By Joseph Brodsky
Photographs by Robert Morgan
Venice: Peter Koch Printer, 2006. Edition of 50.
11 x 16.5 "; 80 pages. Printed on Twinrocker Da Vinci handmade, with watermark designed by Christopher Stinehour and Susan Filter. Photographs by Robert Morgan digitally re-configured by Donald Farnsworth and printed at his Magnolia Editions in Oakland, California, from photogravure plates made by Unai San Martin. Text printed in Monotype Dante types cast in lead at the Olivieri Typefoundry in Milano. Bound in pigmented papers made by hand at Cave Papers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Of the edition of 50: 1 to 30 bound in Venetian-red hand made papers and housed in a hand painted wooden enclosure; I to V designate the deluxe edition bound in full vellum, housed in a unique box with a brass plate imbedded on the surface, includes a suite of all 14 photo-gravures signed by the artist; 15 copies hors commerce.
Peter Koch, Printers: "Watermark is a series of lyrical meditations woven from the fabric of Venice in the late 20th century ... meditations on time & beauty ... a looking glass romance of a Russian poet-in-exile with a city that beguiles his eye. Brodsky dedicated Watermark to his friend the American painter, Robert Morgan who has lived in Venice for more than 30 years and the book is illustrated with 14 photo-gravures made from his original photographs."
Peter Koch, "Printing in the Shadow of Aldus," Parenthesis: "This adventure began when my wife, Susan Filter, began pressing me to consider printing Watermark, a series of essays in memoir form, by the poet and Nobel laureate Joseph Brodsky. Watermark is a series of lyrical meditations woven from the fabric of late twentieth-century Venice, and a meditation on time and beauty and love - a looking glass romance of a Russian poet-in-exile with a city that beguiled his eye.
"Venice - where it is said the mirror was perfected - is a city in which one contemplates beauty by merely opening one's eyes. . . .
"Susan met Joseph in Venice in the mid-1980s while he was writing Watermark and she was studying paper conservation. She and Brodsky became great friends and remained so until his death in 1996. Susan and I met in 2001, and by 2005, she was determined to see a work from his hand fall under the imprint I had established to publish works of art and literature in hand-made editions.
"Early on in our planning we invited Susan's friend Robert Morgan, a painter and longtime friend of Brodsky's, to illustrate the work with his photographs. (Brodsky dedicated Watermark to Morgan in 1986). The real challenge that confronted Susan was how to persuade me to print it in Venice. Admittedly, I was pre-disposed to the idea. I had already dedicated a considerable portion of my life to re-inventing the renaissance ideal of the scholar-artist-printer in a post-modern context. ..."