München: T. J. Vizgirda, 1949. First edition. Hardcover. Signed and dated on colophon. 528/560. 4to. 28pp. Original illustrated dustjacket over tan paper-covered boards with brown lettering on cover. Artist book illustrated with nine original woodcuts by Vaclovas Ratas, initials in plates, hand-set letterpress text. Translation revised by Mark J. Kinney and text edited by Paulius Jurkus. Volume XXVII of "Lithuania - Country and Nation." The woodcuts are similar to the German Expressionist style using stiff angular images and aggressive sharp broken lines.
Dustjacket with major wear, bottom third of back part of dj and most of dj spine missing, flaps separated and various medium chips along edges. Binding with one-inch chip at head, and three-inch chip at tail of spine missing. Some sunning along edges of boards. Browning to pages of block not affecting text or images. Dj in poor, book in good condition. Though in poor condition, very rare with dj. poor to g. Item #15108
Vaclovas Ratas' (1910–1973) work is known for his basic approach of simplicity, sincerity and his love for decorative values. His work is not true to one particular style but executed in varying styles and techniques. He was a founding member of FORMA in 1931, a group of seven Lithuanian artists and his work was exhibited internationally. In 1937 he was awarded the Prix d'Honeur for his woodcut illustrations in "Jurate and Kastytis," a ballad of the Lithuanian Poet Maironis. During his exile in Germany from 1945–1949 Ratas started his own art school and in 1949 created the nine woodcuts for "The Twelve Ravens." In the same year Ratas emigrated to Perth, Australia. "The speed with which the émigré artist embraced Aboriginal art is astounding. Vaclovas Ratas who landed in Perth in 1949 produced woodcuts that incorporated Aboriginal motifs by the end of that year." (Roger Butler). Ratas eventually settled in Sydney which was dominated by abstract art. He joined the Lithuanian artist group Aitvaras (The Goblin). Ratas Australian period is considered the least productive one though his style became more colorful and joyful.