Michaux (Henry)

Lot 95
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Estimation :
24000 - 28000 EUR
Result with fees
Result : 39 176EUR
Michaux (Henry)
Mes Propriétés. J. O. Fourcade, Paris, 1929, first edition (edition of 270 copies, including 20 first copies on japon) (19 x 14.5 cm). Binding: Full beige and gray morocco, decorated with three rows of mother-of-pearl buttons on the outer edges of the binding, spine decorated with a mosaic title in beige and gray morocco, lined with mother-of-pearl japon paper, smooth head, cover and spine preserved, titled slipcase (signed Georges Hugnet, realized by Mercher, 1972). A unique copy, one of the top 20 on japon, with a letter from Michaux to Georges Hugnet, adorned with 12 superb original gouaches (including one decalcomania) by Oscar Dominguez, commissioned by Hugnet, author of a rare surrealist object-binding. "Amicalement à Georges Hugnet qui remplira de quelques sentiments [MES PROPRIÉTÉS] qui en sont si vides H. Michaux". An autograph note by Georges Hugnet, in pencil, appears opposite the title page: "Gouaches by Oscar Dominguez / executed at my request in 1943 / to decorate this copy / of Mes Propriétés". Dominguez's gouaches are distributed throughout the five parts of the book, 4 full-page and 8 at the end of texts, 10 being monogrammed "O. D." in black ink at the bottom right or left of the compositions. Henri Michaux's association with the surrealists Hugnet and Dominguez is unique for this extraordinary book-object, which seems to unite all the precious canons of bibliophily, from the first edition with dispatch to the binding and the illumination of original paintings. Henri Michaux (1899-1984) never belonged to Surrealism, although he represented avant-garde poetry from the 1920s onwards. He published Mes Propriétés, an autobiographical poetic text, with Fourcade, where he had been a reader for several months. It's one of the poet's masterpieces, with a totally new blend of lyricism, fantasy and often serious comicality. The scathing effect of the book prompted one critic to write: "If it's not the work of a madman, it's rudely well imitated" (Fonctionnaire Syndicaliste, February 5, 1930). Michaux fasted for several days to write some of the texts, hoping to gain access to unexplored poetic regions. The work was later integrated into La nuit remue. In the afterword, Michaux wrote: "Perhaps out of hygiene, I wrote 'Mes Propriétés', for my health. No doubt one doesn't write for anything else. Hailing from the Canary Islands, Oscar Dominguez (1906-1957) was part of the second wave of Surrealist painters active in the 1930s, after the initial trio of Ernst-Tanguy-Miró, followed by Dali. Later to become one of the movement's most emblematic artists, he distinguished himself through explorations reminiscent of Ernst's, but different, such as decals. In the present book, the gouache on page 116 is a decalcomania, and the one on page 134 uses certain elements of one. Dominguez collaborated with Hugnet on several books, including La Hampe de l'imaginaire (1936) and Le Feu au cul (1943), as well as the 1937 series of Surrealist postcards. Pérégrinations de Georges Hugnet is an assemblage sculpture (1935) showing a horse imprisoned in a small bicycle, reminiscent of the time when Hugnet earned his living by delivering toys won on slot machines by bicycle, which was exhibited at Charles Ratton's Exposition surréaliste d'objets in 1936. Hugnet often wrote about Dominguez, notably in Cahiers d'Art in 1935 (L'Objet utile). In the early 1940s, he had Dominguez decorate two other books with gouaches: Deuil pour deuil by Robert Desnos (6 gouaches), and Sur les pentes inférieures by Paul Éluard (5 gouaches) (Bibliothèque R. et B. L[oliée]. Dada-Surréalisme, Sotheby's / Binoche et Giquello, Paris April 26-27, 2016, no. 208 and 301). Along with Paul Éluard, Georges Hugnet (1906-1974) was certainly the most bibliophile of the Surrealists, a fact he shared with clients of Marie Cuttoli and Jeanne Bucher's gallery on Boulevard du Montparnasse in the 1930s. Sadly, part of this valuable library was destroyed by fire in 1944, but fortunately some very precious copies, such as this one, have survived. For these, he often played a creative role, creating object bindings. These bindings are extremely rare, with no more than twenty-five produced between 1934 and 1939. Provenance: Georges Hugnet; Bernard Loliée. Exhibition: Pérégrinations de Georges Hugnet, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, July 11-September 11, 1978, no. 159.
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