Paris: Éditions des Quatre Chemins, 1929. Limited First edition. Paperback. 1/50. Quarto. 20, pp (text), 51 leafs (plates), ,  (original lithographs and etchings). Uncut. Original glassine over printed dust-jacket and wrappers. Frontispiece portrait of Maria Lani*. Striking collection of 51 portraits of Maria Lani by 51 painters, featuring work by Chaim Soutine, Kees van Dongen, Georges Rouault, Pierre Bonnard, Rodolphe-Théophile Bosshard, Charles Despiau, Henri Matisse, Man Ray, André Derain, and others. One of 525 copies, this copy is one of 50 printed on Holland paper (No.31) with an extra suite containing an original lithograph by Derain, three etchings by Chirico, Chas Laborde, and Goerg, an original lithograph by Hermine David, and three extra drawings by Henri Matisse. Glassine partly torn and missing on spine. Spine creased with tail of spine partly chipped. Text in French. Glassine in overall fair, dust-jacket and wrappers in fair to good-, interior and plates in near fine to fine condition. g to g+. Item #37020
* Maria Lani was a real-life enigma. Indeed, in the late 1920's, an actress (German, Polish, or Czech depending on the source) named Maria Lani arrived on the Paris art scene. Over the next two years she convinced over 50 artists to paint her portrait on the pretext that they would be used in a horror movie in which she was starring about paintings that come to life. In November 1930, the paintings were exhibited at gallery and a catalog of the exhibition was created which included an introduction by Jean Cocteau part of which reads: "Every time I look away she changes... what a hypnotic force the woman has." The only problem was Lani was a stenographer from Prague (or Warsaw), not an actress and there was no movie. Lani took all the painting that didn't sell at the exhibition and fled to America where many more were sold. By wartime, Lani worked at the Stage Door Canteen in New York, a sort of dance hall for servicemen on leave where they could be entertained by celebrities. After the war she returned to Paris where she died in 1954.