Friday, December 31, 2010


Prior to starting my collection of photography books (circa 1973 in New York) the only exposure I had to the word NUS was in an ad at the back of an early 1960s American men's magazine: "Exotic French books (in the ad, an illustration of NUS covers, including the Andre de Deines color cover below) imported directly from Paris". The ad was very appealing, but who knew what you'd get after responding to a girlie magazine ad. 

A few years into collecting I found two or three volumes of NUS and was pleasantly surprised to see that they were filled with exceptional photographs, beautifully printed with full-page gravures of female nudes. Fast forwarding about five years, as my collection was growing, I starting attending auctions of photography books. That is where I saw  N 
                        S  edited by Daniel Masclet (below) for the first time. I had to have it for the growing part of my collection concerning books on the nude, but it was more than I could afford and I dropped out of the bidding. Fast forward again to my early days in Paris, circa 1985. On one trip that year, at a bouquinistes stall on the left bank, there was NUS, seemingly waiting for me. It was wrapped in heavy plastic, taped shut like a parcel ready to be mailed, 40F (forty francs - at the time $4.00!) written in bold black marker on the front. I should say "they were wrapped..." as there were four or five copies of this, up until that moment, rare book, presented as a 50 plus years old "remainder" on the quai in Paris. 

I bought the three copies that looked like they had just arrived fresh from the publisher (left behind the copies that were a bit damaged) and got my 10% percent discount to boot. Over the years I bought as many copies as I could find in and around the quai, the price inching up to 100F. Then, like all desirable remaindered books, they disappeared. 

Years later they began reappearing in the windows of better book shops for 250F and up. When the euro was introduced in 2002 and prices for all consumer goods took a big jump, the price was 250/300 Euros. Today you can find copies on-line starting at $1,200.00 and up to $2,500.00. Realistic price is $750.00. I'd like a few more of those copies wrapped in plastic...please!

Today's post: an homage to le NU ~ NUS ~ NUES ~~ NUDE ~ NUDES ~ NAKED

The first modern French book of the nude to be published in Paris was Daniel Masclet's NUS with stunningly simple typography on the cover plus 
burgundy colored tie-binding. 
NUS. La Beaute de la Femme. Album du Premier Salon International du Nus Photographique. Published by Chez Braun and Daniel Masclet. Paris, 1933. 
Includes photographs by Laure Albin Guillot, Pierre Boucher, Frantisek Drtikol, AndrĂ©as Feinenger, Emil-Otto Hoppe, Moholy-Nagy, George Platt Lynes, 
Man Ray, Marcel Meys and others.

Formes Nues. Albert Mentzel, Albert Roux (Editors): Paris: Editions d'Art Graphique et Photographique, 1935. Text in English, French, and German. Folio size with spiral binding.  Cover photograph by Man Ray. 
Ninety-six full-page photographs plus twenty-two pages of text in French, German and English. Beautifully printed in gravure including photographs by 
Laure Albin-Guillot, Pierre Boucher, Brassai, Louis Caillaud, Frantisek Drtikol, 
Nora Dumas, Andreas Feininger, Raoul Hausmann, John Havinden, Florence Henri, Andre Kertesz, Edmund Kesting, Ergy Landau, Jacques Lemare, Herbert List, Kefer-Dora Maar, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, George Platt Lynes, Therese Le Prat, Man Ray, Franz Roh, Maurice Tabard, Maurice P. Verneuil and others.

Etudes de Nus. Editions du Chene. Paris, 1948. Beautifully printed in gravure, folio size publication with 24 photographs on plates, loose in the wrapper, ready to be framed. Includes female nudes by Brassai, Nora Dumas, Feher, Pierre Jahan, Ergy Landau, Liu-Shu-Chang, Philippe Pottier, Jeanne Robert, Seeberger and Sougez. 

Le Nu en Photographie. Marcel Natkin. Paris, 1949. Photographs by Man Ray, Pierre Jahan, Pierre Boucher, Brassai and Emmanuel Sougez.

 NUS Academics Dans La Nature. En Relief par les Anaglyphes.
Paris, circa 1935. Nudes outdoors photographed in 3-D.

The following seven cover illustrations are from the NUS series published in Paris starting in 1949. The series was numerically consistent until volume 4 or 5.  At that point the serial information was dropped and then restarted a few years later making it impossible to figure out the correct publishing sequence. Nonetheless, the quality of each volume was always consistently high, impeccably printed in full-page gravure and filled with images by some of the best photographers working in the genre. The series ended circa 1960. 

 NUS. Photos Originales d'Andre de Deines. Paris: Societe Parisienne d'Editions 
Artistiques, circa 1949. De Deines was noted for posing his models outdoors and was one of the first to photograph Marilyn Monroe.

 NUS Exotiques. Photos by Paul Facchetti. Paris: Societe Parisienne d'Editions 
Artistiques, circa 1949. Unique in the series featuring photographs of black models.

 NUS. Photographies Originales d'Andre de Deines. Paris: Societe 
Parisienne d'Editions Artistiques, circa 1949. 

 NUS par Andre Steiner. Paris: published not indicated, 1953.
All photographs by Andre Steiner. 

Nus Academiques. Paris: Societe Parisienne d'Editions 
Artistiques, circa 1950. Collection of female nudes by
various photographers.

Etudes de Nus par Andre Steiner. Paris: Editions Tiranty, circa 1952.
All photographs by Andre Steiner.

NUS. Ondines. Photographies par Serge Jacques. Paris: Editions 
Mistral, circa 1950. Sixteen plates loose in the wrapper, ready to be framed.

Le Nu International. Paris, 1954. Preface by Pierre Mac Orlan. Edited by Otto Steinert, the force behind the then emerging "subjective fotografie" movement in Germany. This is the French edition of Akt Internationale published one year earlier.
Exceptional collection of avant-garde, experimental and conventional nudes, printed in fine gravure including Berko, Brassai, Fukuda, Hajek-Halke, Henle, Landau, List, Masclet (in homage as recognition for his classic NUS published 20 years prior?), Schall, Strache, Edward Weston and others.

Click here to see the Nus items in my eBay store

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