Enrico Damiani, editor in Milan in the forties, publishes books that due to their inventiveness, care, elegance, and loving attention to detail captured international interest in the aftermath of the Second World War.
Enrico Damiani was born in Bergamo, 4th February 1902, and studied classics in the city. After finishing his studies he enrolled as an officer of the cavalry in the battle of Nizza Monferato. Then he became a journalist and theatre critic, for two magazines, “L’Ambrosia” and “La liberta” in Milan where he then became a member of the CLN and formed part of the resistance movement. At the same time he succeeded in becoming editor of art books with topics and texts that were not in line with the popular thinking of the time, but more subversive, with an international flavour.
Between 1943 and 1946 he published a notable number of important works, including “Viaggio Sentimentale” by Lorenzo Sterne, illustrated by De Pises, “Poesies di Verlaine” in the original language, “i Disegni di Giovanni Carnovali detto il Piccio”, “i Disegni di Gemito”, and “il Disegno italiano contemporaneo” by Raffaele Carrieri.
The critical reviews of the books are positive. They praise the perfect lithograph reproductions, the cleanness of the brush strokes, the texture of the paper, the text printed onto luxury paper with its clean character and clear aristocracy and also the loving care demonstrated in the perfection of the particular techniques used.
The Damiani archives allow us to reproduce the process that has brought this exceptional quality to the publication and to reconstruct in the particularly difficult situation of the period the extraordinary cultural climate of Milan at the time, they include documentation of a editorial and literary character, correspondence with the authors and the illustrators, typed minutes, drafts, letters of criticism, contracts, catalogues, editions for review, technical materials such as typographical matrices and iconographic materials.
Signed letters by authors and consultants bear witness to the cultural program of the very active and operational publishing house despite the military atmosphere – the country was under bombardment, and had economic difficulties.
The colophon data of some volumes are given here:
R. Carrieri, Il Disegno Italiano Contemporaneo, 2nd volume of the collection “I disegnatori italiani”, direct from Ugo Galetti. Edition of 1000 numbered copies, of which 700 are in Italian and 300 in French, with seventy tables of lithographs by Rosso, Modigliani, Boccioni, Carra, De Chirico, Marussig, Sironi, Casorati, Campigli, Marini, Garbari, De Pisis, Scipione, Morandi and Manzu. Price L2,000.
Verlaine, “Poesies”, a selection of poems, in the original text, with ten watercolours by Filippo De Pisis. Handmade edition printed on Sanseverina paper in format 18×27. 600 numbered copies from 1 to 600; 10 examples, each with an original watercolour, marked with roman numerals from I a X; 2 copies, each with a annotated watercolour, distinguished by the letters A e B. Price of the standard edition 2.500 lira.
“Amphitrion” by Moliere, in the original text, with eleven coloured monotypes by Emanuele Luzzati. Edition of 330 copies, handmade and hand printed by the paper mill Miliani of Fabriano, subdivided in the following way: 319 copies numbered from 1 to 319; 11 marked with roman numerals from I to XI, each with one of the original illustrations; format 18×27.
“Le Misantrope” by Moliere, in the original language, with ten coloured monotypes by Emanuele Luzzati. Edition of 330 numbered copies, handmade and hand printed onto paper by the Fabriano paper mill.
Beaumarchais: Le Mariage De Figaro, in the original text, adapted by Carlo Cordiè, with ten watercolour illustrations by Renato Vernizzi. Edition of 500 copies, handmade and hand printed onto paper from Fabriano: 490 copies numbered from 1 to 490; ten numbered from I a X, each with an original watercolour signed by the author; format 18×27.
“La Vita di Arlecchino”, with various prints of the age reproduced in lithograph and three colour illustrations thanks to the artists De Pisis, Tomea and Luzzati. The original edition – handmade and hand printed by the paper mill Miliani di Fabriano – is comprised of 300 copies, of which: 297 numbered from I to 297 and 3 marked with the letters A, B and C, each with an original illustration signed by the author.
“La Vita di Pantaleone”, with colour illustrations. Edition of 300 numbered copies, handmade and hand printed by the paper mill Miliani di Fabriano.