by Michael Torosian
"My friend Soames was a talented artist. She and I shared our lives together in ups and downs and ins and outs. She was beautiful. She believed in my work. She was something."
So begins, with Saul Leiter's paean to his muse, an intimate reverie on family, relationships, philosophy, and the wonder of an artistic life.
The Ballad of Soames Bantry is a kaleidoscope - Saul's life seen through the prism of his associates, colleagues, and friends. Recollections from members of "the artist's circle" are interwoven with period art reviews, Leiter's poetry - published here for the first time - and predominantly, Saul's voice - his aphorisms and personal narrative distilled from more than 130,000 words of transcription of lectures and interviews. The book's epilogue is taken in its entirety from Michael Torosian's conversation with Saul Leiter of August 1, 2013. The artist's last interview.
Twentieth-century letterpress and twenty-first century offset lithography have been combined to present a suite of 18 plates. Each image has been meticulously rendered in 10 micron stochastic four-color offset lithography on acid-free Mohawk Superfine paper which has been matt varnished. Each plate has then been individually tipped onto the page within a letterpress debossed tint block. The result is the ideal integration of art and book craft. The book is further illustrated with two Saul Leiter self-portraits printed on Somerset.
The text has been composed in Linotype Eldorado and printed on Somerset, a 100% rag paper made expressly for this edition at St. Cuthbert Mill in England. The endpapers - a rich stock toned to harmonize with the cover plaque - were crafted to our specifications at the Papeterie Saint-Armand in Montreal. The book measures 8 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches; 72 pages.
The edition has been hand bound in full cloth in blue mohair Asahi Japanese book cloth. The cover is ornamented with a graphic plaque printed in multiple layers of varnish and gold on "Plike" stock set into the debossed cover panel.
Presented in a handmade slipcase lined with Saint-Armand paper and wrapped in blue mohair Asahi book cloth. Printed in a numbered edition of 250. Numbers 1 to 50 have been retained by the Howard Greenberg Gallery.
First Prize, Alcuin Society, Limited Edition Book Design.