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Book Arts Collection

A guide to discovering artists' books in the Book Arts Collection at Hill Memorial Library.

About Arion Press

The Arion Press was founded in 1974 in San Francisco. One of the proprietors, Robert Grabhorn, operated a fine press prior. His partner, Andrew Hoyem, had been publishing beat poetry. Together at Arion Press, they used their fine press skills and materials to collaborate with artists in the production of classic and contemporary texts, which is why they call their works "fine artists' books."

Arion Press Website


Selected Works by Arion Press

The Lulu Plays

Wedekind, Frank. The Lulu Plays. San Francisco: The Arion Press, 2015.
PT2647 .E26 A25 2015 OVER, Rare

Illustrated by William Kentridge with 67 ink drawings and printed by 4-color offset lithography.


Silhouette portrait of Bess holding a baby in a swaying field.

Porgy & Bess

Heyward, DuBose & George Gershwin. Porgy & Bess. San Francisco [California]: The Arion Press, 2013.
ML50 .G384 P7 2013 OVER, Rare

Illustrated by Kara Walker via lithograph in her iconic silhouette technique.

Kora in Hell: Improvisations

Williams, William Carlos. Kora in Hell: Improvisations. San Francisco: Arion Press, 1998.
PS3545 .I544 K67 1998, Rare

21 woodblock prints by Mel Kendrick; bound in black leather with laser cut wood veneer. Williams wrote this collection of prose poems in 1917, reflecting on daily events over the course of a year. -- Publisher's website.

Achromatic minimalist woodcut by Martin Puryear with text from Cane.


Toomer, Jean. Cane. San Francisco, [Calif.] : Arion Press, 2000.
PS3539 .O478 C35 2000 FLAT, Rare

Jean Toomer was born in 1894 and is the grandson of P. B. S. Pinchback, a Reconstruction politician who served as the Lieutenant Governor and briefly as the acting Governor of Louisiana. Toomer wrote Cane after spending time in Sparta, Georgia in the 1920s where he found the legacy of slavery strongly affected life in the Black Belt. -- Afterword by Leon T. Litwack. Marin Puryear is best known for his sculptures, and his minimalist, linear designs printed via woodcuts illustrate this text.

A Delicate Balance

Albee, Edward. A Delicate Balance. San Francisco: Arion Press, 2011.
PS3551 .L25 D4 2011, Rare

Four abstract watercolor illustrations by Tom Holland, reproduced by inkjet.

Ape & Cat

Dine, Jim. Ape & Cat: Eighteen Photogravures. San Francisco: Arion Press, 1997.
N6537 .D5 A4 1997 FLAT, Rare

An album of 18 photogravures by Jim Dine, in a box with a lead bas-relief on the lid of an "Ape and Cat" image by Dine.

The Voices of Marrakesh: A Record of a Visit

Canetti, Elias. The Voices of Marrakesh: A Record of a Visit. San Francisco: Arion Press, 2001.
DT329 .M3 C313 2001, Rare

29 photographs by Karl Bissinger, taken in 1949 while on assignment in Morocco for Flair magazine; 6 etchings by William T. Wiley.

Flatland: A Romance of many Dimensions

Abbott, Edwin Abbott. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensons. San Francisco: Arion Press, 1980.
QA699 .A13 1980 FLAT, Rare

Illustrated with hand-colored die cutouts of geometric shapes, and shaped typesetting throughout. The accordion style binding allows the book to unfold and lay flat (33-feet long!) or can be read as a codex. This is the 7th title of Arion Press.

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