With 21 Original Watercolors and a Binding Full of Seahorses

À LA MER.

(Paris: A. Romagnol, 1906). 280 x 198 mm. (11 x 7 3/4"). 2 p.l., 62 pp., [1] leaf (colophon). ONE OF 20 LARGE PAPER COPIES on Japon, from a total edition of 350 (this copy unnumbered).

STRIKING DARK PURPLE MOROCCO, GILT, INLAID, AND BLIND-STAMPED, BY RENÉ KIEFFER (stamp-signed on front doublure, his ticket on front flyleaf), covers framed with gilt rules and inlaid light and dark green morocco strips, central panel with rows of blind-stamped or inlaid green fronds of seaweed, a lighter green or red shell inlaid on the central branch; raised bands, spine compartments framed with gilt rules, the elongated center compartment with two blind-stamped and one inlaid frond, gilt lettering, TAN MOROCCO DOUBLURES semé with rows of black stamped seahorses alternating with gilt seaweed, teal silk endleaves woven in a chevron pattern, marbled flyleaves, top edge gilt. Original illustrated paper wrapper bound in. With 21 wood-engraved illustrations, seven of them full-page, by Henri-Achille Zo, each in three states, and WITH THE ORIGINAL WATERCOLOR OF EACH ILLUSTRATION, most of them initialed by the artist, and with the ORIGINAL WATERCOLOR PORTRAIT OF THE AUTHOR that appears on the wrapper, by Louis Malteste. A breath of rubbing to extremities, isolated mild smudges internally, otherwise A BEAUTIFUL COPY, clean and fresh, with brilliant watercolors and an essentially unworn binding.

The is a unique and especially sumptuous copy of a notable bibliophile's edition, with more than a score of original watercolors and an oceanic binding appropriate for the seaside setting. One of the original 10 members of the Académie Goncourt, Algerian-born French novelist Paul Margueritte (1860-1918) produced novels both independently and in collaboration with his brother Victor. According to Britannica, "Margueritte had begun as a realistic novelist, but he was one of the five writers who signed a manifesto against Zola's 'La Terre,' and he made his reputation by delicate, sober studies of the by-ways of sentiment." The sentimental journey in "À la Mer" takes us to a coastal resort, where the teenage Albert had fallen unhappily in love with the beautiful wife of his host. A particularly lovely feature of our copy is the presence of the vivid original watercolors, which outshine their engraved versions as the sun does a torch. Painter and illustrator Henri Achille Zo (1873-1933) was the son of Basque painter Achilles Zo, but was more influenced by his teacher, the Academic painter Léon Bonnat. Zo won the Prix National in 1905 and was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 1910. The presence of his original watercolors and the superb binding by Kieffer indicate that this copy was owned by a collector of distinction. René Kieffer (1875-1964) worked at the Chambolle-Duru bindery for 10 years, mostly as a gilder, before establishing his own studio in 1903. According to Duncan & De Bartha, he "became a disciple of Marius Michel [fils], moving gradually away from his traditional training towards a more emblematic and modern style." In his early years, "it was not so much his designs as such, but rather his preference for bright colors, such as vermilion and peacock, that set Kieffer apart from the traditionalists." After World War I, he became recognized as one of the leading binders in Paris, and his work continued to evolve toward more and more progressive compositions; he was much influenced by Legrain, with whom he worked from 1917-23, and his later bindings were marked by the use of untraditional materials like metals, beads, and sculpted elements.
(ST14928)

Keywords: Artists' Books

Add to Cart Price: $7,500.00

PJP Catalog: 73.195

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