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Lot #268
Edouard Manet Illustrated Autograph Letter Signed with Watercolors

Spectacular illustrated letter by Edouard Manet, with original watercolors of French fashion accessories

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Estimate: $100000+
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Spectacular illustrated letter by Edouard Manet, with original watercolors of French fashion accessories

ALS in French, signed “E. Manet,” three pages on two adjoining sheets, 4.75 x 8, July 1880. Exceptional, unpublished handwritten letter to the wife of his friend Jules Guillemet, illustrated with original watercolors showing little bags (which Manet called "pochettes") of various shapes and sizes, asking her to choose a model which he will then bring her from Paris. In small part (translated): "I will probably go to Paris these days and I will bring you in exchange a pink, a yellow, or a blue to your liking. Write me what you want and the form; write me whatever you want. I'm going to ask you for lunch that day. It's not nice to have let us down on Tuesday." Manet closes by drawing a pen-and-ink portrait of the correspondent's husband, the tracing of a self-portrait by Guillemet himself: "Here is Jules drawn by himself, I trace it with all the care possible." The letter is tipped-in by its hinge to a volume labeled "Manet Recuil," containing several works on Manet. In fine condition.

For Manet, fashion and its accessories represented nothing less than modern life itself. The motif of fashion accessories is frequent in his letters, which frequently 'contain pictorial references to elements of feminine adornment: hats, little boots, handbags, parasols, etc. The hats and the bag appear as elements of a still life…These small watercolours constitute dashed-off manifestations of the same deep interest that we find in his more elaborately conceived large canvases' (cf. G. Mauner, "Un arrosoir et quelques articles de mode,' in: Manet, les natures mortes, Musée d’Orsay, 2001, p. 140).

The interesting bound volume contains three studies on Manet: 1) Edmond Bazire. Manet. Paris, A. Quantin, 1884. With 2 original etchings by Manet's "L'Odalisque couchée" and "La Convalescente" (M. Guerin, nos. 64 and 65, this one in third state), 3 etchings after Manet by H. Guérard, 6 photogravures after Manet, a facsimile of a letter to Mme Guérard, and many other illustrations. First edition of Manet's first biography, published a few months after the artist's death by his great friend. - 2) Jacques de Biez. Edouard Manet. Conférence faite à la salle des Capucines le mardi 22 janvier 1884. Paris, Ludovic Baschet, 1884. 3) Joséphin Peladan. "Le procédé de Manet d'après l'exposition de l'École des BeauxArts", L'Artiste, February 1884, pp. 101-117. - The texts by Bazire and Péladan are each preceded by a portrait of their author (vintage silver prints, 146 x 103 cm, mounted on a page before the text). Also included in the volume are a portrait of Manet (wood engraving on China paper) and a reproduction of the drawing of his "Polichinelle" (pp. [13] and 14, from an unidentified magazine, mounted and unfolded, split at center).

Provenance: 1) Madame Jules Guillemet (1850-1913), recipient; 2) "Stchukine" (probably Ivan Stchoukine [1869-1908], brother of the great collector Sergei Stchoukine, who settled in France in 1893); 3) unidentified collector who received the volume and the letters from Stchukine: possibly Plácido Zuloaga (1834-1910), whose relationship with Ivan Stchoukine is well attested; 4) Drouot sale after July 1910, Paris; 5) Valentina Zuloaga (bookplate engraved by her husband), daughter-in-law of Plácido Zuloaga and wife of the painter Ignacio Zuloaga (1870-1945); 6) Maria Rosa Suárez Zuloaga, niece of Ignacio Zuloaga; 7) French trade. - Cf. Aglaé Achechova, "Aux origines du fonds russe de la BULAC : le don ultime du mystérieux M. Stchoukine. Partie 1", 5 mars 2018. Françoise Cachin, Manet, lettres à Isabelle, Méry et autres dames (Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, 1985). Arnauld Le Busq, Manet, lettres illustrées (Paris, 2002). Leah Lehmbeck, "'L'Esprit de l'atelier': Manet's Late Portraits of Women, 1878 -1883", in: Manet, Portraying Life (London, 2012). Manet 1832-1883 (Paris, Grand Palais, 1983). Manet and Modern Beauty, the artist's last years (Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum & Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, 2019). Manet, Les Natures mortes (Paris, Musée d'Orsay, 2001).

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts Featuring Animation
  • Dates: #668 - Ended June 14, 2023

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