Paris: Rene Kieffer, 1928. Hardcover. Large 4to (305 x 235 cm). Original full niger goatskin, elaborately decorated with swirling ornamental motifs, decorated paper pastedowns and endleaves, top edges gilt. Trifle sunning, front cover with a small bit of stress (5 mm) on lower joint. In lovely state. Very good. Item #2064
First edition thus. ONE OF 50 COPIES ON JAPON. First published in 1863, Baudelaire's contemporary biography and critical assessment of his friend remains indispensible. Baudelaire -- poet, provoker of public morals and art critic -- wrote: "The majority of the public have long since, indeed from his very first work, dubbed him leader of the modern school." Jonathan Jones, in his review of the "Constable to Delacroix" exhibition at the Tate, wrote that "Baudelaire worshipped the painter as a dark god: 'Delacroix, lake of blood, haunted by evil angels,' he called him. Delacroix didn't agree with everything Baudelaire wrote about him. He was baffled when the poet, who also translated Edgar Allan Poe's horror stories, compared his favourite painter to his favourite writer; after all, Delacroix was a successful, celebrated and highly self-disciplined artist, showered with state commissions and in his later years painting severe religious works in St Sulpice, whereas Poe was an alcoholic who married his child cousin and was found dying in the streets of Baltimore. Delacroix was not a bohemian. But his imagination was the source of all modern art's depravity. [...] Delacroix inspired poetry as he had been inspired by it; Baudelaire's writing on Delacroix is central to his aesthetics, and his understanding of Delacroix pervades his own verse; when he pictures his lover 'dans l'enfer de ton lit' (in the hell of your bed), you cannot help but think of [Delacroix's] Sardanapalus" (SOURCE: "A Taste of Hell" in: The Guardian, 23 January 2003).
¶ Our copy, one of just 50 on fine and thick Japon paper, is a joy to hold and behold, and is preserved in excellent condition. It is a remarkable fact that a total of zero copies of this on Japon appear in the Rare Book Hub database, which currently lists 7,166,374 records in the rare book transaction history. With bookplate of Gerard Bauer (1888-1967), novelist, essayist, literary critic, and member of the distinguished Academie Goncourt.