Year: 2000

Author: Velimir Chlebnikov (1885 - 1922)

Artist: Michael Caine

Publisher: Petropolis

Zaoumni, title page

Michael Caine's printing business has been established in the rue de la Cerisaie 31 since 1993. Caine moved to Paris in September 1990 after attending the Royal College of Art in England, where he studied graphic design and typography. He worked for a short period at the English Florin Press, where traditional typesetting and printing with moveabletype was still in practice. In Paris he worked with the owner of La Cérisaie, Jean-Luc Lerebourg, and with François Da Ros, who has since been awarded the title of Maître d'Art pour la Typographie en France by the French government. Caine dedicated himself to education, teaching at the London College of Printing and at the École Estienne.

Cerisaie's printing shop owns typefaces that haven't been preserved elsewhere. This large collection of lead type comes from all over Europe, and it took Caine several years to create an inventory of the collection under the title: Concaténation de caractères typograhiques. When he started it, he didn't think there would be much interest for such an inventory (which turned out not to be the case), so he printed only 25 copies with specimens of the various typefaces.

He has a preference for typefaces from the period 1890-1930, which he calls the 'belle époque', and he uses them as often as possible, not just for printing work on commission, but also for his own publications. They appear under various names, such as Scargill Press, Livres d'Enfer and the aegis Petropolis, a name that indicates that he specializes in Russian poetry. In Zaoumni he also demonstrated not one or two, but eight typefaces in the poems of Russian author Khlebnikov: Athenæum, Trieste, Rucano, Bodoni, Garaldus, Manuzio, Verona and Eurostile.

The typography varies per sheet, the texts are printed in blue, red and orange, and Caine made seven wood engravings himself, printed from clichés in orange, brown, purple and blue. Together with François Da Ros, Caine printed 10 copies of this book on Japanese Bunkoshi paper, 10 on transparent green Japanese paper (of which this is one), and 80 on three other kinds of paper. The sheets are glued together to form an illustrated concertina book, which - folded out- is over six metres long.

Bibliographical description

Description: Zaoumni : onze textes / Velimir Khlebnikov ; gravures originales & typographie Michael Caine ; trad. du russe Catherine Prigent, Luda Schnitzer. - Paris: Petropolis, 2000. - Leporello (19 p.) : ill. ; 46 cm

Printer: Cerisaie (Paris)

Edition: 100 copies

This copy: Number 8 of 10 on green Japanese paper

Typeface: Athenæum, Trieste, Rucano, Bodoni, Garaldus, Manuzio, Verona, Eurostile

Note: Signed by the artist

Shelfmark: KW Koopm E 44


  • Michael Caine, 'An English printer in Paris', in: Matrix, 18 (1998), p. 112-118
  • Michael Caine, 'My concaténation of types', in: Matrix, 23 (2003), p. 66-73
  • Paul van Capelleveen, Sophie Ham, Jordy Joubij, Voices and visions. The Koopman Collection and the Art of the French Book. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, National Library of the Netherlands; Zwolle, Waanders, 2009
  • Paul van Capelleveen, Sophie Ham, Jordy Joubij, Voix et visions. La Collection Koopman et l'Art du Livre français. La Haye, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Bibliothèque nationale des Pays-Bas; Zwolle, Waanders, 2009
  • Paul van Capelleveen, 'Éditions Petropolis, Michael Caine', in: Paul van Capelleveen, Artists & Others. The imaginative French book in the 21st century. Koopman Collection, National Library of the Netherlands. Nijmegen, Vantilt Publishers, 2016, p. 84-88.