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R. B. Kitaj

American, 1932-2007

Kampflieder: Battle Songs: Canzoni di Guerra from the portfolio In Our Time: Covers for a Small Library After the Life for the Most Part, 1969-1970

color screen print and photoscreenprint

Edition: 55/150

sheet: 31 x 22 1/2 inches (78.74 x 57.15 cm)

Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

Gift of Anthony Harris, 1979


More Details



Work Type

Screen print

Information may change due to ongoing research.Glossary of Terms

In a 1964 essay, R. B. Kitaj stated, “Some books have pictures and some pictures have books.” “In Our Time: Covers for a Small Library After the Life for the Most Part,” a portfolio of fifty screen prints based on enlarged photographs of the covers of books from Kitaj's personal library, takes the artist’s statement even further—some books are pictures. Reinvented as art, this literary cross-section offers an imaginative glimpse into literature, film, and sociopolitical history narrated by the books’ titles and, in some cases, accompanying illustrations. Kitaj had a lifelong obsession with books and took much of the inspiration for his artwork from literary sources. These works also serve as an open-ended portrait of the artist, given the eclectic interests and tastes shown in his personal collection. Kitaj chose to retain evidence of the books' age and wear as seen in torn jackets, stained covers, and worn bindings. Influenced by both Pop art and Marcel Duchamp's readymades, Kitaj jokingly referred to these repurposed book covers as his “soup can.”

Label from R. B. Kitaj: Don’t Listen to the Fools, June 21–September 15, 2013

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