Manet's fashion accessories

Manet, Édouard, French painter (1832-1883). Autograph letter signed ("E. Manet") and illustrated with original watercolours.

Bellevue, "jeudi" [July 1880].

8vo (124 x 200 mm). 3 pp. on bifolium. With five original watercolour and ink wash drawings as well as an ink portrait sketch of Jules Guillemet. Mounted at the beginning of an 8vo volume (248 x 160 cm) bound in early 20th century half-vellum with morocco title label (scattered foxing, spine a little rubbed), containing three studies of Manet which appeared in the year after his death.


To the wife of his friend Jules Guillemet: an exceptional, unpublished letter illustrated with five watercolours showing little bags (which Manet called "pochettes") of various shapes and sizes, asking her to choose a model which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: "Très bien choisie, la brioche. Je ne l’ai [pas] réussi [!] hier je la recommencerai aujourd’hui. J’irai à Paris probablement ces jours-ci et je vous apporterai en échange un rose, un jaune, ou un bleu à votre goût. Ecrivez-moi ce que vous voulez et la forme ; écrivez-moi ce que vous vouliez. J’irai vous demander à déjeuner ce jour-là. Ce n’est pas gentil de nous avoir fait faux bond mardi [...]". On the verso is a pen-and-ink portrait of the correspondent's husband, the tracing of a self-portrait by Guillemet himself: "Voilà Jules dessiné par lui-même je le décalque avec tout le soin possible".

For Manet, fashion and its accessoires represented nothing less than modern life itself. The motif of fashion accessoires 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 three Monet studies in the volume are:

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 Beaux-Arts", 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).

Provenance (according to a handwritten note inserted in the volume): 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).

Cat. no.: 32 Catalogue: Firsts 2022 Tags: , ,