»Spoken into the Void«, Adolf Loos‘ presentation copy for Eva Steiner, 1921
Adolf LOOS: INS LEERE GESPROCHEN 1897-1900. [Author’s presentation copy inscribed to Eva Steiner (Benesch)]. Paris and Zurich: 1921.
Adolf LOOS: INS LEERE GESPROCHEN 1897-1900. [Author’s presentation copy inscribed to Eva Steiner (Benesch)]. Paris and Zurich: Éditions Georges Crès, 1921.
8vo. 167  pages. Letterpress, in contemporary half cloth with gilt title printing and marbled boards, the original wrapper skilfully bound in.
Author’s presentation copy for Eva Steiner of Adolf Loos‘ seminal collected essays on architecture and life style.
Inscription, Provenance: Present copy of the first edition and first imprint of »Ins Leere gesprochen« (Spoken into the Void), a collection of essays and critical reviews by Adolf Loos (1870-1923), the influential pioneer of modern architecture and life style, bears a signed presentation inscription with black ink by the author’s hand, reading: „Meiner lieben Freundin / Eva Steiner / Weihnachten 1921 / Adolf Loos“ (To my dear friend / Eva Steiner / Christmas 1921 / Adolf Loos) on the free endpaper recto.
Eva Steiner (1905-83) was the daughter of artist Lilly Steiner and entrepreneur Hugo Steiner, whose celebrated »Haus Steiner« in Vienna, one of the first completely modern dwellings worldwide and important meeting point for Vienna modernists in architecture, literature, music and visual arts, had been designed and constructed by Loos in 1910. In 1934 Eva Steiner married Otto Benesch (1896-1964), a distinguished art historian, early patron of Schiele. Branded a „half-jew“ after the »Nuremberg Laws«, Eva had to flee the Nazis to France, Britain and finally the U.S., together with her husband Otto, who taught at Harvard and Yale. Back in Vienna, Otto Benesch became director of the Albertina Museum, a position he held until 1961. Over all his career Eva Benesch contributed heavily to her husband’s publishing, and not only managed but also revised his intellectual bequest and collections for two decades. Stamp of „Nachlass Otto und Eva Benesch“ (Otto and Eva Benesch estate) with the stamped remark „unveräusserlich unentlehnbar“ (not for sale, not borrowable) on front paste down.
Content, Edition: Present texts were originally published in 1898 in the Vienna newspaper »Neue Freie Presse«. Because of Loos‘ radical criticism of the highly decorative style of the Vienna Secession it took until 1921 for them to be published. Present first imprint of the book had a print run of only 100 copies.
Condition: Top edge with minor stains, pictorial owner’s stamp on title page, otherwise fine indeed.
Rarity: Autographs of Loos are of extreme rarity. JAP/APO and RBH mention only 2 of them for the last ca. 30 years at auction (207,2008).