[JUGENDSTIL]. GOETHE, J.W. (author). Hans FRAUNGRUBER (editor). Karl FAHRINGER (illustrator). Reineke Fuchs. [Reynard the Fox.] Wien und Leipzig; Martin Gerlach & Co. .
Small square 8vo. Original grained mid brown cloth with pictorial roundel in black and tan, and lettering in white, to upper board, spine lettered and numbered (8-9) in black, tan edges, pretty Art Nouveau endpapers in coral and green; pp. [ii] + 189; with decorated title, slim black and white decorative borders throughout, and lithographed illustrations in sepia, in profusion, including 25 full-page plates heightened in white; a very fresh copy, both externally and internally, with a delightful calligraphed ownership inscription in black ink to title.
First edition, published in Gerlach's series of Jugendbücherei. In 1794 Goethe turned to Johann Christoph Gottsched's prose version of the mediaeval legend of Reynard the Fox and transformed it into an epic poem and an exercise in political satire. It is often treated as a critique of courtly life. The publisher Martin Peter Gerlach was born in Hanau, near Frankfurt, in 1846. He trained as an artist and engraver at the Royal Academy drawing school there and in 1872 used his skills to set up a publishing house in Berlin, which he later moved to Vienna. His technical brilliance led to collaborations with some of the finest artists of the period including Heinrich Lefler, Carl Otto Czeschka, and Ernst & Gustav Klimt. He is probably now best known for his 34 volume children's book series which is distinguished by its fine Art Nouveau artwork.