"THE GREATEST VISUAL EXPRESSION OF THE SOCIAL CLASS STRUGGLE EVER PUBLISHED": WITH 174 WOOD-ENGRAVINGS BY GUSTAVE DORÉ
(LONDON) DORÉ, Gustave and ENAULT, Louis. Londres. Paris: Librairie Hachette, 1876. Large folio (11-1/2 by 15 inches), publisher's half red pebbled morocco gilt and pebbled cloth covers, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. $4200.
First French edition of Doré's London, "superb, and noble in sentiment" (van Gogh), with 174 striking full-page and in-text wood-engraved illustrations of "all segments of London society" by Doré.
"One can hardly deny that Doré is not merely one of the most popular but also one of the greatest of all illustrators… Perhaps Taine summed up Doré's appeal most eloquently: 'every imagination appeared languid in comparison with his. For energy, force, superabundance, originality, sparkle, and gloomy grandeur, I know only one equal to his— that of Tintoretto" (Ray, 327-29). "By 1872, Doré was the most popular artist in England, illustrator or painter. This work was eagerly awaited by the English public, having been postponed by the Franco-Prussian War… The idea was to match Doré's artistic genius with an in-depth view of all segments of London society—the rich and the poor, the common people at work and play, famous sites and slums, nobility and criminals, Many were the days and nights that Doré went in disguise, with undercover policemen for protection, to see parts of London not listed in any tour guide… The result was a book often hailed as the greatest visual expression of the social class struggle ever published" (Malan, 127). "The other day," once wrote Vincent van Gogh, "I saw a complete set of Doré's pictures of London. I tell you it is superb, and noble in sentiment." Malan, 281.
Only very infrequent light foxing; corners gently bumped, front joint lightly rubbed at spine ends but quite sound, cloth clean, gilt bright. A near-fine copy of this splendid folio.