À la recherche du temps perdu

Marcel Proust

À la recherche du temps perdu

N.R.F., Paris 1919-27

Accession year 1998

13 vols., small 4to, 218 x 173 mm each

Collection Fondazione Francesco Federico Cerruti per l’Arte

Long-term loan Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino

Inv. no. CC.23.L.1919.A651

Provenance: Paul-Louis Weiller; Drouot-Richelieu, Paris, Trésors de la Bibliothèque du Commandant Paul-Louis Weiller, 30 November 1998 (lot 131, pp. 141-146).

Fig. 1. Letter addressed to Princess Bibesco, undated.

Blue Morocco binding dated 1951 and signed by Paul Bonet with “irradiant” and concentric decoration of gilded horseshoes and blue, red and brown mosaic dots that cover the boards and spines, differing on each volume. First edition of this complete series of À la recherche du temps perdu, with the exception of volume 1, Du côté de chez Swann, published for the first time by Bernard Grasset in 1913 and in the first edition by N.R.F. here. The work is printed on Lafuma-Navarre laid paper. Exemplar no. XXXV of the C planned for this print run dedicated “Aux Bibliophile de la Nouvelle Revue Française”. Eight autograph letters from Marcel Proust, numbering a total of 54 pages, are bound inside the volumes.

The magnificent binding by Paul Bonet (1889-1971), together with the eight autograph letters by the great French scholar, probably make this exemplar of Proust’s best-known masterpiece the finest ever to be produced.

The eight autograph letters are addressed to the following people: 1. Fernand Gregh, 6 June 1910, six pages in octavo format, sealed envelope. 2. Bernard Grasset, Proust’s first publisher, 18 July 1918, nine pages in octavo format. The letter concerns the matter of the author’s rights and the publication of Jeunes filles en fleurs by Gallimard. 3. Princess Bibesco, to whom Proust writes seven pages asking her to procure him an invitation to a ball thrown by Philippe de Chimay at Washington Palace. He does not want to ask André de Fouquières, but he really wants to attend the event (fig. 1). 4. Albert Nahmias, a youngbank clerk whom Proust had entrusted with various financial transactions and whom he hired to copy his documents and manuscripts, four pages. 5. Albert Nahmias, financial dispute that Proust concludes with “Pres du coeur Marcel”, four pages. 6. Binet-Valmer, unpublished letter, 24 July 1921. Proust wants his name cited in Comoedia and denies “d’avoir du génie”, eight pages. 7. Louis de Robert, unfinished letter on friendship four pages. 8. Princess Bibesco, April 1918, touching letter, written after the suicide of Emmanuel Bibesco, twelve pages.

[Roberto Cena]