Paris auctioneers Binoche & Giquello, in association with Sotheby's
, announced the sale of Part II of the Library of R. & B. L. in Paris on 28 March 2012. Expert Yves Lebouc (Bouquinerie de l'Institut) will team up with Sotheby's specialists for the sale to be held at the Galerie Charpentier with the gavel wielded jointly by both firms.
The sale features an exceptional ensemble of nearly 200 works, with an overall estimate of 3-4 million ($3,9-5,2 million), and abounds in illustrations by a host of 20th century masters Bonnard, Braque, Chagall, Delaunay, Dufy, Giacometti, Gris, Laurencin, Léger, Maillol, Masson, Matisse, Miró, Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec and Wols and also features sophisticated bindings by such internationally renowned bookbinders as Rose Adler, Bonet, Creuzevault, Madeleine Gras, Hugnet, Leroux, Martin, Mercher, Miguet, Germaine Schroeder and Séguy.
Many of these highly desirable volumes are personalized with artists' dedications, some accompanied by original drawings.
Picasso occupies pride of place with 32 books embellished with frontispieces or illustrations, spanning a 55-year period up to 1960 including the very first book he ever illustrated: André Salmon's Poèmes in 1905, with an extremely rare proof avant aciérage (before steelfacing) of his dry-point etching Les Deux Saltimbanques (Two Acrobats, ref. Bloch 5, Cramer 1).
A precious copy of Max Jacob's Saint Matorel, once owned by Georges Hugnet, comes illustrated with four Picasso etchings and a dedication by Max Jacob, along with an original, signed and dated Picasso drawing (ref. B19-22C 2). Balzac's Le Chef-duvre Inconnu (edition of 1931) features an extraordinary original ink-drawing signed Picasso which, like the magnificent Paul Bonet binding, dates from 1944. Of equal note is a remarkable burin engraving, LArlequin, to be found solely in the first fourteen copies of Max Jacob's Le Cornet à Dés (The Dice Cup) published in 1917.
Another auction focal-point of the sale will be Henri Matisse, represented by his mythical Jazz, one of the finest illustrated books of the 20th century; and by a moving sketchbook from 1930, charting his creative process through a series of drawings and studies of female nudes, flowers, foliage, satyrs etc.
Another iconic 20th century work is Blaise Cendrars's La Prose du Transsibérien (1913) illustrated by Sonia Delaunay, here complete with its feuillet dannonce, and clad in a magnificent mosaic binding by Paul Bonet. Two superb copies of Apollinaire's Fenêtres (1912) come illustrated by Sonia's husband Robert Delaunay: one with an original gouache (Robert's own copy, dedicated by Apollinaire); the other with a coloured crayon drawing (copy presented to the author Albert tSertstevens).
Classic examples of the 20th century illustrated book from this major collection include Max Ernst's masterpiece Maximiliana (1964), in an elegant binding by Pierre-Lucien Martin; and Verlaine's Parallèlement illustrated by Pierre Bonnard, with an amazing contemporary binding by Séguy.
The collection is, in fact, of note as much for its refined bindings as for the illustrations they enclose. Other outstanding examples include Rose Adler's elegant 1951 binding for Ovid's Metamorphoses; Leroux's sumptuous 1988 binding for a 1930 edition of Apollinaire's Calligrammes illustrated by De Chirico; another splendid Leroux binding from 1993, for Lautréamont's Les Chants de Maldoror, illustrated by Dalí and published in 1934; and Mercher's sparkling 1960 binding for Paul Eluard's A Toute Epreuve, in the 1958 edition illustrated by Miró.
A selection of the sale's most important books will be shown at Sothebys New York from 23-26 January 2012
The collection in its entirety will be on view at the Galerie Charpentier from 23- 27 March 2012.