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Jan Toorop. Metamorfoze / Louis Couperus. Amsterdam : L. J. Veen, 1897

“Toorop was born on the island of Java and went to the Netherlands at the age of thirteen. He received his artistic training at the Polytechnic school in Delft, the Amsterdam Academy and finally the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs in Brussels. As he spent his early childhood there, the Dutch East Indies was a special source of inspiration for Toorop. The source of his linear approach, use of silhouettes, and even the hair styles of people in his designs can be traced back to in Javanese wajan shadow puppets (...) Veen was Toorop's friend and commissioned him to design numerous book-bindings. Toorop's distinctive approach was ideal for illustrating the lirical and metaphorical tales of Couperus, and the artist was especially adept at symbolically suggesting a book's message through his drawings (...) The design is typical of Toorop's 'whiplash' linear style, and the lettering and illustration are in total harmony. Human figures are often used on Toorop's bindings, and this is unusual in Nieuwe Kunst book design. In many of his designs for Couperus the figures are engulfed in a linear vortex, and the text is so much a part of the decoration that it becomes barely legible.”

Alston W. Purvis, Cees W. de Jong. Dutch graphic design: a century of innovation. London: Thames & Hudson, 2006 (p. 27)