FIRST ILLUSTRATED EDITION OF BAUDELAIRE’S LE PEINTRE DE LA VIE MODERNE, WITH 16 PLATES BY CONSTANTIN GUYS
BAUDELAIRE, Charles. Le Peintre de la Vie Moderne, Constantin Guys. Paris: Éditions René Kieffer, (1923). Folio, contemporary full brown morocco, elaborately blind-tooled spine and boards, raised bands, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, uncut. $1500.
Limited first illustrated edition, number 123 of 550 copies, of Baudelaire’s highly influential essay in which he differentiates the modern age from that which came before, with 16 plates of watercolors by Constantin Guys, whose work inspired Baudelaire to write the essay. Beautifully bound by René Kieffer.
Constantin Guys “has everywhere sought after the fugitive, fleeting beauty of present-day life, the distinguishing character of that quality which, with the reader’s kind permission, we have called ‘modernity’. Often weird, violent and excessive, he has contrived to concentrate in his drawings that acrid or heady bouquet of the wine of life” (Le Peintre de la Vie Moderne). With these words, Baudelaire named, and created, the modernist movement. Baudelaire “was a precursor of modern poetry by his perception of the symbolic correspondences of colors, scents, and sounds, by his exploration of the musical possibilities of the French language, and above all by his evocative power” (Harvey & Heseltine, 53-54). While this was first published in 1863, it was not until this lovely 1923 edition that Baudelaire’s words were united in one volume with the watercolors by Guys that inspired them. Text in French. Original wrappers and spine bound in. Small binder’s ticket.
A handsome, fine copy, beautifully bound and illustrated.