Hugo (Victor)

Lot 16
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Estimation :
60000 - 80000 EUR
Result with fees
Result : 75 825EUR
Hugo (Victor)
The Legend of the Centuries. New series. Two volumes. Calmann Lévy, Paris, 1877. The edition includes 2 copies on vellum (nominative but not mentioned in the justification, one for the author, the other for Paul de Saint-Victor), 10 copies on japon, 20 copies on chine and 40 copies on hollande, before the current print run. First edition (24.5 x 15.5 cm). Unique" nominative copy on vellum for Paul de Saint-Victor. Enriched, bound in the first volume, by a superb original violet ink drawing on vellum, depicting the towers of Notre-Dame de Paris, from which Hugo's name seems to emerge. Signed binding by Huser: Full jansenist black morocco, five-ribbed spine, gilt title, gray box lining with gilt fillet, filleted edges, gilt edges, slipcases. La Légende des Siècles, the first volume of which appeared in 1859, can be considered a poetic testament, as evoked by Hugo's extraordinary drawing bound in the present copy. Hugo had originally thought of calling his work Petites Épopées, but thanks to the persistence of his publisher, Hetzel, to whom this title had displeased him, he happily found the superb formula La Légende des Siècles. This drawing (22.5 x 15 cm) is described in Jean-Claude Vrain's 30 perles catalog (2018) as follows: "It depicts the two towers of Notre-Dame casting a black shadow against a backdrop of a tormented sky that lightens in the upper right-hand corner. At their foot, the rounded letters of the first name Victor fade into the shadows. Then rise the towers that form the H of Hugo, followed by the intertwined letters U G O, which rise into the sky [...] The letters of the first name have been thrown to the ground and are lost in the shadows. The towers of Notre-Dame recall the triumph of his youth, while the last letters of the name, diaphanous, seem to vanish into the air like wisps of smoke, sounding like a farewell, a gradual detachment from the things of this world". The catalog of La Bibliothèque de Pierre Bergé (2nd sale, November 8-9, 2016, entry no. 291), also refers to this drawing as "a kind of testament". The Bibliothèque nationale de France has two listed sketches for this drawing, also in violet ink, much less elaborate and with the cathedral barely sketched (Exhibition at the Petit Palais by the Bibliothèque nationale de la Ville de Paris: Soleil d'Encre, Manuscrits et Dessins de Victor Hugo, Paris, 1985, catalog no. 420 A and B, page 279). Another copy on vellum skin was produced by the printer for the author (Bibliothèque du Colonel Sickles, Trésors de la Littérature Française, 1ère vente, Laurin-Guilloux-Buffetaud-Tailleur / Drouot, April 20-21, 1989, no. 104). Hugo then dedicated it to his grandson Georges. Provenance : - Paul de Saint-Victor (not included in the sale of his library) - Maurice Goudeket] Bibliothèque M. G. Rheims-Laurin / Drouot 1961, no. 140 - La Bibliothèque de Pierre Bergé, 2nd sale, Sotheby's and Pierre Bergé & Associés, Paris, November 8-9, 2016, no. 291 - Librairie Jean-Claude Vrain, Paris, catalog 30 perles, September 2018, n° 16.
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