The Reva and David Logan Collection of Illustrated Books

Over the course of 20 years, Chicago collectors Reva and David Logan assembled one of the most important private collections of modern artist illustrated books, which they gave to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in 1998. They began their collection with the purchase of Joan Miró’s classic book, À toute épreuve by Paul Éluard (Geneva: Gérald Cramer, 1958), which they spotted while browsing through a photography catalog in the 1970s. The Logans favored French books of the School of Paris up to 1960 and also collected contemporary books, building a collection made up primarily of modern livres d’artists (collaboratively produced volumes that combine text with original graphic art, executed and printed under the artist’s supervision). Pablo Picasso was a particular favorite of the Logans, and today the collection contains more than seventy of the artist’s 156 books including the calligraphically striking Le Chant des morts by Pierre Reverdy (Paris: Tériade, 1948). The Logans also collected artists’ books from the Russian, German, and Italian avant garde including El Lissitzky’s Dlia Golosa by Vladimir Mayakovsky (Berlin, Gosizdat, 1923) and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s Umbra Vitae by Georg Heym (Munich: Kurt Wolff Verlag, 1924).

Selections from the Logan collection, now comprised of more than 400 books dating from the nineteenth century to the present, are regularly used in exhibitions in the Reva and David Logan Gallery of Illustrated Books at the Legion of Honor. Recent exhibitions featured in this gallery include Paris 1913: La Prose du Transsibérien and the Flowering of the Avant-GardeFraming the Body: Form and Figure in Artists’ BooksParallel Visions: Artists, Poets, and the Book; and Historic Futures: Artists Re-invent the Book.

Check out an extended, multimedia experience around the history of Artist's Books and La Prose du Transsibérien.