops (cf. no. 81) this copy was also printed specially for the Koninklijke Bibliotheek.

Penthesileia. H. Marsman. Arnhem, Hijman, Stenfert Kroese en Van der Zande, 1925. 15, [1] p., 25 x 18 cm. (Palladium). Printed on the hand-press of Joh. Enschedé en Zonen. Edition of 160 copies. This copy has been printed for the KB. 163 D 28, p. 4-5

Penthesileia. H. Marsman. Arnhem, Hijman, Stenfert Kroese en Van der Zande, 1925. 15, [1] p., 25 x 18 cm. (Palladium). Printed on the hand-press of Joh. Enschedé en Zonen. Edition of 160 copies. This copy has been printed for the KB. 163 D 28, p. 4-5

Literature

J. Dreyfus. The work of Jan van Krimpen. Haarlem 1952
J.L. Goedegebuure. Op zoek naar een bezield verband. 2 dln. Amsterdam 1981.