Lorrain (Jean)

Lot 40
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Estimation :
5000 - 8000 EUR
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Result : 17 440EUR
Lorrain (Jean)
Buveurs d'âmes. Bibliothèque-Charpentier, Charpentier et Fasquelle, Paris, 1893. First edition (19.5 x 12.5 cm). Binding: Bradel full vellum with small flaps, gilt title on spine, first board decorated with bust portrait of the author painted in oil by Antonio de la Gandara, second board decorated with Edmond de Goncourt's figure pushed in gold, cover preserved, soft slipcase (Pierson). Legendary painted binding from the window of Edmond de Goncourt's "attic": Jean Lorrain painted in oil by Antonio de La Gandara. First copy, printed in small numbers on Hollande laid paper, bearing the inscription: "à Monsieur Edmond de Goncourt hommage passionné son fervent son dévoué Jean Lorrain". In red ink, the dedicatee added on the flyleaf, above his bookplate engraved by Gavarni: "Édition originale. Copy on Hollande paper. Edmond de Goncourt. Portrait of Jean Lorrain painted by La Gandara in May 1894. E. de G." This copy was one of a set of twenty-nine books bound in white parchment, the first cover of which was decorated with a portrait of the author painted for Edmond de Goncourt by a painter of the period who was highly esteemed by him. They were displayed in showcases in the "attic" of the Auteuil house. After Edmond de Goncourt's death, they were sold on April 5, 1897 as part of the dispersal of the Bibliothèque des Goncourt. In Alidor Delzant's preface, we read: "Almost all of them decorated with a piece of autograph manuscript, these books will probably not be found for a long time in such large numbers and in such special condition on the auction block. For them, for some years now, Edmond de Goncourt's friendly piety had invented a congruent and original form. He had Pierson bind the books of his old friends in full vellum, the best-selling among the productions of the young, and the cover served as a field for painted portraits of the authors. Rodin, Bracquemond, Carrière, Besnard, Raffaëlli and Chéret illustrated a series of twenty-nine volumes in this way, a curiosity in the attic where they were displayed in showcases [...] It was the discovery of a new form for decorating books." Novelist and chronicler, Jean Lorrain (1855-1906) was one of the most fascinating - and hated - characters of his time, as his biographer Thibaut d'Antonay sums up: "Ethereomaniac, bisexual, erotomaniac, scandal-monger, low-life roller quick to pull punches". But his pen had been in the school of Barbey d'Aurevilly and the Goncourts, and his talent still shines through in his novels and short stories, of which Buveur d'Âmes was Edmond de Goncourt's favorite collection. Antonio de la Gandara (1861-1917) was a pupil of Cabanel and Gérôme, before becoming an astonishing painter of the social portraits of the time, as well as an extraordinary landscape painter who is still somewhat overlooked. A friend of Lorrain, he inspired, along with Whistler and Toulouse-Lautrec, the character of Claudius Ethal in his novel Monsieur de Phocas. On July 3, 1894, Edmond de Goncourt wrote in his diary: "La Gandara [...] brings me the portrait of Lorrain he has kindly done on the volume of Buveurs d'âmes." Provenance: Bibliothèque des Goncourt, second volume, Livres modernes, Drouot / Duchesne, April 5-10, 1897, no. 17. Exhibition: Antonio de la Gandara, Gentilhomme-peintre de la Belle Époque, 1861-1917, Musée Lambinet, Versailles, November 3, 2018-February 24, 2019 (catalog by Xavier Mathieu, Gourcuff-Gradenigo, Paris, 2018, no. 36).
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