La Fresnaye (Roger)

Lot 77
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Estimation :
18000 - 25000 EUR
Result with fees
Result : 23 400EUR
La Fresnaye (Roger)
Studies for the "Illuminations". 14 original drawings in ink, wash and gouache. 14 sheets of drawings in various formats on thin paper laminated to in-4° sheets, executed in Grasse in 1919-1920 as a project to accompany Arthur Rimbaud's Illuminations. Case folder. Exceptional set of original cubist compositions by La Fresnaye during his convalescence from injury in the Great War, with a signed autograph letter from the painter explaining his project, accompanied by No. I of the head edition on chine of the book with the woodcut compositions, and a portrait of La Fresnaye that belonged to Valentine Hugo. The 14 sheets of drawings by Roger de La Fresnaye (1885-1925), inspired by his reading of Illuminations, vary in size and bear his stamp on the back. They were produced in black ink, wash and white gouache during the painter's convalescence in Grasse after the lung damage he suffered at the end of the Great War (gassing and hemorrhaging, with the development of tuberculosis). Very tired at the time, he could only work in small formats. The drawings, contained in an envelope titled "Études pour les 'Illuminations'" in graphite (here enclosed), were found by bookseller and publisher Henri Matarasso. The drawings are accompanied by copy no. I of the first edition on chine (15 copies) of the book published by Henri Matarasso in 1949: Les Illuminations. Dessins de Roger de La Fresnaye gravés par Blaise Monod, H. Matarasso, Paris, 1949] under the supervision of Georges de Miré, and reproducing the woodcut drawings alongside Rimbaud's poems. The copy, in sheets, contains 3 suites of woodcuts (two on chine in different shades, not announced in the receipt, and one on japon for the head copies on chine, this one with a missing plate), and a woodcut self-portrait of La Fresnaye by Jean-Louis Gampert (1919, signed and dated January 22, 1920 in Grasse by the latter) having belonged to Valentine Hugo (handwritten note of January 1921) (chemise-étui, black half-box by J.-P. Miguet). Also enclosed, mounted in the copy, is an autograph letter signed by La Fresnaye to Rimbaud's brother-in-law Paterne Berrichon, dated April 18, 1920 (4 pages in-4°, with handwritten envelope), in which the painter explains his project, referring to the suggestive power of Rimbaud's poems and the striking novelty of their plastic ideas. For La Fresnaye, Rimbaud was not only a precursor in poetry, but also for painters. We learn that an edition with woodcuts by Jean-Louis Gampert (who looked after La Fresnaye until his death) based on these drawings should have appeared in La Nouvelle Revue Française (which never saw the light of day, and the woodcuts were eventually engraved by Blaise Monod almost three decades later). La Fresnaye also mentions his difficulties in painting and drawing due to health-related fatigue. He had only five years to live. The text of this letter is transcribed in the book's preface. Provenance: Henri Matarasso; Florence J. Gould; Maurice Houdayer.
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