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LEPÈRE, Auguste -- HUYSMANS, Joris-Karl (1848-1907). À Rebours. Deux-cent-vingt Gravures sur bois en Couleurs de Auguste Lepère. Paris: pour les Cent bibliophiles, 1903.
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LEPÈRE, Auguste -- HUYSMANS, Joris-Karl (1848-1907). À Rebours. Deux-cent-vingt Gravures sur bois en Couleurs de Auguste Lepère. Paris: pour les Cent bibliophiles, 1903.

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LEPÈRE, Auguste -- HUYSMANS, Joris-Karl (1848-1907). À Rebours. Deux-cent-vingt Gravures sur bois en Couleurs de Auguste Lepère. Paris: pour les Cent bibliophiles, 1903.

Large 8º (258 x 178mm). Colour woodcut throughout by Lepère. Extra-illustrated with an original pencil and pen and ink drawing by Lepère for the front cover of this binding inscribed to Comar, and four ALS by Lepère, dated c. 1911-1916, mainly relating to the binding. Finely bound by Canape after a design by Lepère, signed and dated 1919, light brown crushed morocco preserving the original printed wrappers, the front cover with an inset leather panel, incised and painted after Lepère’s drawing, leather doublures with fine onlaid floral borders, free endpapers lined with grey moiré, brown morocco backed chemise and slipcase. Provenance: Dr C. Chauvet (printed statement of limitation) – Leon Comar (bookplate, correspondence; sale Paris 1951, lot 71).

FIRST ILLUSTRATED EDITION, PARTLY ORIGINAL: THE FOREWORD BY HUYSMANS EXPLAINING THE GENESIS OF THE NOVEL APPEARS HERE FOR THE FIRST TIME.

Printed in 130 copies on Vergé, the book is illustrated with 220 original wood-engravings by Auguste Lepère, some fully coloured, some barely tinted. ‘When Carteret asserted in 1948 that A rebours was a “great star of the modern illustrated book” the judgement may have seemed surprising. It is now a truism’ (Ray).

This copy is in a remarkable inlaid binding with a cuir incisé on the upper side executed by Canape after a composition specially drawn by Lepère. The original drawing is bound-in and inscribed to Léon Comar, first owner of the book and commissioner of the binding.

Ray, The Art of the French illustrated Book, 328; The Artist and the Book, 167, for 'Nantes au Dix-Neuvième Siècle': 'Under Lepère's guidance, the French revival of wood-engraving reached a rare technical perfection.'
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