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Library Installation: Lapp Princess Press: A Small Press and Artists' Books from the Late 1970s

October 15, 2007 - January 15, 2008

On view Monday through Friday, 10 am to 5 pm

Writer and art critic Amy Baker founded Lapp Princess Press in 1977. As with other small presses of the period, Lapp Princess’s goal was to create artists’ books that could be purchased by the widest possible audience. Each of the volumes created under Baker’s directorship were issued in editions of 2,000—a very large number for this type of material. They each sold for $3, making them even more accessible.

While the artist was given total freedom concerning the ultimate product, Baker set the format for the Lapp Princess books. Each closed book was to be a uniform six inches square. While some artists maintained a traditional book format of single, uniformly trimmed leaves, others opted to expand the book beyond the six inches, as in Chuck Close’s 64-inch leparello or the even more elaborately folded 18-by-24 inch sheet by David Shapiro and Lucio Pozzi.

Lapp Princess maintained an ambitious production schedule, issuing twelve books from 1977 to 1979, the year Amy Baker left to become executive publisher for Artforum. Lapp Princess continued for several more years, issuing books in the six-inch square format as well as in other dimensions.

All of the works shown are from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Library, which owns the complete list of Lapp Princess Press publications.


Sylvia Plimack Mangold

Sylvia Plimack Mangold
American, born 1938
Inches and Field
New York, Lapp Princess Press, 1978

The delicate sketches in this book recall Plimack Mangold’s landscape painting and her trompe l’oeil tape frames. The work includes handwritten notes about her art. Much of the book is explained in her comment, “In my mind these works are as much about the painting of the perimeter of the landscape. The subject is the perimeter. The subject is a series of decisions.”


James Rosenquist

James Rosenquist
American, born 1933
Drawings While Waiting for an Idea
New York, Lapp Princess Press, 1979

Rosenquist’s book gives the impression of a stream of consciousness look at the creative process. He created drafts for twelve hypothetical projects, complete with explanatory text, which he supposedly came up with while “waiting for an idea” for the Lapp Princess project.



Chuck Close

Chuck Close
American, born 1940
Keith: Six Drawings, 1979
New York, Lapp Princess Press, 1979

Chuck Close chose a leparello format for his Lapp Princess project. Here, he juxtaposes six completed printed portraits of his friend and frequent model Keith Hollingworth with actual size details showing his grid process. Close used a different technique for each work, including watercolor, fingerprint smudges, and swizzle stick scratches.

This was the last Lapp Princess book overseen by Amy Baker. 

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