Sims Reed Rare Books×

La Sainte Vierge

Verneuil, Maurice Pillard

Paris. 1894–1896
Verneuil's original designs for an unpublished book depicting the life of the Virgin Mary.

This collection consists of 1 sheet of fully coloured watercolour (four coloured page border designs), 7 full-page pen-and-ink designs (each with minor areas of white gouache and coloured pencil), 1 sheet with pen-and-ink design (two-page border designs), and 18 sheets of ink drawings (four page border designs).

Two of the drawings are fully signed by Verneuil, and the majority of the border designs carry the artist's monogram. The designs are dated from between 1894 and 1896.

Maurice Pillard-Verneuil (1869-1942) began architectural studies in Paris but a strong interest in art led him to apprentice at L'Ecole Guerin under Eugene Grasset, the master of the emerging Art Nouveau style of the late 19th century. Under the twin influences of Grasset and Japanese art, Verneuil developed into the perfect embodiment of La Belle Epoque artist-designer, drawing inspiration from nature, and working in such diverse disciplines as posters, embroidery, furniture, ceramics and batik prints. The incorporation of the natural world - plants, animals and sea creatures - into his ornamental graphic design work would remain his lasting influence, and the novel motifs were widely circulated in a series of books he published alone or in collaboration with other artists.

Although this project was never published, for reasons unknown, many of the original drawings presented here, with their fantastical floreate border designs, illustrate Verneuil's mastery of Art Nouveau naturalism.
With 27 sheets of original designs, each mounted on card, and each individually presented in passepartout. Housed in modern half-morocco drop-back box, button ties.

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