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A Dog Story

Artist book by Daniel E. Kelm
unique copy


Kelm’s binding for A Dog Story was commissioned by rare book dealer Priscilla Juvelis. Feeling that certain books demand strong, inventive bindings, Juvelis gave the book to Kelm to see if the contents would resonate, sparking an exterior treatment that would support the imagery and intent of the book’s narrative.

A Dog Story is comprised primarily of etchings by Nicolette Jelen that tell a story through the perspective of the four main characters: the dog, the domed house, the swimming pool, and the palm tree. For the binding, Kelm reproduced each of these figures in a three-dimensional structure contained by the clamshell box or on the body of the book itself. The dog is pictured on the cover; the binding becomes the domed house, a palm tree pops up from the interior of the box, and the inside of the box cover extends out to form the pool. 

—Aprile Gallant, Curator, Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, Smith College Museum of Art

Binding and box for this unique copy by Daniel E. Kelm was created using sheets disbound from an edition published by Vincent Fitzgerald, New York.

Illustrated by Nicolette Jelen.

Goatskin suede and paper colored with acrylic paints mixed with paste, photocopy images transferred onto goatskin suede and paper, cloth, and wire edge binding.

Held in a private collection.

Included in the exhibition Poetic Science: Bookworks by Daniel E. Kelm at Smith College Museum of Art.


The closed box doesn’t betray the complex interior.