Year: 2007

Author: Martine Rassineux 1955

Artist: François Da Ros 1941

Publisher: Anakatabase

Généalogies, page [70]

Voices and Visions (2009), the first book about the Koopman Collection, is a spin-off of this website, a phenomenon that has recently reversed the usual order of these things – first a book, then an exhibition, and ultimately a website. These days, a website is the first thing to be built, after which a new audience is reached, or the same audience is reached in a new way, by distilling a book from that website. Artist duo François Da Ros and Martine Rassineaux followed the same strategy in 2007.

In their book Généalogies, the layout and texts from their website (www.anakatabase.com) can easily be recognized, including the notice that the site is under construction as well as a kind of warning: 'you have entered the website of a typographer who works with moveable lead type'. The website offers an overview of their work, with images of the books published by Anakatabase and a bibliography of their other work. To this the book adds New Year's greetings from Da Ros and Rassineaux, texts on typography, and bibliographical data in order to provide a chronological overview of their lives and the development of their work.

The New Year's greetings offer fine examples of the art of book printing. Contemporary computer technology may have enabled us to make letters dance around the page for us, but with lead type, this requires extraordinary imagination and exertion on the part of the typographer. The book reproduces not only these printed efforts, with sentences in the shape of a pendulum, a circle, a maze or a flower, but it also contains photographs of the type itself. This illustrates how much work is required by the printer for the furniture or lead in order to construct the typesetting for this visual form of poetry.

Readers are introduced to the books published by Anakatabase, like Le roi from 1992, with engravings by Martine Rassineux. Her primitive shapes (a crown, a donkey) move from abstraction to figuration and back, and allow for a plethora of associations. Rose Goret appeared in 2005 with a text by Gérard Farasse, published in a pink box. Rassineux wrote an autobiographical text, 'La reine Jane', for a series of wash drawings. The technique she used for these prints makes the pictured family members appear as vague as memories tend to be. They are mainly self-portraits: a girl blowing up a balloon or strolling across the market holding hands with her mother.

This anthology of printed books and illustrations includes biographical notes and photographs from their youth, along with photographs of the printing presses and compositor's cases from the printing studio. Da Ros became an apprentice printer for a paper, Châtillon-Presse, in 1957, obtaining his film projectionist licence that same year. He carried out this work in locations such as the cinema of Châtillon-sur-Seine. In 1962, he worked for modern printer Génin-Frères in Paris, and he was employed by Fequet et Baudier between 1964 and 1978. He managed to obtain a certificate in electrical engineering in 1979, further developing his knowledge of graphic techniques through photographic composition and digital technology. Since 1983, he owned his own studio in the Passage Etienne Delaunay, and from 1988 onwards at 35 rue de la Villette in Paris. His clients included Julius Baltazar, Jacques Matarasso, Christine Landès, and Pierre Lecuire. The rent on the building was cancelled in 1999, and since he was not able to find any buyers for three of his machines, he was forced to break them down where they stood. Now, the studio of Rassineux and Da Ros (who first met in 1989) is located in Montreuil, near Paris. The Koopman Collection contains a complete set of Anakatabase editions.

Bibliographical description

Description: Généalogies / [infographie de] Martine Rassineux ; [conception graphique, composition en plomb et mise en pages de] François Da Ros. – Montreuil : Editions Anakatabase, 2007. – [100] p. : ill. ; 25x31 cm

Printer: Imprimerie Stipa (Montreuil)

Edition: 1700 copies

Note: With three New Year cards (2004, 2008), with handwritten dedications by the artists

Bibliography: Bénézit 11-449

Shelfmark: KW Koopm F 36


  • 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, 'Anakatabase, François Da Ros & Martine Rassineux', in: Artists & others. The imaginative French book in the 21st century. Koopman Collection, National Library of the Netherlands. Nijmegen, Vantilt Publishers, 2016, p. 30-37