“THE GREATEST NAME AMONG FRENCH ILLUSTRATORS OF THE 18TH CENTURY”: PROOFS PRINTS OF MOREAU’S ILLUSTRATIONS FOR LA FONTAINE’S CONTES
MOREAU, Jean-Michel (le Jeune). Proof prints from La Fontaine’s Contes. Paris: Lefevre, 1814. Small octavo, 20th-century full green morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, uncut. $1250.
Set of 11 proofs before letters for La Fontaine’s Contes, handsomely bound by Bonaventure.
Moreau (1741-1814) and his work span the transition from the Rococo elaboration of the late 18th century to post-Revolutionary classicism of the early 19th century. “Certain qualities are to be found in Moreau’s designs throughout his career. His thorough command of whatever text he happened to be illustrating guaranteed him a basis of ‘fundamental brainwork.’ Moreover, his artistic seriousness ensured the technical proficiency of his compositions. ‘To suppress a dog’s tail in the designs of Moreau,’ said Horace Vernet, ‘would be like deleting a comma from Bossuet’s most beautiful period… His is the greatest name among French illustrators of the eighteenth century” (Ray, The Art of the French Illustrated Book, 86-88). Dealer description tipped to front flyleaf.
Faint marginal foxing, not affecting images. Spine toned to brown. A handsome copy.