Sims Reed Rare Books×

Brigitte Bardot. (Original Collage)

Hugnet, Georges

(Paris). 1962, 'l'herbière le 2 janvier'
A beautiful original photo-collage by Georges Hugnet, featuring Brigitte Bardot, sent to Charles Ratton.

Hugnet and Ratton had been friends since the 1930s when Hugnet (among many others) exhibited his livres-objets at the 'Exposition Surréaliste d'Objets' at the Galerie Charles Ratton. Ratton dealt in avant-garde and Surrealist art as well as the art of Africa, Oceania and North America and was a prodigious and prestigious collector. This card marks Hugnet's move to his final Paris address, the small and discreet courtyard off rue de la Gaité in Montmartre, he shared with his wife Myrtille.

Hugnet describes the interminable move to the new address and the desire on his return to Paris to see Ratton 'le plus tôt possible, même si l'installation traîne un peu'. He wishes Ratton a happy new year ('Bonne année, Charles) and presents this collage: 'Je t'envoie ce petit montage original ... puisque tu aimes BB'. Ratton, it seems, loved BB (Brigitte Bardot) so much that the profits from the sale of his art were donated to the Fondation Brigitte Bardot.

Hugnet's collage depicts Brigitte Bardot, an additional strawberry in her lap, against the background of a ship, the Champlain, a ship that had transported many refugees to America - among them Vlaldimir Nabokov and his parents and many Jews - fleeing the Nazis during the early part of World War II. In 1940, the Champlain hit a mine off the Ile de Ré and it is the evocative image of the ship heeled over and largely under water with only her smoke stacks showing, that Hugnet has appropriated. A further female figure, wearing a swimsuit, is pasted at left, her feet in the water while she talks on the telephone, her head bowed.

'Georges Hugnet (b. 1906), a poet and playwright, took part in a number of Surrealist activities in the 1930s in Paris; his introduction to the PETIE ANTHOLOGIE DU SURREALISME (Paris, 1934) was a major text of Surrealist literary theory and was included by Herbert Read in his book of 1936 that introduced Surrealism to the English reading public. Bookbindings made by Hugnet, and exhibited as 'book objects' at the Gallery Ratton in 1936, were reproduced in MINOTAURE in 1937 with an article about them by Benjamin Péret. He made a number of photo-collages at this time. His account of Dada painting published in 1957 is a major source for the subject. According to Alfred Barr, he was 'among all the surrealist writers, the one most interested in an historical approach'.' (The Artist and the Book).
8vo. (145 x 100 mm). Original monochrome photograph with additional excised applied elements recto, verso with photographer's credit and manuscript text by Hugnet in black ink. Framed under passepartout with verso visible via excision.

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