Vincent Fitzgerald and Company ~ New York                    Share this page:
Divan e Shams
Poems by Jalaluddin Mohammad Rumi
Selected and Translated by Zahra Partovi
New York: Vincent Fitzgerald and Company, 1996. Edition of 50.

12.5 x 14"; 112 pages. Four double-folds. Printing by Wild Carrot Letterpress with Renaissance Roman type by Hermann Zapf on Rives BFK paper. Text in English with Persian calligraphy as well. Medium: lithograph, etching, photogravure, silkscreen, plotter drawing, collage, and letterpress. Calligraphy by Jerry Kelly. Etchings by Vincent FitzGerald, Lothar Osterburg, Lynn Rogan, Marjorie Van Dyke. Silk screen by Margo Pelletier. Lithography by Judith Solodkin. Sculpture by Annette Senneby and Vincent Fitzgerald. Bound in cream linen-covered boards with coptic binding. In custom box with glass sculpture laid into the bottom. Numbered. Signed by the translator.

Lauren Marshall, Limited-Edition Books as Multi-Media Art: The Work of Vincent FitzGerald & Co. displayed at Columbia: "FitzGerald began his company years ago to bring artists and writers together, facilitating collaboration in an age where isolation was defining art. By breaking away from the competitive climate fueled by art-as-big-business, FitzGerald and his company seek to resurrect the spirit of Paris in the twenties, when writers, artists and musicians worked together to produce ballets, operas, even books. Each book involves the collaboration of a minimum of 15 people working together on one project, sometimes over a period of years. Virtually every known method of creating visual art is represented in these books. In the case of some, modern techniques, such as computer-generated images, are used in combination with etching and engraving."

Divan e Shams is the result of one such collaborative effort. Zahra Partovi selected Rumi poems and translated his words into English. The poetry was then artistically interpreted by fifteen artists (Joan Busing, Sandy Gellis, Elizabeth Harington, Bernard Kirschenbaum, T. Kurahara, James Nares, Dorotha Rockburne, Betye Saar, Annette Senneby, Michelle Stuart, Peter Thomason, Judith Turner, Marjorie Van Dyke, Joan Vennum, Susan Weil).

Zahra Partovi, translator: "I have been fortunate to have seen the face and heard the voice of that trust in the works produced by publisher Vincent FitzGerald, many visual artists, and composers who have worked on Rumi’s poetry through my translations.

"Working with Rumi’s poetry and the magnitude of his thinking is a humbling experience. A sense of grave responsibility and honor surrounds the act of translating the masterpieces of such a writer. My hopes and aspirations have always been the simplest and the hardest: To arrive as close to the original writing as to make the translator an invisible messenger bringing to the reader a poet’s voice. Whether one delivers a secular or a sacred text, the act of translation remains a sacred act."

Betye Saar, artist: "Fire was slow to start. My earlier ideas and sketches fizzled out. Vincent was very patient. ... At the time, Malibu Canyon was experiencing ‘fire storms’, so one afternoon I carefully made a fire in my hibachi and photographed the flames. "

Bernard Kirschenbaum, artist: "Rumi’s words have a universality that is relevant today. I use computers in my work and using a computer to illustrate these words seemed to me an interesting pairing. Randomness is a very universal concept and has been one of my interests. I developed a computer program to generate a series of random geometric shapes that used Rumi’s birth date and his death date as random seeds. The result depended on Rumi."

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Page last update: 03.20.17


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