November 27, 2006

Le Paradis Musulman

Important figure of the Art Deco, François-Louis Schmied, born in Switzerland, came to Paris at the beginning of the 20th century and lived there until the middle of the Thirties when he moved to Marocco. He published luxuous illustrated books, of classic literature as Homer's Odyssey, and also orientalist stories. Thus, Le Paradis Musulman by Joseph-Charles Mardrus, doctor born in Cairo who was well-known for his new translation of the Book Of One Thousand And One Nights. Le Paradis Musulman is the third collaboration between the two men after La Création (1928) and Le Livre de la Vérité de la Parole (1929).

Schmied can easily be qualified as a designer because of the importance he give to the layout of the book. He worked, besides, with the designer Jean Dunand. And it's obvious that, with Schmied, the art of illustration becomes decoration : colors are substances, page setting is architecture. The typography is arranged as an harmonious structure, playing with the symmetry. Le Paradis Musulman, is deservedly considered as one his very best works.

Currently at Loliee's Bookshop, you can find, among others, Le Paradis Musulman, 1930, in-4, loose leaves, illustrated cover, with the publisher's folder and case.

November 22, 2006

La Princesse de Clèves

The Princess of Cleves by Mme de La Fayette (1634-1693) is regarded as the first modern novel of the french literature. The story takes place in the 16th century, at the Court of Henry the Second. Miss de Chartres, sixteen years old, keep her mind in front of tributes her beauty generates. She marries the Prince of Cleves who touched her by his constancy and love. Shortly after, The Princess of Clèves is introduced to the Duke of Nemours who disturbs her quiet lifestyle... The narration, beyond the Court's glitter, puts in first place the psychological dimension of the characters.

The fact that Marie Laurencin, painter of womanhood, illustrated this book is not an accident. Her distinctive style, made of caring and refined colors, with a purpose more settled on undertone than expressiveness, matches perfectly with this self-restrained love story. The ten etchings, among them the frontispiece, resonate harmoniously with the text of Mme de La Fayette.

Currently at Loliee's Bookshop :
La princesse de Clèves, Paris, Robert Laffont, 1947, in-4, loose leaves, chemise and cover from the publisher. Printed at 300 copies on vélin pur fil du Marais.
Copy containing also a complete set of the etchings in colors by Marie Laurencin.

November 14, 2006

Rues et Visages de New York

Charles Laborde (1886-1941), also knowned as Chas-Laborde, was borned in Buenos-Aires, Argentina, to french parents. He studied in Paris, at the Academie Julian and at the Beaux-Arts. He began, at the age of fifteen, to sell drawings to satirical magazines of Paris.
After War War I in which he was engaged, Charles Labordes travelled in England. He drew the bourgeois life and published his illustrations in Le Rire Rouge et La Baionnette. Chas-Laborde became then a full-time illustrator. He poke fun, with pleasure, of his own world, cartooned snobs et aristocrats between the two world ward. Influenced by the german artist Georg Grosz, to whom his work is often compared, Chas-Laborde illustrated a lot of novels.

He was also commissioned to illustrate a well-knowned serie of books about the streets and faces of famous cities :
- Rues et Visages de Paris, with text by Valery Larbaud
- Rues et Visages de Londres, with text by Pierre Mac Orlan
- Rues et Visages de Berlin, with text by de Jean Giradoux
- Rue et Visages de Moscou, with text by Chas-Laborde himself
- Rue et Visages de New York, with text by Paul Morand

The last folio of the serie, Rues et visages de New York, was published in 1950 after the death of Chas-Laborde. On each page, text et illustration complete each other to criticize social and cultural codes of the New York melting-pot. This book stigmatises the artificial dimension of the city and refers to the gap that seperate the rich from the poor.

Currently at Loliee's Bookshop :
- Rues et Visages de New-York, with text by Paul Morand - etchings by Chas-Laborde, Paris, Lacourière, 1950, in folio, in loose leaves, with illustrated paper covers. One of the 200 copies on velin d'Arches.
- Rues et Visages de Berlin, with text by Jean Giradoux - etchings by Chas-Laborde, Paris, La Roseraie, 1930, in folio, in loose leaves, with illustrated paper covers. One of the 90 copies on velin d'Arches.

November 06, 2006

Le Voyage d'Urien

Le Voyage d'Urien (1893) by André Gide, and illustrated for the original edition by Maurice Denis, is a transitional and ambiguous work. The young Gide belongs then becomes subjected to the symbolist movement which dominates in this end of the century and from which he tries to peel off. Le Voyage d'Urien signs the slow liberation of his writing, free from ethic pressure and literary codes. During his trek, Urien and twenty of his companions sail from a "pathetic ocean" to a "frozen sea", shore on enchanted islands, die from contagious ill, reach a country full of zombies eskimos... Ellis, Urien's sister, show him the mystic meaning of this adventure which, in the final, leads to nothing. The title is a word play : le Voyage d'Urien, du rien (for nothing). The book ends with this words : "We did not made this trip", "this entire book is a lie". With this work, Gide questions himself on the sense of writing, turns aside from the sacralization of poetry for an aesthetic of irony.

The frienship between André Gide and Maurice Denis is borned from their collaboration on Le Voyage d'Urien and went on till the death of the painter. In 1893, Maurice Denis, as young as Gide, is already the theorist of the Nabis movement. He is certain of his skills and his ideas. He helps Gide to find his positions and move froim Symbolism. More than illustrations, his lithographies are a part of the creation of the novel.

Currently in Loliee's Bookshop, the original edition (tirage à 300 copies, 29 original lithographies by Maurice Denis) in a nice binding, red levant, from Knoderer.

- André Gide - Maurice Denis - Correspondance 1892-1945, Paris, Gallimard, 2006
- Maurice Denis exhibition at the Musée D'Orsay in Paris from october, 31 2006 to january, 21 2007