The Twentieth Century

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Virgil (70–39 BCE).
Les Bucoliques de Virgile.

Translated by Paul Valéry.
Paris: Scripta & Picta, 1953. (10621)

Inspired by the originality of modern English bindings, Parisian binders led by Henri Marius-Michel (1846–1925) developed the concept of "reliure originale," or "design binding," which for the first time incorporated specific pictorial or textual references to the book's literary contents as a matter of course. This seemingly simple but revolutionary idea became a guiding principle of twentieth-century fine binding. As the century progressed, design bindings began to reflect increasing interest in the styles current in the fine arts, such as Art Deco, Cubism, and Pop Art. Bridwell Library's commitment to design binding lives on through The Helen Warren DeGolyer Triennial Exhibition and Competition for American Bookbinding.

The Twentieth Century