when the mother of my late partner, john reuter-pacyna, fled germany during WWII, she took only her most valuable belongings. they were limited to two suitcases. amazingly, one of the things she took was a 12-volume set of german encyclopedias attempting to show all the animals that lived on all continents, and in all of the oceans and seas.
i inherited that set of heavy tomes from john, and would sometimes leaf through them. the quality of the images was exceptional. all were original etchings and lithographs. with old-style german lettering that was nearly impossible to decipher. but i knew they couldn’t stay in my bookcase forever. something good had to come of them.
i ended up donating the complete set to my sister, chery baird. and she ended up producing 4 wonderful series of collages using their illustrations. she even deciphered the german enough to look up the animals in english, and added that information to the back of each collage!
the four series which resulted were: Zoo Zone, Menagerie, Wildlife Preserve, and Dictionary Of Marks.
the Zoo Zone series use only black and white etchings, combined with chery-made papers, and are very wide: 7 x 26″.
the Menagerie series use only the beautiful old colored lithographs, painstakingly created before the advent of color-separation technology. those are 8 x 12″, or 12 x 8″, depending on their orientation.
the Wildlife Preserve series use the large black and white etchings. those are also 8 x 12″, or 12 x 8″, depending on their orientation.
the Dictionary Of Marks series are collages made from the small cut leftovers, arranged abstractly.
i am incredibly pleased that this inheritance has been used in such a creative fashion, and will enrich the lives of the many people who will acquire these collages. a fitting tribute to john reuter-pacyna’s mother’s preservation of them – against all odds!