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LES BUCOLIQUES
Paris: Philippe Gonin, 1951. ONE OF 200 COPIES n. Hardcover. With an Inscribed Original Wood Engraving by the Artist. 327 x 248 mm (12 7/8 x 9 3/4"). 111, [2] pp., [1] leaf (colophon). Translated by L'Abb? Delille [pseudonym of the Chevalier de Langeac]. ONE OF 200 COPIES. Loose as issued in publisher's cream-colored wrappers and vellum-backed portfolio, black titling on spine. In a later patterned paper slipcase. With 80 wood engravings by Lucile Passavant. First preliminary leaf warmly inscribed "To Ed and Mary [Thom?]" from "[Denise?] and Louis"; second preliminary leaf inscribed by the artist to the Thoms; a greeting card illustrated and inscribed by the artist to Mr. and Mrs. Thom laid in at front. A hint of soil to spine, corners worn to boards, faint freckling to covers, the text with isolated trivial foxing, but an excellent copy, the text clean and fresh, and the binding a good deal more than good enough. This is a finely printed and illustrated edition of Virgil's first century B.C. pastoral poems, with intriguing provenance. These evocative and mysterious eclogues (or bucolics) are of great importance as an inspiration for the entire European tradition of pastoral poetry. Additionally, they provided an oblique commentary--of considerable contemporaneous interest--on Roman politics during the time that Gaius Octavian Caesar consolidated his power in the age of post-Julian turmoil. In terms of its modern importance, the book is a showcase for sculptress, painter, and wood engraver Lucile Passavant (1910-2012), who began her career as a voluptuous model posing for French sculptor Aristide Maillol (1861-1944). Though married, he fell in love with her, and she became his mistress. Maillol's close friend and patron, Count Harry Kessler (of Cranach Press fame) wrote in his diary, "in addition to having the kind of young, firm, heavy body that Maillol loved, Lucile was indeed a bright girl, with a talent for sculpture. Her work compares quite favorably with what Maillol was doing at that time. Her young mind was like a sponge, soaking up the master's sense of form and design. She also picked up his sense of graphic design. She carved woodcuts to illustrate classical poetry just like Aristide had done years earlier. She was a natural." As for provenance, the connection between Mr. and Mrs. Thom and Passavant may have been of some importance, as the French notes from the artist to the owners here reflect a friendly relationship.
      [Bookseller: Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Mediev]
Last Found On: 2015-11-18           Check availability:      ABAA    

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