[Bach, Johann Sebastian. (1685–1750)] Mesens, E. L. T. (1903–1971)
"Troisième front: poèmes de guerre, suivi de Pièces détachées" ["Third Front & Detached Pieces"] - SIGNED
London: London Gallery Editions. 1944. First.
Softcover. 8vo. 47 pp. plus signed limitation page, hand numbered by the author 441 from the edition of 500. Pale green paper covers contained in the original yellow paper wrappers, all slightly toned but otherwise in fine condition; block split from cover along rear gutter with glue remnants visible along front and rear gutters. Several gatherings uncut. Overall a crisp, beautiful copy. Signed bilingual edition, translated by Roland Penrose and Mesens with illustrations by the author, including numerous poems concerning music, such as "La partition compléte / The Complete Score," accompanied by a two-page illustration of five staves covered in unusual key signatures and objects. Another poem "Le clavecin bien tamponné / de Jean Sébastien Bach / Entièrement Fait a la main / par l'artiste / en personne," appears with an illustration of a hand playing the piano.
Born in Belgium, Mesens "started his artistic career as a musician influenced by Erik Satie and an author of dadaist poems. He was a publisher of the books Œesophage and Marie, both with his lifetime friend and soulmate René Magritte. His activity as one of the leaders of the surrealist movement in Belgium was eased by the fact that he was an owner of a gallery, where he organised the first surrealist exhibition in Belgium in 1934 . As its organiser, he also went to co-organise the London International Surrealist Exhibition which made him settle down in London. There he became the director of the London Gallery (which he ran during the late 30s and after the war with Roland Penrose) and the chief editor of the London Bulletin (1938–1940) - which was one of the most important bulletins among the English-language Surrealist periodicals." (Petr Král, Marble tastes best when cold, p. 113.)