Artists on the Page: Highlights from Paris Books & Manuscripts

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Launch Slideshow

The upcoming Livres et Manuscrits sale in Paris on 24 May will offer exceptional examples of books and manuscripts from the world's most celebrated authors and artists. Among the lots included in the auction is an inscribed copy of Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, 42 vibrantly coloured lithographs by Marc Chagall and 60 lots of letters, books, presentation copies and literary manuscripts from the library of Proust's great niece. Click through to see highlights from the sale. 

Livres et Manuscrits
24 May | Paris

Artists on the Page: Highlights from Paris Books & Manuscripts

  • Marc Chagall, Daphnis & Chloé. Paris, Tériade, 1961. Estimate: €80,000–120,000.
    42 original lithographs. 

    Tériade, an editor of Greek origin, chose Chagall to illustrate the text of Longus, the ancient Greek poet. The artist took four years to create the 42 colourful illustrations for the book, which are now considered as one of his great masterpieces.

    Livres et Manuscrits
    24 May | Paris
  • Marcel Proust — Gaston Gallimard, Very important letters to Marcel Proust. 1912-1922. Estimate: €100,000–150,000.
    For ten years, Gallimard explained his editorial strategy day after day in these letters, giving advice to Proust. In reading these letters we understand the process of the publication of In Search of Lost Time, from before Proust's departure from Grasset to his death in 1922. The 138 letters by Gallimard are presented with an additional 51 letters which Proust had received from different members of the N.R.F. (La Nouvelle Revue Française): André Gide, Jean Paulhan, Gustave Tronche, etc.



     



    Livres et Manuscrits
    24 May | Paris



     

  • Jesuits, Relation de ce qui s’est passé en la Nouvelle France en 1635 […] 1672. Paris, 1636-1673.
    Estimate: €12,000–18,000.
    16 works bound in 7 volumes, period calf binding.


    A very rare set of letters written by Jesuit missionaries sent to the French territories in what is now Canada. They describe their efforts to survive among warring Indian tribes, to develop alliances with them, and ultimately, to convert them to Christianity.

    Livres et Manuscrits
    24 May | Paris
  • Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary. Paris, Michel Lévy Frères, 1857. Estimate: €30,000–50,000.
    Flaubert gave this precious copy to his friend Adolphe Gaïffe. Collaborator of the reviews L'Artiste and La Presse, Gaïffe was considered to be one of the most handsome men of his time. He was also friends with the sons of Victor Hugo, of Baudelaire and Théophile Gautier. The copy is sold with an autographed letter to the young writer Édouard Gachot about his own experience writing Madame Bovary.



     



    Livres et Manuscrits
    24 May | Paris

  • Humboldt, Essai politique sur le Royaume de la Nouvelle Espagne. Paris, 1811.
    Estimate: €10,000–15,000.
    Once the most famous men on earth, Alexander von Humboldt spent five years in Central American Spanish-dominated Andes. He was passionate about describing the interconnections in nature, and its fragility under abusive agricultural practices by the Spanish colonists, predicting ecological catastrophes. Sensitive to the plight of the Indians in this situation, he drew the famous large map of the American West and Mexico showing the exact locations of Indian settlements, first map of its kind.



     



    Livres et Manuscrits
    24 May | Paris

  • Georges Clemenceau [Affaire Dreyfus], Démosthène. Paris, Plon-Nourrit et Cie, 1926.
    Estimate: €10,000–15,000.
    An exceptional copy with an inscription to Mathieu Dreyfus, Alfred Dreyfus' brother.

    Together with Emile Zola, Georges Clemenceau was outraged by the conviction of Dreyfus and asked for the reopening of the trial. During the affair, he wrote many articles defending Alfred Dreyfus.

    Livres et Manuscrits
    24 May | Paris



     
  • Guillaume Apollinaire, Les trois Don Juan, 1914.
    Estimate: €25,000–35,000.
    Exceptional copy, with an unpublished inscription to his lover Madeleine Pagès and two important original drawings. In his inscription, Apollinaire says he is a “poet traveller," because he trekked to Oran, Algeria, to give her this copy. One of the drawings is a self-portrait of Apollinaire depicted as a soldier alongside Madeleine and a canon, as during this period he was still fighting in the war.



     



    Livres et Manuscrits
    24 May | Paris

  • Marcel Duchamp, L.H.O.O.Q. shaved, New York, 1965. Estimate: €15,000–20,000.
    One of 100 deluxe signed copies. The signed invitation is sold accompanied by an autographed envelope to Marcel Duchamp's gallerist Ekstrom.

    After his ready-made L.H.O.O.Q. in 1919, Duchamp also used Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa to design an invitation for his exhibition at the Ekstrom Gallery in New York in 1965; this time in omitting the moustache, he then calls this new version of his ready-made L.H.O.O.Q. rasée (shaved).

    Livres et Manuscrits
    24 May | Paris



     
  • Francis Bacon — Michel Leiris, Miroir de la tauromachie. Paris, Daniel Lelong, 1990.
    Estimate: €40,000–60,000.
    These four signed lithographs by Bacon are very powerful. The artist illustrates a text about the corrida written by his friend Leiris, who had been one of the first critics to defend the work of the artist. This book is the last one made by Bacon: the artist died shortly thereafter having signed the lithographs.



     



    Livres et Manuscrits
    24 May | Paris

  • Aleister Crowley and Frieda Harris, Four Original Paintings for the Thoth Tarot, 1938-1943.
    Estimate: €3,000–5,000 each.
    The following four gouaches were produced during the preparatory work of the Thoth Tarot, submitted by Frieda Harris to Aleister Crowley during their collaboration. This exceptional ensemble includes a trump card (The Magus, lot 96) , and three numerals: an Ace of Pentacles (lot 97) , an Ace of Swords (lot 98) , and a Four of Wands (lot 99) .

    Poet, astrologer and magus, Crowley (1875-1947) is one of the most controversial figures of occultism in England from the last century, with his free interpretation of the black arts, based on a sexual magic, free from taboo.


    Livres et Manuscrits
    24 May | Paris
  • Gilbert & George, The Red Sculpture Album. London, Gilbert & George, 1975.
    Estimate: €3,000–5,000 each.
    One of the 100 existing copies, signed by both of the artists, comprised of 11 original photographs.


    The Red Sculpture is one of their most famous living sculptures. The performance, lasting more than one hour, consisted of the two artists moving slowly in front of the visitors, dressed in business suits, with their hands and faces painted red.

    Livres et Manuscrits
    24 May | Paris



     
  • Pablo Picasso — Honoré de Balzac, Chef-d’œuvre inconnu. Paris, Ambroise Vollard, 1931.
    Estimate: €3,000–5,000.
    One of the 65 deluxe copies on Japan paper, the only group including an extra suite of the etchings. 

    When the editor Vollard suggested Picasso illustrate the novel by Balzac, Picasso was enthusiastic: the subject of the novel, the relation between a painter and his model, was also one of his favourite themes that he very often represented in his own work. Later, Picasso had his studio on the rue des Grands Augustins which was in the same building where Balzac had set his protagonist's studio.


    Livres et Manuscrits
    24 May | Paris
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