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Acquisitions Program

The “New Acquisitions Program” presents an opportunity to contribute directly and immediately toward the purchase of outstanding individual books, maps, prints, coins and manuscripts to add to Princeton’s already world-class collections.  At the same time, it offers an opportunity to learn more about the individual curators who work to build Princeton’s collection of rare books and manuscripts.

Rochester Directory Cover

April 2006

Gustave Flaubert, La tentation de Saint Antoine. Vingt miniatures de Arthur Szyk (Paris: Société d’éditions et de librairie, Henri Reynaud, 1926). 292, [5] p. Exemplaire no 124 (out of a total edition of 250). Cost $1,500.

Collection Background:

This striking edition of Flaubert’s masterpiece contains twenty illustrations by the modern miniaturist Arthur Szyk (pronounced Shick), colored in superb pochoir at the workshop of Jean Saudé, the foremost practitioner of stencil coloring. These exquisite, dreamy images represent the artist's mastery of symbolism and mysticism beautifully parallel to the subject of Flaubert’s text, St. Anthony, the father of the ascetic doctrine.

Born in Lodz, Poland, of Jewish parents, Szyk’s felt the power and consequence of his art as a young man when he was expelled from high school for making anti-czarist sketches. “Art is not my aim, it is my means,” wrote Szyk, who believed in using his talents in the service of human rights and civil liberties. He fought in the Polish army during World War I and joined the anti-Semitic white Russian units during the Polish Bolshevik war before settling in Paris in 1924. It was while in Paris that Szyk found fame illustrating the work of Flaubert and others.

La tentation de Saint Antoine beautifully enhances the thirteen other volumes the library holds by and about Szyk, making Princeton a primary source for the study of this artist. The original prints expand on the Charles Rahn Fry Pochoir Collection, which offers twenty-six examples of Saudé’s superb pochoir coloring. Finally, the text augments the library’s outstanding collection of world literature offering a total of 216 books by Flaubert, with fourteen other editions of Flaubert’s Saint Antoine.


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The curator: a biographical note

Julie Mellby is nearing the end of her first year with the staff of Rare Books and Special Collections as Graphic Arts Librarian and yet, each day brings a new discovery of hidden treasures, as she gets to know Princeton’s amazing collections.  Julie’s training has included more than the academic degrees from Columbia University and Hunter College, CUNY. She has studied a variety of graphic arts processes under master artists such as photogravure with Daria Sywulak and daguerreotype with Kenneth Nelson. Pochoir, the French term for stenciling, was introduced to her years ago at the New York Center for Book Arts and is still a favorite for reproducing an image in multiple.

Julie comes to Princeton by way of the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, the Toledo Museum of Art (one of the greatest art collections in the U.S.), and the Houghton Library at Harvard University. Houghton has a similar department of graphic arts where she was fortunate to work under Anne Anninger, studying the history of letterform and book arts. Now that she is at Princeton, Julie is anxious to share what she is finding and hear from Friends regarding their own interests in the graphic arts (contact her at, 609-258-3197).

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