Rare Book Monthly

Articles - December - 2018 Issue

Dec. 14: La bibliothèque de Pierre Bergé in association with Sotheby's, Round 4


Later this month, Pierre Bergé & associés in association with Sotheby’s will be hosting another sale of La bibliothèque de Pierre Bergé. In the last three years, three sales of literature have already been conducted with varying focuses. The current sale is not limited by any specific subject or era, and therefore reflects the variety of the taste Bergé had in his collecting. Taking place December 14 at 3PM GMT+1 in Paris, 130 lots are on offer. The following is Sotheby’s introduction to the sale’s catalog:


While the lion's share naturally goes to literature, other lots reflect his interest in botany, philosophy and politics. There are several major illustrated books – a surprising taste for this disciple of Flaubert, who refused any illustrations for his novels – and books linked with the places he remembered, printed in La Rochelle and Aix-en-Provence. His friends Jean Cocteau, Jean Giono and Bernard Buffet rub shoulders with companions from his personal adventures, like L'Encyclopédie anarchiste by Sébastien Faure, whose widow gave it to the young man before he left for Paris.

Through its variety and open-mindedness, this sale provides a journey through the history of books, where official and alternative thinkers, gardeners and novelists, militants and poets all mingle together. Le Propriétaire des choses, an illustrated mediaeval encyclopaedia printed in Lyon in the 15th century, is seen alongside a copy (still in its original vellum) of the first edition of Montaigne's Essais, and the ultra-famous copy of Du côté de chez Swann, the first ever printed on Japan paper, given by Marcel Proust to Lucien Daudet. The great Chroniques de Franceby Monstrelet printed on vellum and illuminated in the period prior to the seminal book on modern botany by Leonhart Fuchs published in 1542 (of which the coloured copy here once belonged to a friend of Montaigne, Jacques-Auguste de Thou), or two famous examples on fine paper of works by Flaubert: Madame Bovary(1857), with a dedication to Lamartine, and Salammbô (1863), offered as a gift to Berlioz. And there is a collection of autograph letters from Édouard Manet to his friend and first champion, Émile Zola, the autograph manuscript of Jean Genet's Pompes funèbres and a copy of the Grand Meaulnes given by Alain-Fournier to Charles Péguy a few months before the two friends were killed at the front.

A faithful companion who was overshadowed, however, by creators like Bernard Buffet, Yves Saint Laurent and Madison Cox, here Pierre Bergé gives shape to his own collection: exactly sixty years after the Trapèze collection that established Yves Saint Laurent, he invites the reader to a show that promises to be truly memorable.


La bibliothèque de Pierre Bergé will take place at Hôtel Drouot in Paris on 14 December at 3PM local time. Viewing of the sale will be available on December 12 and 13. The catalog is viewable online here.


Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> <i>[Sutro Baths] / On the Shore of the Pacific Ocean,</i> designer unknown, 1896. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> Osvaldo Ballerio, <i>Biscottini e Amaretti Delser,</i> circa 1900. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> Maxfield Parrish, <i>Harper’s Weekly,</i> 1896. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Les Parfums de J. Daver Paris,</i> 1903. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> Jacob Lawrence, <i>Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture,</i> 1968. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> Charles Loupot, <i>Lion Noir, Cirage – Crème,</i> 1949. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> <i>Keep Calm and Carry On,</i> designer unknown, 1939. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> Walter L. Greene, <i>Adirondack Mountains / Lake Placid,</i> 1930. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 27:</b> Laura Brey, <i>Enlist / On Which Side of the Window Are You?</i> 1917. $1,500 to $2,000.

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