The Making of “Sergei Bongart”

Amphora Editions took over the remaining stock of Mary Balcomb’s Sergei Bongart from Cody Publishing in 2013. It has been extremely popular since its initial debut in 2002. The entire second printing sold out rather quickly; however, a cache of rare first-editions in original shrink wrap was discovered in Mary’s effects. A simple search online will reveal that vendors are charging many hundreds of dollars more than we. So, owners of first and second printings alike, you possess a valuable and important book of art, beautifully designed by Norm Nason.

Many of you also know of Mary’s landmark book on Nicolai Fechin. That one book put his paintings on the world stage and increased their value exponentially, and the same is happening with those of Sergei. When he saw Fechin’s book he said, “I want Mary to write one about me!” Sadly, he did not live long enough to see it published.

Below are some pages from Mary’s mock-up, which will eventually go her archives at the Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma. All the pages are laid out with text, images, and many notes of instructions to Norm. This letter accompanied the mock-up which she sent to him to begin the design process:

Some alternate cover ideas:

Sample pages:

This text occurs on pages 177-179:

In addition to writing five books and many magazine articles for American Artist and SouthWest Art, Mary was a talented artist herself. You can read more about her accomplishments and see some of her etchings at

She took up etching at age 60, but before that she was a highly skilled architect, illustrator, and painter (watercolor and oils). Below are some of her works.

Blue Dress

The Beginner



RSB Overcoat

We hope you enjoyed these images,
which help tell you a little more about the artist/author, Mary Balcomb.

Stuart Vail and the Amphora Crew