Original ink and watercolor drawing

Antoine de SAINT-EXUPERY

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Item#: 124873 price:$45,000.00

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“THEN ONE MORNING, EXACTLY AT SUNRISE, SHE SUDDENLY SHOWED HERSELF”: WONDERFUL, EXTREMELY SCARCE INK AND WATERCOLOR DRAWING OF THE LITTLE PRINCE, THE ACTUAL FINISHED DRAWING USED FOR THE BOOK

SAINT-EXUPERY, Antoine de. Original ink and watercolor drawing ["The Little Prince"]. New York, circa 1943. Brown ink drawing on white onionskin paper, heightened with red and sepia washes, measuring 8 by 6 inches; beautifully framed, entire piece measures 15 by 13 inches. $45,000.

Rare and wonderful item—one of the scarce original finished ink and watercolor drawings Saint-Exupery executed for his Little Prince, this one showing the Little Prince watching his flower’s first bloom (page 29). The original manuscript in the Morgan Library contains only preliminary drawings and this particular subject is not among them.

"Antoine de Saint-Exupery may not have been recognized as a poet, but everything he wrote was poetry, and his one fairy tale more than any. The quality of The Little Prince cannot be described. It appeared at a time when the world had suffered great spiritual as well as material devastation. It is wise, simple, as uncluttered as the landscape of the African desert with the one star over it where the little prince was first, and where he was last seen" (Critical History of Children's Literature, 472). Saint-Exupery's talent as an artist is a topic he discusses at length in the beginning of The Little Prince. Of his portrait of the character, he wrote, "I saw a most extraordinary small person, who stood examining me with great seriousness. Here you may see the best portrait that, later, I was able to make of him. But my drawing is certainly very much less charming than its model. That, however, is not my fault. The grown-ups discouraged me in my painter's career when I was six years old, and I never learned to draw anything, except boas from the outside and boas from the inside." This is the finished drawing for the illustration on page 29 of The Little Prince, depicting his flower's first bloom: "Then one morning, exactly at sunrise, she suddenly showed herself." War pilot Saint-Exupery had fled to New York after the fall of France, where he waited with impatience to find some avenue by which he could rejoin the war effort. He wrote The Little Prince in New York during the remainder of 1941 and throughout 1942. In March of 1943, at about the same time as he received his embarkation papers for North Africa (despite his age and health, he was able to join the American forces as a reconnaissance pilot), The Little Prince was published in New York. Saint-Exupery was lost the following year in a mission over the Mediterranean.

An unusually scarce and lovely piece in fine condition. Original material from The Little Prince is rare and in great demand.

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