Blanche (Jacques-Émile) Aymeris. La Sirène,... - Lot 79 - Giquello

Lot 79
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Blanche (Jacques-Émile) Aymeris. La Sirène,... - Lot 79 - Giquello
Blanche (Jacques-Émile) Aymeris. La Sirène, Paris, 1922. Drawings by the author. First edition (23.4 x 17.9 cm). Binding: Green half-chagrin, initials "M. P." gilt at foot of spine, gilt head, cover and spine preserved (R. Teulières). Precious copy by Marcel Proust with a superb, long and moving letter from Jacques-Émile Blanche, accompanied by an autograph letter signed by Blanche to Félix Fénéon on the publication of the novel. Exemplaire sur papier vergé (n° 107): "Exemplaire acheté hélas! et non reçu de son ami et admirateur passionné. Copy of Marcel Proust, on the first page of which I hardly dare to write my name; copy not yet cut and of which I would like to know what thinks, when he has read it, the man I think of most often, who is so near and so far from his very affectionate J. E. Blanche". This letter, sent just a few months before Proust's death, indicates that Proust himself had acquired the work, which Blanche, confounded at not having been prompt enough to offer it to him, then dedicated to him. Attached is an autograph letter signed by Blanche to Félix Fénéon (4 pages in-8° at Blanche's address, rue du docteur Blanche, May 24, 1920), a very interesting confession on the genesis of the novel and the ups and downs of its publication. Blanche then details the problems he encountered with Bernard Guégan, who was in charge of placing the illustrations in Aymeris, "with his strange conception of what is, or is not, bibliophilic, and the necessity he imposed on me of the 'line', of figures of roughly the same size, x. x. x... What's perfectly legitimate for woodcuts is no longer at all so for pencil or pen; and fake woodcut-style drawings don't seem very artistic to me. And then, for example, what's become of those drawings that Rodin did and would have given to illustrate a book? Every painter has his own 'execution'! I would have imagined very free drawings and sketches, scattered throughout the book, a little at random - instead of these chapter headings! [...] I find it impossible not to retain some freedom, but it is essential that I be guided - and as quickly as possible." Examination of the finished edition shows that it was Blanche who won the argument for the placement of the illustrations. Aymeris, an autobiographical novel by the "painter-writer", as Jacques-Émile Blanche (1861-1942) was known, is also one of the very first artists' books of the 20th century, since it was entirely composed - text and illustrations - by the painter. In the preface to Blanche's book De David à Degas (1919), Proust attacked Blanche's image as a worldly painter, perhaps remembering that he too had long been seen as superficial. Blanche and Proust's long friendship dated back to the 1880s in Auteuil. After a break-up linked to the Dreyfus affair, which lasted until 1913, a reconciliation took place at the theater, and shortly afterwards Blanche wrote one of the first eulogistic reviews of Swann, in which we find this powerful formula: "This book almost suggests the fourth dimension of the cubists". From then on, the painter's admiration for the writer only grew, culminating in a kind of apotheosis in the present dedication. Provenance: Marcel Proust.
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