[New York:]: Harper & Row, . First edition. A set of five of these cards were reprinted in 2015 by Fotofolio, but the complete set has never been reprinted. 45 postcards and one title card, all 7 in. by 5 in. Title card and 23 postcards printed in color and 22 printed in black and white. A fine, bright, complete set of all 45 cards with the scarce publisher’s prospectus. Flexible card paper, glossy on verso and matte on recto. Item #16800
High Cards were collaboratively produced by Corita Kent (1918 – 1986), also known as Sister Corita, and Bernard Gunther. Kent illustrated short, playful “meditations” by Gunther, a massage therapist and spiritual counselor, with joyous swaths of colorful paint. Most of the meditations are as simple as the phrase “open flower” or brief wordplay like “let up don’t let down.” The painting style of the cards is reminiscent of Kent’s 1971 “Rainbow Swash” piece, a major Boston landmark painted on a 140-foot-tall natural gas storage tank in the neighborhood of Dorchester. The “Rainbow Swash” remains the largest copyrighted piece of art in the world.
Corita Kent was a serigraph artist, muralist, and Catholic sister whose pop art pieces fused advertising and pop culture iconography, quotes from the Bible, and Kent’s own interests in civil rights and anti-war activism. Kent was also an art instructor at the Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles and became the art department chair in 1964. The director of the Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College described her as “a great printmaker…[and] also a dedicated and inventive —even revolutionary — teacher” whose classes were an “avant-garde mecca” for figures like John Cage, Charles Eames, and Alfred Hitchcock and clergy members from all over the country.