Leonard Baskin

an exhibition catalog for the Delaware Art Museum

THE DELAWARE ART MUSEUM received an exceptional gift of 50 pieces of work by Leonard Baskin—printmaker, letterpress printer, sculptor, and painter. To celebrate the donation and exhibition of Baskin's work, the Museum asked Lead Graffiti to design, produce and bind 200 copies of a 24-page book listing the donated works, an article on Baskin, and 4 examples of his work.

This project provided 3 extraordinary opportunities to Lead Graffiti: 

  • The first was the chance to design, print via letterpress, and bind a high-quality book for a major state art museum focused on an American artist whose work we've always admired.
  • Second, we got to ask Roland Hoover, a good friend and letterpress printer in Washington, D.C., to design and handset the title page in metal type. Roland has a nice collection of Centaur, the typeface Baskin often used for his book projects. Roland also has classical composition skills that Baskin would have admired.
  • Third, we had the perfect opportunity to use some fabulous marbled paper, also a hallmark of Baskin's bookwork.

Details matter

THE PIECE OF MARBLED PAPER inset on the front cover is one of this book's more notable features. Our research showed that Baskin often wrapped entire covers of his books in marbled papers. However, our budget did not permit such extravagance.

So we opted to inset a fragment of any 1 of 9 different sheets of marbled paper. We witnessed more than a couple of people comparing the various cover options before choosing the color & pattern that made their copy special.

The takeaway

  • A little celebration is good for relationships between museums and patrons, between businesses and employees and customers, etc.
  • Do your research—you never know what you might find.
  • Show that you've done your research—it's the thought that counts, not the cost.
  • A little help from your friends makes everyone feel good!

Production notes

THIS IS ONE OF OUR FAVORITE BOOKS because of the quality of the finished results as well as the subject matter. While the edition is sold out, you might enjoy scanning some of the production details listed below.

  • Edition of 200 copies
  • Finished size of 7.25" x 11.25"
  • Typefaces are Centaur & Arrighi. Cover and title page handset in metal by Roland Hoover, Pembroke Press, Bethesda, MD. Balance of the text set digitally with nuanced fractions and printed with photopolymer plates made by Boxcar Press, Syracuse, NY.
  • Cover & text pages printed slowly & patiently in 2 colors via letterpress by Lead Graffiti, Newark, DE. Images printed in process colors by Mercantile Press, Wilmington, DE, via offset lithography using a digitally generated concentric dot screen.
  • Papers include Canson Mi-Tientes felt gray for the outer covers and bordeaux for the endsheets; satin vellum 30 lb. flysheet; Hahnemühle Bugra gray text (torn by hand); and Mohawk Superfine ultrawhite 65 lb. smooth for the images.
  • An inset fragment of marbled paper on the cover was randomly selected from any of 3 sources: Clair Guillot (France), Ann Muir (UK), or Payhembury (UK).
  • Each book was hand bound by Lead Graffiti with a double 3-hole pamphlet stitch in red linen thread with a Cotlin book cloth spine.

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