A major figure in the history of the fine press book in California, H. Mallette Dean (1907-1975) was a prolific artist whose career as a printmaker, painter, muralist, illustrator, and letterpress printer spanned several decades. He designed, illustrated, and printed several titles for the Book Club of California and contributed initials and ornaments to dozens of books published by eminent California presses. Mallette Dean’s story is closely intertwined with that of the Grabhorn Press, the Colt Press, the Allen Press, and the Book Club of California. His story is also that of a successful artist and printmaker whose paintings, wood engravings, and linocuts were exhibited across the country and received widespread acclaim.
The illustrated bibliography, which includes more than 625 entries and 200 illustrations, records Mallette Dean’s creative work from his prints and paintings to the books he illustrated and printed. Additionally, the book has sections devoted to printed ephemera, bookplates, printers’ devices, and a chronology of Dean’s exhibitions including works exhibited. Richard Wagener has written a Foreword. A biographical essay traces the arc of Dean’s career and provides context among his many projects and commissions.
In the tradition of other distinguished titles published by the Book Club of California, Mallette Dean, a Printmaker and His Art is a foundational bibliography and an important chapter in the history of printing in the West. The book also shines light on the Federal Art Project and printmaking in California in the 1930s, documenting the work of an engaged and active artist of the period. The book includes an index, making it especially useful as a reference for collectors, curators, researchers, and all those who wish to learn more about the artistry of Mallette Dean and the history of the fine press book in California.
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Expected publication date: September 2018