The Steve Abramson Moby Dick Book & Print Collection
Opening Reception: Saturday, August 5th from 6:00 to 8:00pm.
The Sag Harbor Whaling & Historical Museum is exhibiting the exquisite folio-size limited edition of Moby Dick, published in 1975 by Water Mill resident, Steve Abramson. This luxurious collector’s edition was limited to 1500 numbered copies, each signed by the pioneering oceanographer, Jacques-Yves Cousteau and renowned artist: LeRoy Neiman. There will be an opening reception on Saturday, August 5, and a special guest will read Captain Cousteau’s preface. The exhibit, which features the framed Neiman illustrations from the book, will continue through September 10. The last remaining ten copies of this collector’s edition are available for purchase through the Museum during the exhibition.
LeRoy Neiman created thirteen illustrations, and Jacques Cousteau wrote the poetic preface for this very unique volume. Twelve of the illustrations, size 22” x 14”, were lithographed in five to eight color impressions, on a special material that does not absorb ink, giving these art prints exceptional density and brilliance.
The thirteenth illustration, appearing as the edition’s frontispiece, is a Neiman 27-color serigraph on handmade paper, and is hand-signed by Neiman. Captain Cousteau’s preface was reproduced in his own handwriting, and then was individually hand-signed by Cousteau.
For the text, five tons of lead type were set in Monotype hot metal and printed letterpress on special 100% cotton paper. The typeface is large 12-point Scotch Roman, an early nineteenth century design of considerable legibility (continued) and vigor, perfectly suited to the period of the story.
The 9-pound volume is hand-bound in rich brown moroccogoat leather. The cover is decorated with a line rendering of Ahab, drawn by LeRoy Neiman and stamped in24-karat gold.
LeRoy Neiman, whose work has been celebrated for capturing the excitement of sporting events and the whirl of celebrity life, considered illustrating Moby Dick a particular challenge: “Biblical in feeling, sacred in theme — only in this mood and way could I paint Moby Dick.”
The relevance of the theme of Moby Dick to modern society and the fate of the whale is sensitively described in Captain Cousteau’s preface. Cousteau alluded to man’s ultimate search for the unknown, the overarching metaphor of the story: “The new Ahabs pursue their White Whale to the heart of the atom and to the confines of the cosmos.”
At the time of publication, A. Hyatt Mayor, Curator of Prints at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, lauded Neiman’s accomplishment: “Moby Dick is at last illustrated with the surge and thunder of the sea.” Lloyd Goodrich, Consultant to The Whitney Museum said: “This edition of Moby Dick is one of the handsomest pieces of bookmaking I have ever seen.”
Mr. Abramson retained the last ten copies of Moby Dick, all low numbers, mint in original cartons. Now these are being exclusively briefly offered for sale for the first time through the Sag Harbor Whaling & Historical Museum.
In addition to the book, on display and available for purchase through the Museum is a suite of 4 stunning illustrations produced as large multicolor serigraphs, size 30” x 19”. Also available separately with the purchase of the book is an additional set of all 13 illustrations suitable for framing, including an additional hand-signed Neiman serigraph frontispiece.