The 8th and last part of the R. & B.L. collection, an auction in association with Binoche and Giquello, is dedicated to 19th- and 20th-century writers, musicians and painters. This outstanding group of items brings together letters, literary texts, music scores and original drawings.
The auction opens with Guillaume Apollinaire’s love letters to Louise de Coligny-Châtillon (Lou), written in 1915, in which he proclaims his love for the woman with whom he discovered desire. Some are accompanied by erotic poems praising Lou’s body. One of Cocteau’s diaries with unpublished maxims and anecdotes reveals the thoughts, works and readings of the young poet at the age of 22. The auction also includes Cocteau’s unpublished correspondence with Valentine Hugo as well as several collections of drawings for Thomas l’imposteur. Four exceptional manuscripts of Panama by Blaise Cendrars stand out from among the literary documents, including one written with his left hand, just after his amputation.
The part dedicated to musicians is immensely rich and underlines the importance of the exchanges between France and Germany. Letters from Wagner to Berlioz, from Liszt to Berlioz, from Debussy to Chausson evoke their deep friendships, the genesis of their major works (Pelléas et Mélisande in particular) and their difficult beginnings. Mendelssohn’s letters in German reveal his passion for Bach. One of the most remarkable pieces is a hitherto unknown manuscript of a lied by Schumann (Erstes Grün). Finally, Liszt’s correspondence with Marie d’Agoult, letters by Chopin and George Sand, testify to the two legendary and impetuous love stories.
The last section of this collection focuses on great artists. Cézanne, Monet, Signac and Gauguin confided in Pissarro, evoking the early stages of Impressionism. Toulouse-Lautrec told his grand-mother how he struggled against these “miserable sheets of paper”. The great dealers of the time also held an important place as unfailing aids: the Douanier Rousseau wrote to Vollard, Juan Gris to Rosenberg and Vollard sent to Gauguin a statement of the sums he had sent him in Tahiti.