Part I of the sale of the Raoul Simonson and Monique and Albert Kies Library totalled €4 million over a pre-sale high estimate of €2 million. These exceptional results rewarded the outstanding ensemble of books and manuscripts by Baudelaire, Verlaine, Hugo, Stendhal and Wilde assembled by Raoul Simonson and his son-in-law Albert Kies - who both shared a taste for unique, luxurious editions in perfect condition, with dedications and unimpeachable provenance. The manuscript draft of two poems by Charles Baudelaire, Les deux crépuscules: Le matin/Le soir (1853-1854) – later published in Les fleurs du mal (1857) – obtained the sale's top price of €613,500, more than double its high estimate of €250,000.
Raoul Simonson (1896-1965), a well-known personality of the 20th-century Belgian book trade, will be celebrated on 19 June when the first part of his collection comes to auction.
A publisher and a bibliographer (of Gide and Valéry), he pushed book-collecting to a degree of excellence that bears the name “Belgian condition.”
He was Charles Hayoit’s friend and bookseller, and that relationship can be felt throughout both their collections. When Charles Hayoit proudly acquired one of the five copies of Du côté de chez Swann, Simonson boasted that he owned the first. Simonson also kept 11 poems of Cellulairement as well as other Verlaine manuscripts which he bound into his copies.
This remarkable collection survived Raoul Simonson when his daughter Monique and his son-in-law Albert Kies acquired it. Kies, a man of letters, a philologist and academic, expanded the collection to the Middle Ages throughout famous literary texts.
The second part of the sale will take place in December 2013 and will present books from the turn of the 20th century and the 20th century.