First and Only Edition
HASSELWANDER, Albert. Anatomischer Totentanz. Unter Mitwirkung von Kunstmaler Fritz Skell. Mit 50 Tafeln in Lichtdruck und zahlr. Abb. im Text. Bergmann
First (and only) edition. Small quarto (8 3/4 x 7 inches; 220 x 180 mm). [1]-27, [1 blank] pp. With fifty photographic black-and-white plates. Photos are of nudes in various physical poses, and then the opposite page is a photograph of a human skeleton arranged in the same pose. The final two plates are both skeletons, one hanging from a cross and the other holding a hammer. Considered an "Anatomical Dance of Death," with a preface on the illustrated history of the "Dance of Death" by Hasselwander.

Original half vellum over brown paper boards. Lettered in red on front board and spine. Top edge red, others uncut. Overall about fine.

"This strange and compelling book, which pairs photographic reproductions of models in various postures with skeletons that have been carefully posed in the same positions, is the product of a double impulse, scientific and religious. Albert Hasselwander, who conceived the project, was a radiologist and professor of anatomy who saw his scientific work as providing new insight into the traditional obsession with the transience of human existence. The then- new technology of X-radiography allowed us to see inside living bodies in ways that had never before been possible; at the same time, those X-rays revealed the fundamentally mechanical quality of the human body. Wordlessly, Hasselwander poses the question of what gives meaning to those arrangement of bones, putting his skeletons in ever more emotionally torn and tortured positions. The book ends in a very Christian mode, with a paired crucifixion, one skeletal and one fully fleshed. The pairing seems to propose one possible answer to the question of the source of the animating spirit that turns those piles of bones into living, feeling beings." (Museum of Fine Art, Boston).

HBS # 68698 $7,500

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