Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller
Le Chef-d'Oeuvre Inconnu (The Hidden Masterpiece)
Le Chef-d'Oeuvre Inconnu (The Hidden Masterpiece)
Le Chef-d'Oeuvre Inconnu (The Hidden Masterpiece)
Le Chef-d'Oeuvre Inconnu (The Hidden Masterpiece)
Le Chef-d'Oeuvre Inconnu (The Hidden Masterpiece)
Le Chef-d'Oeuvre Inconnu (The Hidden Masterpiece)
Le Chef-d'Oeuvre Inconnu (The Hidden Masterpiece)
Le Chef-d'Oeuvre Inconnu (The Hidden Masterpiece)
Le Chef-d'Oeuvre Inconnu (The Hidden Masterpiece)
Le Chef-d'Oeuvre Inconnu (The Hidden Masterpiece)
Le Chef-d'Oeuvre Inconnu (The Hidden Masterpiece)
Le Chef-d'Oeuvre Inconnu (The Hidden Masterpiece)
Le Chef-d'Oeuvre Inconnu (The Hidden Masterpiece)
Le Chef-d'Oeuvre Inconnu (The Hidden Masterpiece)
Le Chef-d'Oeuvre Inconnu (The Hidden Masterpiece)
Le Chef-d'Oeuvre Inconnu (The Hidden Masterpiece)
Le Chef-d'Oeuvre Inconnu (The Hidden Masterpiece)
Le Chef-d'Oeuvre Inconnu (The Hidden Masterpiece)
Le Chef-d'Oeuvre Inconnu (The Hidden Masterpiece)
Le Chef-d'Oeuvre Inconnu (The Hidden Masterpiece)

Le Chef-d'Oeuvre Inconnu (The Hidden Masterpiece)

Paris: Ambroise Vollard, 1931. Limited edition. Paperback. 1/340. Folio. XIV, [3], [16]pp numbered A to P, [3], 92, [8]pp. (text), [13] loose plates, as issued. Uncut. Original glassine over illustrated dust-jacket and stiff wraps. Book housed in its green cloth portfolio within its matching green cloth slipcase. Gold lettering on slipcase's spine. "Le Chef-d’œuvre inconnu" (The Unknown Masterpiece) is a short story by Honoré de Balzac. It was first published in the newspaper L'Artiste with the title "Maître Frenhofer" (Master Frenhofer) in August 1831. It appeared again later in the same year under the title "Catherine Lescault, conte fantastique." It was published in Balzac's Études philosophiques in 1837 and was integrated into the "La Comédie Humaine" in 1846. In 1927 Pablo Picasso was commissioned by publisher Ambroise Vollard to do a series of illustrations for Balzac's novella. After reading it Picasso became obsessed with this uncanny tale of a painter's obsession to create a masterpiece. Picasso accepted the Balzac commission from art dealer Ambroise Vollard and completed the thirteen etchings in 1931 for the centennial edition. As a result, this striking illustrated edition of "Le Chef-d'Oeuvre Inconnu" is considered Picasso's livre d'artiste masterpiece. With Vollard as impressario, the book was meticulously planned and produced, and separate printers were chosen to handle the different types of reproductions: etchings, wood engravings, text and typography. Many have considered these etchings “landmarks in the history of engraving.” Balzac’s story, admired by other painters like Cézanne and Matisse, is among other things, a tale of an artist ahead of his time. Set in the 17th century, "Le Chef-d'Oeuvre Inconnu" (The Hidden Masterpiece) tells the story of an aging painter named Frenhofer, who obsessively labors over a work he has kept secret for years. When two younger admirers, painters Poussin and Porbus, finally manage to see Frenhofer’s secret canvas, they are appalled - it appears to them nothing more than an indistinct mess of lines, colors and shapes - and they mock the older artist and assume their celebrated friend has gone insane. The next day, Frenhofer destroys all his work and kills himself. Picasso later claimed that the ghost of Balzac haunted him, and he found himself so compelled by the story that in 1937, he chose for his new studio a 17th century townhouse located at 7 Rue des Grands-Augustin, the very house many believed to be the setting of the opening scene in “The Hidden Masterpiece.” It was in his new studio that Picasso painted his own Masterpiece, Guernica. Splendidly illustrated with 67 in-text wood engravings, and 13 original tissue-guarded etchings by Pablo Picasso, this copy is No.171 of 240 printed on Rives paper (of a total edition of 340). Minor age-toning and slight soiling on slipcase. Glassine slightly sunned. Minor and sporadic foxing throughout. Text in French. Slipcase and glassine in overall good+, portfolio, dust-jacket, wrappers and interior in very good condition. vg. Item #37049

Price: $27,500.00

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