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Art Africain: Accumulation & bibliothèque de Jean-François Danquin

Contributed by Quentin Schmerber on Jun 25th, 2019. Artwork published in
February 2016
.
    Art Africain: Accumulation & bibliothèque de Jean-François Danquin 1
    © Sam Bush/Quentin Schmerber. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Three years ago, a year after the tragic and unexpected passing of Jean-François Danquin, a character that was very important in my scholarship but also in my life, I took care of the design of a book displaying his whole tribal art collection. The book had two goals: being a worthy memory of him and his collection and being the catalog of the auction sale that was about to happen to disperse his massive gathering of statues, masks (over 300 pieces without ever stepping a foot on the African continent) and books into the hands of other collectors (hence the date and prices indicated).

    The book is an heterogeneous mixture of studio pictures of the pieces, texts, private photographies, stamps, paintings, lists … If I would have designed it in the 1970s or 1980s I would probably have used typefaces like Jacno, Vendôme, or Antique Olive, that were highly popular at the time. But as I was designing it in the 2010s I rather chose Framboisier (a typeface based on Jacno’s work designed with Dorine Sauzet for an exhibition) for titles and paratext elements, Duplicate Sans by Christian Schwartz for the numerous captions, and the still-unreleased Ganeau Book by Sandrine Nugue for written texts by or about Danquin.

    Éditions Vivement Dimanche / 240 pages / 20×26.5 cm [see an extract online]

    PS: This book is the first of the Collection(s) Danquin series, the second one being Accumulation de plaques publicitaires émaillées (about his enamel plates collection) designed by Michelines. The third one remains to be published.

    Jean-François Danquin is pictured in front of his (almost) whole collection at the beginning of the book facing the title page.
    © Sam Bush/Quentin Schmerber. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Jean-François Danquin is pictured in front of his (almost) whole collection at the beginning of the book facing the title page.

    Jean-François Danquin is pictured in front of his (almost) whole collection at the beginning of the book facing the title page.
    © Sam Bush/Quentin Schmerber. License: All Rights Reserved.

    I designed a map to locate every tribe featured in the book. Current African borders are indicated.

    Jean-François Danquin is pictured in front of his (almost) whole collection at the beginning of the book facing the title page.
    © Sam Bush/Quentin Schmerber. License: All Rights Reserved.

    The introductory texts are set in Ganeau Book roman with a Framboisier drop cap.

    Art Africain: Accumulation & bibliothèque de Jean-François Danquin 5
    © Sam Bush/Quentin Schmerber. License: All Rights Reserved.
    Jean-François Danquin is pictured in front of his (almost) whole collection at the beginning of the book facing the title page.
    © Sam Bush/Quentin Schmerber. License: All Rights Reserved.

    The book features some pictures of Danquin’s playing with his pieces that we found in his photo books.

    Jean-François Danquin is pictured in front of his (almost) whole collection at the beginning of the book facing the title page.
    © Sam Bush/Quentin Schmerber. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Danquin was particularly fond of Gelede masks from the Yoruba tribe. A whole section of the book is dedicated to them.

    Art Africain: Accumulation & bibliothèque de Jean-François Danquin 8
    © Sam Bush/Quentin Schmerber. License: All Rights Reserved.
    Jean-François Danquin is pictured in front of his (almost) whole collection at the beginning of the book facing the title page.
    © Sam Bush/Quentin Schmerber. License: All Rights Reserved.

    As Danquin was not only collecting tribal art pieces but a lot of others things too, we included some stamps from his collection where appropriate.

    Jean-François Danquin is pictured in front of his (almost) whole collection at the beginning of the book facing the title page.
    © Sam Bush/Quentin Schmerber. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Danquin was a painter. Here’s a self portrait of him showing the Igbo statue shown on the left page. There’s several of his paintings in the book.

    Jean-François Danquin is pictured in front of his (almost) whole collection at the beginning of the book facing the title page.
    © Sam Bush/Quentin Schmerber. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Extracts from Danquin’s writings from a previous book scour the book. They are set in Ganeau Book italic.

    Jean-François Danquin is pictured in front of his (almost) whole collection at the beginning of the book facing the title page.
    © Sam Bush/Quentin Schmerber. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Framboisier was used for the page number and the running tribe identifier on the bottom of each page.

    Jean-François Danquin is pictured in front of his (almost) whole collection at the beginning of the book facing the title page.
    © Sam Bush/Quentin Schmerber. License: All Rights Reserved.

    The book was designed with a structured but flexible grid allowing a lot of different picture layouts.

    Art Africain: Accumulation & bibliothèque de Jean-François Danquin 14
    © Sam Bush/Quentin Schmerber. License: All Rights Reserved.
    Jean-François Danquin is pictured in front of his (almost) whole collection at the beginning of the book facing the title page.
    © Sam Bush/Quentin Schmerber. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Black and white pictures indicate pieces from his collection that weren’t for sale because they were offered to some of his relatives and friends, lost, or buried with him. A lot of time has been dedicated to make sure the black and white wasn’t too flat and paid proper homage to these pieces.

    Jean-François Danquin is pictured in front of his (almost) whole collection at the beginning of the book facing the title page.
    © Sam Bush/Quentin Schmerber. License: All Rights Reserved.

    The huge bibliography (over 1,500 references) featured at the end of the catalog was quite a challenge. I used Regular Expressions to design it (almost) automatically!

    Jean-François Danquin is pictured in front of his (almost) whole collection at the beginning of the book facing the title page.
    © Sam Bush/Quentin Schmerber. License: All Rights Reserved.

    The endpaper was made out of some Danquin’s scribbles that we found on a loose sheet of paper. I shaped them to pay homage to Tintin’s endpapers (he was a big fan of it) and added his signature at the bottom.

    Art Africain: Accumulation & bibliothèque de Jean-François Danquin 18
    © Sam Bush/Quentin Schmerber. License: All Rights Reserved.

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