Fine press book culture in California owes much to H. Mallette Dean (1907-1975), a prolific printmaker and illustrator perhaps best known for a talent of tailoring his work to each commission. A regular illustrator for the Book Club of California, Grabhorn Press, Colt Press, and the Allen Press, Dean’s distinctive, modernist style was largely influenced by social realist muralist Ray Boynton (1883-1951). Dean completed many WPA-funded projects as well; two massive murals commissioned by the Federal Public Works Project grace the interior of San Francisco’s Coit Tower.
On Monday, May 6, the Book Club of California opens an exhibit dedicated to Dean in conjunction with the publication of its latest book, Mallette Dean: a Printmaker and His Art, written by John T. Hawk (regular edition $285, deluxe $1,200). Items on display hail from the Club’s 10,000-volume-strong Sperisen Library, whose collection focuses on the art of fine printing in California as well as printing history in general. Many of the original images featured in Hawk’s book are part of the exhibition.
Viewing opens at 5pm, with remarks by Mr. Hawk to follow at 5:30. Copies of Mallette Dean will be available for purchase. The show is on view through August 12, 2019. RSVP for opening night here.