late 40s, early 50s. Proof. Hardcover. Signed by Hermann Schardt on each plate. Quarto. (3) 30 vellum double leaves. String-bound in modern brown leather. Thirty 4 x 4" plates printed to glossy paper and pasted to matted vellum paper, each signed in pencil by the artist and matted by top vellum leaves.
One of a few copies of the complete suite of Hermann Schardt's wood engravings Totentanz. Schardt had a few of these copies printed on different paper by various printers in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The images were created from 1940 to 1943 during his engagement as a soldier at the Russian front in 1940. Schardt carried a number of old 4 x 4" boxwood blocks and a few burins with him and started to cut images of death. The powerful imagery depicts death as the dominant part of war, an adversary engaged furiously in every aspect of the campaigns.
Hermann Schardt's manifesto indicts the prevalent warmongering and its consequences. It is a postulate against the anti-spirit ("Ungeist") of the time. The omnipresent bloody red is the central theme of his chronicle of death, showing individual encounters during the war in the most dramatic fashion, only to let hope spring with his last engraving: the rebirth and new beginning.
The suite remained unpublished until 1984 when the printer Martin Heuer, working on the project with Schardt for two and a half years, printed the complete suite. It was then published by H. G. Margreff. This 1984 publication included an introduction by Rolf H. Schmitz as well as an epilog by Ulrich R. Fröhlich. It was not signed by Schardt. He passed prior to the publication. One of a few signed early copies of Schardt's work. Two signed copies of the proofs are held by Schardt's family. Text in German. Binding and interior in overall near fine condition. vg. Item #39013