Arion Lyre

94. Thomas Jefferson’s Paris Walks, by Diana Ketcham, with photographs by Michael Kenna

Thomas Jefferson’s Paris Walks, text by Diana Ketcham, with forty-six photographs by Michael Kenna, and period maps of Jefferson’s Paris, June 2012.

The ninety-fourth Arion Press publication is an original illustrated edition, Thomas Jefferson’s Paris Walks. Jefferson, that remarkable man, was unusual in his love of walking in the city. The city was Paris, where he served as United States minister from 1784 to 1789, just after the American Revolution and before his term as third president. Here the forty-year-old Jefferson took daily strolls for exercise and often walked to conduct his business as a diplomat and patron of the arts.

Michael Kenna photograph for Thomas Jefferson's Paris WalksThe renowned photographer Michael Kenna created forty-six images to accompany the story of Jefferson’s five years in Paris. Written as a guidebook, the essay leads the reader along Jefferson’s actual routes. Benjamin Franklin, John and Abigail Adams, and Gouverneur Morris are characters in the narrative, along with artists such as Houdon and Beaumarchais.

“Paris is everywhere enlarging and beautifying,” Jefferson exclaimed when he arrived in August of 1784. The city’s new institutions, markets, churches, mansions, and bridges fascinated the amateur architect from Virginia.

In 2011, Arion Press invited Michael Kenna, known for his work on French landscape and gardens, to follow Jefferson’s footsteps in Paris. The result is a series of forty-six black-and-white photographs, published here for the first time. Besides beloved landmarks such as the Pont Royal, Louvre, and Palais Royal, Michael Kenna studied forgotten Jefferson sites, such as his daughters’ convent school, the gardens of the Hôtel de Salm, and the interiors of the Mint, adding a new visual record to this chapter in French and American history.

The book divides Paris into six sections, with their own coded maps, each of which shows a two- to three-hour walk. A biographical appendix identifies the historical figures featured in the texts and maps.

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Michael Kenna photograph for Thomas Jefferson's Paris WalksTHE PHOTOGRAPHER

Michael Kenna is one of the most acclaimed and widely collected photographers working today. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; the Moscow Museum of Modern Art; and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. His books include some of Arion Press’s most prized editions, for which Kenna traveled to record historic landscapes: The Hound of the Baskervilles, Le Désert de Retz, and The Silverado Squatters. Known for his French subjects, including the gardens of Le Nôtre, Kenna was made a Chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters by the Ministry of Culture in 2001. Born in Widnes, England and currently living in Seattle, Washington, Kenna continues to photograph around the world.

THE AUTHOR

Diana Ketcham, Ph.D., has written on architecture for The New York Times, The Nation, and The New Republic. A recipient of the Berlin Prize and the Manufacturers Hanover Award in Architecture Criticism, she is the author of The deYoung in the 21st Century: A Museum by Herzog and de Meuron. Her earlier book with Michael Kenna, Le Désert de Retz: A Late Eighteenth-Century French Folly Garden (1990), won the American Institute of Architects Book Award in the edition published by The MIT Press. She has been editor at Arion Press since 1993.

THE TYPE

The type is digital Fournier, based on the “transitional” type by Pierre Simon Fournier “Le Jeune” (1712-1768). Benjamin Franklin had dealings with the Fournier typefoundry when he had his private press in Passy and Jefferson would have known the font and approved of its use here. The initial letters are inspired by capitals designed by Fournier le Jeune, circa 1760. Ornaments based on Fournier’s designs are used in the binding.

THE MAPS

Two beautiful maps from the period of Jefferson’s residence in Paris are reproduced in the book. The first (Noveau plan routier de la Ville et Faubourgs de Paris. Avec ses Edifices Principaux. M. Pichon, 1787) is reproduced whole and then in five details at the beginnings of sections. The second (Environs de Paris. César-François Cassini de Thury, 1755-1789) begins the sixth section, which covers the sites outside Paris visited by Jefferson.

THE BOOK

The book format is 12.5 by 8.5 inches with 208 pages. The printing is by offset lithography. The forty-six photographs are printed in duotone with varnish. The paper is Centura Silk. The publication was designed and produced under the direction of Andrew Hoyem.

The book is limited to 400 numbered copies for sale and twenty-six lettered copies for complimentary distribution. Each copy is signed by the artist, and is presented in a slipcase. The price is $600. Available.

Michael Kenna photograph for Thomas Jefferson's Paris WalksPHOTO EDITION

A portion of the book edition may be purchased with an accompanying sepia-toned silver gelatin print, approximately 7¾ x 7¾ inches, printed, signed, and numbered by Michael Kenna and dry-mounted on museum board, measuring 16 x 20 inches, with window mats. Buyers may choose the image or images in the book that they wish to purchase, with the proviso that a limited number of prints of each image will be offered. View images. The price for the book and photograph together is $2,600. Available.

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To view the complete prospectus (PDF file, 4.9 MB).

Edition: The book format is 12.5 by 8.5 inches with 208 pages. The book is limited to 400 numbered copies for sale. Each copy is signed by the artist, and is presented in a slipcase. The price is $600.

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Order the book securely online now:

Photo Edition: A portion of the book edition may be purchased with an accompanying sepia-toned silver gelatin print, approximately 7¾ x 7¾ inches, printed, signed, and numbered by Michael Kenna and dry-mounted on museum board, measuring 16 x 20 inches. Buyers may choose the image or images in the book that they wish to purchase; a limited number of prints of each image will be offered. The price for the book and photograph together is $2,600. Additional photos are $2,000.

Reserve book (and optional photographs) and pay offline:

Reserve your copy


View photographs.


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