Achieving a total of € 1.3 million, above its pre-sale high estimate, the first Paris Livres et Manuscrits auction of 2015 demonstrated the interest of collectors for high-quality pieces with a strong provenance. The highest bid went to a manuscript from a surgeon officer working for Murat's cavalry service during the Russian campaign, which sold for € 104,000. Also worth noting, a monograph of Picasso by André Level achieved € 40,000.
The spring various owner sale of Books and Manuscripts on 25 June starts with a fine collection of about 100 antique books dating from the 16th to the 18th century in chosen contemporary bindings. Their provenances (kings, queens and princes, illustrious book collectors such as De Thou, Duvivier, La Vieuville…) are prestigious while their decors (coats of arms, lace patterns, and inlaid bindings by Luc-Antoine Boyet, Derome...) and editions (Molière 1666 and 1734, La Fontaine 1682...) were all carefully selected.
Highlights from the 20th century include Marcel Proust (Sesame et les lys and La Bible d’Amiens with handwritten inscriptions by Proust to the painter Jacques-Emile Blanche, five autograph letters to various correspondents among which André Gide), a fine selection of large paper first editions by Julien Gracq (most of them from his own library), 60 letters by José Corti to Gracq, a collection of books inscribed to René Char, autographs by Eluard, Max Jacob, Antonin Artaud, 21 letters by Genet written during his youth, and a small set of erotic books from the Gérard Nordmann library.
A fine selection of illustrated 20th century books are featured, including a beautiful set of works illustrated by Picasso: the rare book by Level on Picasso (on Japan paper with a signed lithograph portraying the fine profile of Marie-Thérèse and an illustrated autograph telegram), Le Chef-d’oeuvre inconnu, on loose leaves, on Japan paper,Poésie de mots inconnus bound by P.-L. Martin, Les Transparents and Alors, both bound by Leroux. Other 20th century illustrators include, Matisse(Le Poème pulvérisé), Rouault (Passion), Miró(Il était une petite pie on Japan paper and Un jour entier, both bound by Leroux), and Tàpies together with Miro (a very rare Cop de Poma).
Also to be sold on 25 June are some attractive original drawings by George Sand, Helleu, Maurice Denis, Henri Michaux and Joan Miró.