For her tenth livre d’artiste since 1976, Lucie Lambert has chosen to offer a new bilingual edition of Rainer Marie Rilke’s final collection, Les Roses, originally written in French shortly before his death in 1926 and published the following year with a preface by Paul Valéry. As the author of a recent biography of René Char aptly notes, “a mere description cannot do justice to the process of creating a beautiful book: the obsessive hunt for the right paper, the scrupulous selection of the typeface, the meticulous care in producing the lay-out. From beginning to end, the entire enterprise is characterized by the utmost rigour and the desire for perfection.” In reference to Lucie Lambert’s latest work, we must add the artist’s twenty-seven prints, Yvon Rivard’s ample preface, the English translation of the poems by Douglas G. Jones, and the case by master binder Pierre Ouvrard.
Rilke’s twenty-four short poems celebrate the characteristics and attributes of the rose in an intimistic, confident tone, in which spareness and economy serve only to heighten their evocative force: “A rose alone, it’s all the flowers so named / and this one: the irreplaceable / the perfect, the subtle vocable framed / by the actual text of things.” (VI) ...
For the first time since she began producing livres d’artiste, Lucie Lambert has created her prints of roses based on an existing work. Until now, the authors she invited to collaborate with her wrote about the prints she offered them. Here, variations on the image of the rose correspond perfectly to the spareness and stylization of Rilke’s writing. Printed in Montreal by Martin Dufour on Japanese mother-of-pearl paper using a cylinder press, the book consists of a series of 26 folded leaves in a case by Pierre Ouvrard. Printed in 63 numbered copies, including 24 deluxe copies with goat suede covered fitted cases, 33 regular copies with Japanese cloth covered fitted cases, and 6 privately printed copies, this new work by Lucie Lambert is unquestionably equal to her earlier achievements and lives up to her reputation as an artist with the highest standards and a strong sense of integrity.
Jean-Pierre Duquette, "Vie des Arts", winter 2005. Aaron Bull translator.