[Hugo (Victor)]

Lot 7
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Estimation :
2000 - 4000 EUR
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Result : 5 948EUR
[Hugo (Victor)]
Ɵ Drawings by Victor Hugo. Engraved by Paul Chenay. Text by Théophile Gautier. Castel, Paris, 1863 [1862]. First edition (36 × 27 cm). Signed binding by Noulhac, made for Louis Barthou: brown veined calf, five-ribbed spine, gilt title, gilt edges, inner lace, cover boards preserved. Case. Usual unevenly distributed foxing. Spines and nerves slightly rubbed, slight traces of scratches on boards, not missing or serious. Second cover restored with small loss. Victor Hugo's copy of the first work devoted to his drawings, enriched with the almost complete manuscript of Théophile Gautier's preface, given to Hugo by his brother-in-law and engraver Paul Chenay, one of three before publication with the extremely rare first cover, which subsequently disappeared for the book's printing. The volume features a frontispiece portrait of Victor Hugo engraved by Paul Chenay (1818-1906), after a photograph, ten small woodcuts in the text of Gautier's preface, and thirteen etchings engraved by Paul Chenay (printed in monochrome or color) after drawings by Victor Hugo - the table mentions only twelve. An exceptional copy, once owned by Louis Barthou, of the first work devoted to Victor Hugo's drawings: one of three copies given to Victor Hugo by Paul Chenay prior to publication. It contains almost the entire autograph manuscript used to print Gautier's long preface, a fundamental study of Hugo's drawings. On the first leaf, autograph note signed by Paul Chenay: "One of the three copies I gave to Victor Hugo before publication. Several of the drawings were retouched by him. The estate returned it to me after his death. Paul Chenay". The bookbinder has retained the printed cover boards, which are not found in the usual copies, which come in a publisher's binding of varying color. This printed cover is found only in the very first printed copies, perhaps the only three Chenay mentions in this note. The exact nature of Hugo's alterations is unknown - it seems certain that they were not applied directly to the book, but we have not determined the current location of any trial engravings annotated by Hugo that may have been preserved. Hugo had the portrait altered, as well as certain contrasts and hues. In the Album cosmopolite ou Choix des collections de M. Alexandre Vattemare, the first publication (1837) to reproduce a drawing by Hugo, the presentation of the Vue de la ville de Lière had already been entrusted to Gautier, Baudelaire's future "incomparable critic", who in his Salon of 1859 evoked "the magnificent imagination that flows in Victor Hugo's drawings like mystery in the sky". It was here that Hugo's talent as a painter was revealed to the public, and Gautier described him as "a painter whose brother Louis Boulanger, C. Roqueplan and Paul Huet would not disown". However, it wasn't until 1863 that Hugo's first album of drawings saw the light of day, philanthropic considerations being the only way to overcome the reluctance of the writer-artist, whose sincerity in presenting his graphic work as secondary to his literary work, if not belittling it, seems to have been unquestioned. At the time, Hugo, in exile since 1851, had just published Les Misérables in Brussels, and was putting the finishing touches to Quatrevingt-treize. This copy includes the almost complete, autograph, signed manuscript of Gautier's preface. This is the only manuscript of this fundamental text that we have found, and it is absent from the catalog of the Lovenjoul collection. Only two paragraphs are missing, preceding the one beginning "Rien de plus nocturne, de plus solitaire" (Nothing more nocturnal, more solitary). There are few erasures in this manuscript. Indications in pencil suggest that it was used for composition. It is therefore possible that the two missing paragraphs were added to the proofs, but we have no proof of this. The album went on sale in the second week of December 1862, but it was already far too late for the étrennes! Hugo wanted the book by November 15 at the latest, and had to suffer the inconveniences caused by his brother-in-law: it was Chenay in particular who came up with the idea for the woodcuts for the preface, the main cause of the delay which infuriated Hugo... Chenay had taken the initiative alone, and had had supplements paid for on the sly by the publisher. Provenance: Paul Chenay; Victor Hugo; Bibliothèque de M. Louis Barthou de l'Académie Française, second edition.
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