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UCSB Library with students walking past.

‘The Doors of Perception’

Kim and Dean '67,'75 Pananides donate rare book arts press collection to the UCSB Library

Each Trianon Press book is a treasure chest. Romantic poet and printmaker William Blake’s “Water-Color Designs for the Poems of Thomas Gray’’ comes in an ochre leather case. Compartments within the case house folders, each with a different iteration of the illustrated work. One folder contains the metal printing plates themselves along with unbound folios of each print before it was hand-colored.

“As you’re bringing each one of those folders out, it’s like you’re in an art gallery,” said Dean Pananides ’67,’75. “The Press aimed not only to create beautiful art pieces but also to share the techniques through which they were produced.”

Works by Blake are among the many books in the Dean & Kim Pananides Trianon Press Collection, curated over the past 25 years by the Pananides and generously donated to the UC Santa Barbara Library. Founded in 1947 by Arnold Fawcus, Trianon printed a variety of image-based texts featuring artists such as Paul Cézanne, Marcel Duchamp, and Ben Shahn.

Trianon is celebrated for its use of collotype image reproduction and pochoir stenciling processes. A collotype print is created by coating a plate with a light-sensitive gelatin emulsion, exposing it to a photographic negative, and then using the exposed glass plates to create a printing surface. The pochoir process is a stenciling technique in which individual colors are hand-applied through separate stencils to create vibrant and highly detailed illustrations. It often took years to produce a single edition.

This printing process is valuable for scholars at UC Santa Barbara, which already houses processes for silk screen, risograph, and letterpress. Iman Djouini, assistant teaching professor in the College of Creative Studies, envisions many practical applications for studio-based Book Arts classes like printmaking and typography.

“This collection demonstrates the part of publishing that is about interacting with the public and allows students to experience the printmaking process in a professional, comprehensive way,” said Djouini.

“One of our goals for the collection was to make it accessible to scholars and the public, and we found the perfect place at UC Santa Barbara,” said Kim.

To ensure that the collection remains accessible for teaching, research and community engagement, the couple established the Kim & Dean Pananides Book/Arts Initiative endowed fund, which will ultimately be fully funded by their estate through a generous legacy gift to the Library. Kim and Dean designed the initiative in concert with the Library to support the collection’s care and create opportunities for the study of book arts.

“You can’t just give something to an institution. They may take it because it’s wonderful, but it might end up in the basement if the institution doesn’t have the capacity to work with it. We realized it wouldn’t work for us or for anyone if we just dropped off the collection. That’s why we created an initiative to support the work surrounding our collection,” said Dean.

“It is special to have these exquisite fine art books and facsimiles as well as an authority on Trianon in Dean, who has created a painstakingly detailed bibliography. The Library looks forward to curating an exhibition of these materials for the 2024-25 academic year,” said David Gartrell, curator of rare books and manuscripts for the UCSB Library’s Special Research Collections.

From searching for bargain books of every variety at local Santa Barbara swap meets with pockets full of quarters to stewarding a focused rare art book collection, the Pananides have collaborated on a life’s work that has now found its home at UC Santa Barbara.