Sims Reed Rare Books×

L'Art et L'Idée: Revue Contemporaine Illustrée du Dilettantisme Littéraire et de la Curiosité Publiée par Octave Uzanne. Tome Premier, No. 1 – No. 6 (Janvier – Juin) - Tome Second, No. 7 – No. 12 (Juillet – Décembre)

Rops, Vallotton, Grasset, Robida, Morin et al. Uzanne, Octave (Ed.)

Paris. 1892
An excellent complete and unsophisticated set of Octave Uzanne's review 'L'Art et L'Idée' in the original wrappers and volume chemises.

From the edition limited to 1,660 copies, with this one of 15 numbered exemplaires de luxe on Whatman; 15 copies on Chine and 30 on Japon were also issued and only these 60 copies included the original graphics and variant states.

'L'Art et L'Idée' was Octave Uzanne's (1851 - 1931) vehicle for his literary interests and ambitions and the review is demonstrably the production of an extrovert bibliophile. Each issue is filled with articles on the subject of books, their publication, their illustration, their bindings and contents, their gauffered edges even, the sale of libraries and collections of note, French books, foreign books, literary circles, movements, trends and centres, the two 'Tomes', all that were published, a cornucopia of bibliophilia. Uzanne commissioned various authors for the text but much is his own work.

Uzanne also commissioned many of the best artists and illustrators of the day and the review is illustrated profusely with vignettes, head- and tail-pieces, hors texte plates reproducing drawings, paintings, prints and photographs and original graphics. The original graphics, issued only with the 60 exemplaires de luxe, appeared sporadically (for several issues Uzanne decided the content of the issue did not merit an original work or featured enough illustration already) and include works by Félicien Rops, Félix Vallotton, Eugène Grasset, Louis Morin, Carlos Schwabe, Albert Robida and others, often in several states (see below).

If the review was short-lived, lasting only the twelve months of its initial year, Uzanne managed to fill it with ideas and information that remain valuable and the high quality of the reproductions, the presence of the original works outlined below, and the meticulous printing and presentation, all contribute to an exceptional confection. Articles, all beautifully illustrated, show (for example) the drawings of Victor Hugo, discuss the definition of Symbolism, de Sade's 'Justine', analyse an unpublished letter of Voltaire, assess New York as a literary centre, detail the 'Bouquineurs et Bouquinistes' of Paris, the genesis of Zola's 'Germinal' and so on. Uzanne's article 'Le Maladie Actuel de l'Edition et de la Librairie' suggests that the fears, concerns and gripes of booksellers and publishers concerning their métier remain unchanged to this day.

The original graphics (details of each is listed on the verso of the front wrapper at foot but others are also included) are as follows:

No. 1 - Carlos Schwabe: 'Les exemplaires de luxe contiennent un fumé de la couverture et une épreuve avant la teinte de frontispice de Carlos Schwabe, gravé par Paul Avril.' Schwabe's plate is in two states.
No. 2 - Delâtre fils & Félix Vallotton: ' ... un portrait en trois couleurs d'une tête d'enfant gravée sur zinc par Delâtre fils, et un portrait de Baudelaire par Félix Vallotton spécialement gravé sur bois pour nos souscripteurs.'
No. 3 - Félicien Rops: ' ... une planche spéciale gravé par Félicien Rops en curieux état d'eau-forte, et tirée sur japon très ancien.' Rops' etching ('L'Amour regnant sur le monde') is in two states: coloured and uncoloured before letters; 4 reproduction plates by Pierre Vidal are each in two states.
No. 4 - Louis Morin: ' ... une superbe planche gravée spécialement par M. Louis Morin (eau-forte et pointe séche), et qui est intitulée : 'la Mascarade italienne'.' With Morin's aquatint: 'Petites Bretonnes, retour de la pêche'.
No. 5 - 'Les Exemplaires de luxe ... ne contiennent exceptionellement aucune planche extraordinaire ... '.
No. 6 - Pierre Vidal: ' ... deux superbes états de première morsure des deux planches de P. Vidal, gravées à l'eau-forte par François Courboin.' Each of Vidal's plates is in two states: in monochrome with and before letters.
No. 7 - Félix Vallotton: ' ... un curieux premier état de morsure de frontispice de M. Vallotton, d'après Giovani [sic] Bellini.' Vallotton's plate ('la Cieca Fortuna') is in two states: in blue and in monochrome before letters.
No. 8 - Emile Bertrand: ' ... une admirable gravure en couleur, 'les Petits Femmes de la Place Pigalle', tirée sur trois planches repérées, d'après la composition originale du graveur M. Bertrand.'
No. 9 - Albert Robida: ' ... la planche à l'eau-forte de Robida, 'la Fin d'un siècle', une seconde eau-forte inédite et tirée spécialement pour nos grands papiers ; cette planche représente 'un pélerinage au Mont-Saint-Michel au XVIe siècle'.'
No. 10 - Eugène Grasset: ' ... deux épreuves avant la lettre en différent encrage des héliogravures d'Eugène Grasset.' Each of Grasset's plates is in two states.
No. 11 - ' ... aucune épreuve spéciale ... '.
No. 12 - ' en dehors des planches horst texte sur beau papier, aucune épreuve spéciale ... '. With nine lithographs composed for the issue: by Jules Chéret, Alexandre Lunois, Emile Bertrand, Jules Dubois-Ménant, Auguste Lepère, Henri-Patrice Dillon, Henri Boutet, Maximilien Luce and Paul-Eugène Mesplès.
pp. 1 – 431, (i); 1 – 382, (ii). Continuous pagination throughout each 'Tome', indices for each in nos. 6 & 12; the majority of issues with four leaves of advertisements at rear. 12 livraisons in 2 vols. Large 8vo. (252 x 180 mm). Half-titles with justifications verso (vol. I with number), printed titles in red and black with publisher's vignettes and text, illustrated throughout with monochrome vignettes and plates, reproduction photographs, reproductions of drawings and original graphics (see below), all on various paper stock and by various artists and illustrators, occasional inserted supplements and advertisements to rear of each vol. Printed text in French throughout. Stitched as issued in original publisher's colour two-tone printed wrappers (each month different) with illustration and titles to front covers, advertisements for works by Uzanne to rear, loose in original publisher's pink paper-lined turquoise cloth portfolios with gilt floral motifs surrounding blue printed titles and vignettes, titles to spine in blue with gilt rules, matching advertisements to rear covers with matching floral motifs on gilt background.

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