Item #1251 Work. Ade de Bethune.
Work
Work
Work
Work
Work

Work

Newport, Rhode Island: John Stevens, 1951. Fourth edition. Octavo (9 inches tall), staple-bound in original textured rose wrappers, printed on laid paper. Fine. Item #1251

"FOR NO ACTION IS WORTHLESS, AND THE FULLNESS OF GOD IS WORTHY TO BE GLORIFIED IN ALL THINGS" 

Limited mid-century edition of Ade Bethune's Work—an early work by an important iconographer of the Catholic Worker movement. One of only 2000 copies printed on laid paper in the original paper wrappers.

Ade de Bethune was a Belgian immigrant who became a part of the circle around Peter Maurin, Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker: "A young artist named Ade Bethune...had begun to do drawings for the paper. Her work first appeared in the March 1934 issue, with a picture of St. Joseph standing at a sawing table. Miss Bethune's art work would distinguish the paper for a decade" (William D. Miller). Bethune's artistic style, emphasizing a modern interpretation of traditional themes, represented a decisive break with the often-sentimental sacred art of the previous century. Her work was a critical visual hallmark of The Catholic Worker paper during the Great Depression and the Second World War. In 1938, Bethune moved to Newport and established a studio at the John Stevens Shop. "Whenever I visited Ade I came away with a renewed zest for life. She has such a sense of the sacramentality of life, the goodness of things, a sense that is translated in all her works whether it was illustrating a missal, making stained-glass windows or sewing, cooking or gardening. To do things perfectly was always her aim'" (Dorothy Day, The Long Loneliness). 

First published in 1938, this fourth edition of Bethune's essays featured two charts and three stunning wood-engravings, including Our Lady of Home Work and her splendid image of the Holy Family (which first appeared in the Catholic Worker in January 1937). The Holy Family captures the Catholic Workers "belief in the nobility and sanctity of work. Joseph at left and Christ in the middle are engaged in carpentry while Mary stitches a garment. The drawing is accompanied by the motto of the Benedictine order, 'Ora et Labora,' or 'Pray and Work.' The figures in the image wear contemporary clothing and use modern tools. The men wear pants and closed shoes. Joseph also has a brimmed cap. He uses a modern hacksaw, while Mary works with straight pins and a pair of scissors. By updating the figures’ dress and tools, Bethune brings them forward in time, closer to the audience she hopes to reach. At the same time, the simple, non-specific architectural setting and the hand-tools (as opposed to mechanized ones) allow the image to concurrently occupy the past" (Rachel E. Norton). Printed by The Ward Printing Company with a limitation page on the final leaf. William D. Miller, Dorothy Day: A Biography, Rachel E. Norton, Useful to the Mind: Ade Bethune's Illustrations for the Catholic Worker.

Price: $100.00

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