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Four auction houses team up to offer five new sales of items from the Aristophil Collections
The first part of the sale will be devoted to rare books and first editions from the 17th to the late 19th century.

PARIS.- Following the success of the first Aristophil Collections session of auctions by the OVA last June, Artcurial, Drouot, Aguttes and Ader Nordmann have teamed up again to offer five new sales. From 14 to 19 November, the session will cover the themes of Literature, Fine Arts and, for the first time, Science. One of the June auctions was dedicated to Fine Arts, but this new auction focuses on theatre, film, and French songs. Boris Vian, Jacques Prévert, Jacques Brel, Sacha Guitry, Édith Piaf, and Serge Gainsbourg, to name just a few, will be the stars. The Science auctions will focus on figures whose works are now familiar, such as René Descartes’s Discours de la méthode, Voltaire and the marquise Émilie du Châtelet’s mathematical and philosophical treatises, Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and works by Sigmund Freud, Pierre and Marie Curie, and Albert Einstein.


The first part of the sale will be devoted to rare books and first editions from the 17th to the late 19th century. These precious works include the beautiful Les Roses illustrated by Pierre-Joseph Redouté, Molière’s great classics L’Avare, Les Fourberies de Scapin, and L’École des Femmes, La Fontaine’s famous Fables and Perrault’s fairy tales. First editions with moving dedications —Honoré de Balzac to his sister or mother, George Sand to Musset and Flaubert to a reader —represent 19th century novelists.

Jean DE LA FONTAINE’s (1621-1695) famous Fables need no introduction. They are yet among the sale’s rare books. The four-volume Fables choisies dedicated to King Louis XV by Louis de Montenault, head of the Desaint & Saillant, Durand publishing company, include 275 insets by Jean-Baptiste OUDRY (1686-1755) printed from coloured copperplate engravings after washes by Oudry. In 1783, a Paris bookseller, Mademoiselle Néviance, took the initiative of having some unsold copies of the 1755-1757 edition coloured. The high price, 550 French Livres, dampened potential buyers’ enthusiasm. The estimate for this outstanding copy is €30,000-40,000.

A first edition of Leila, written by George SAND (1804-1876) in 1833, is estimated at €80,000-100,000. The author gave Alfred de Musset a precious copy at the beginning of their affair. Each volume’s title page bears an autograph dedication: A Monsieur mon gamin d’Alfred. George on the first, A Monsieur, Monsieur le Vicomte Alfred de Musset. Hommage respectueux de son dévoué serviteur, George Sand on the second.

Each dedication’s tone reflects the change in their relationship as well as opposite aspects of Musset’s personality. On the one hand, the 23-year-old gamin, French slang for “little boy”, still has an adolescent sensibility. “I love you like a child,” he once wrote to Sand. On the other hand, “Monsieur le Vicomte”, the Paris aristocrat and brilliant conversationalist, was able to seduce the iron-willed author.

There are two different kinds of nobles: those who are noble because of the merit and services they or their ancestors rendered to the State; and those who have purchased their nobility with money. The former are useful to the State because they support and honour it, whereas the latter are dependent on it, as the opening lines of this treatise demonstrate. Sébastien LE PRESTRE DE VAUBAN (1633-1707), Projet d’une dixme royale, 1707.

Far ahead of his time, Vauban proposed an income-based tax that would replace other taxes and be levied on all categories of the population. He secretly, privately and anonymously had 300 copies of his project printed. But King Louis XIV’s privy council definitively shelved the dîme royale on 14 February 1707; Vauban died of natural causes on the following 30 March. This auction offers one of the few surviving copies, complete with the author’s annotations. The estimate is €180,000-200,000.

CLASSIC AUTHORS - Expert: Thierry Bodin
Part two offers connoisseurs and collectors a glimpse into the work and thoughts of famous 17th to early 19th century writers: a great playwright —Racine— poets and storytellers —Goethe and La Fontaine— and prominent thinkers — Descartes, Kant, Voltaire, d’Alembert, Diderot, and Rousseau. Two works by Rousseau stand out: the manuscript of La Nouvelle Héloïse and his correspondence with Madame d’Épinay. Several letters from the notorious marquis de Sade and Casanova, as well as epistolary exchanges between women of letters such as Madame du Beffand, are also part of the sale.

Eighteen sewn notebooks written by Germaine Necker, baronne DE STAËL (1766-1817), between 1813 and 1817 contain the first draft of her final, unfinished work, Considérations sur la Révolution française. Madame de Staël began writing the manuscript in 1813 while still working on Dix années d’exil (estimate: €300,000-400 000). She started it on 24 September 1814 in Clichy, where she had settled after returning to France following the fall of Napoleon. At first intended as a tribute to her father, Necker, the work eventually became a study of the entire French Revolution. In addition to her father’s political role, she tried to understand and explain the events that shaped the Revolution, its various currents, its consequences, the Empire, Napoleon’s regime, etc. Her death left the work unfinished, although she had already corrected and revised a substantial part of it. Her son completed the revision and added the finishing touches for the posthumous edition: Considérations sur les principaux événemens de la Révolution française, ouvrage posthume de Mme la baronne de Staël, publié par M. le duc de Broglie et M. le baron de Staël (Paris, Delaunay, 1818).

The precious manuscript of the third part of Lettres de deux amans, habitans d’une petite ville aux pieds des Alpes [La Nouvelle Héloïse] by Jean-Jacques ROUSSEAU (1712-1778), complete with his 26 letters, belonged to the writer (estimate: €400,000-500,000). The abundantly revised manuscript has over 900 corrections, cross-outs, and changes. This masterpiece of an epistolary novel about the star-crossed lovers Julie d’Étange and de Saint-Preux met with tremendous success when it came out in 1761, going through approximately 100 editions, including counterfeits, by the end of the century.

Many letters from Rousseau to his friend and protector Madame d’Épinay, who hosted the philosopher at her château La Chevrette and housed him in the Hermitage near Montmorency until their falling out, will also be presented (€200,000-250,000).


An outstanding section focusing on modern illustrated books features first editions and works published between 1878 and 1987. Original editions include Joris-Karl Huysmans’ extremely rare Sac au dos, of which just 10 copies on China paper were printed for some of his friends (estimate: €8,000-10,000); 14 works by Huysmans dedicated to Lucien Descaves; Salvador Dalí’s copy of René Char’s Artine; and a copy of André Malraux’s La Condition humaine dedicated to Louis-Ferdinand Céline. The illustrated books published between 1878 and 1987 feature a copy of Guillaume Apollinaire’s Bestiaire ou cortège d’Orphée illustrated by Raoul Dufy and bound by Pierre-Lucien Martin as well as what must be the most precious copy of Lassaigne’s Le Plafond de l’opéra de Paris illustrated by Chagall: the one owned by André Malraux. Periodicals include a full set of the poetry magazine Argile. One copy was owned by its founder, Claude Esteban, and features six original drawings.

By Joris-Karl HUYSMANS (1848-1907), the sale also includes a remarkable edition of À Rebours with 220 colour engravings by Auguste LEPÈRE (18491918). It took him three years to illustrate the work with woodcuts, a forgotten technique that he revived. Pierre Legrain’s magnificent binding combines eggshell, mother-of-pearl, lacquer, and Morocco leather (estimate: €50,00060,000).

Le Plafond de l’opéra de Paris by Marc CHAGALL (1887-1985) and Jacques LASSAIGNE (1911-1983) chronicles all the steps involved in painting the ceiling of the Garnier opera. Chagall made an original full-page lithograph for the frontispiece especially for this work. No separate printings or signed proofs exist. This is certainly the most precious copy since it belonged to French culture minister André Malraux, who commissioned the fresco (estimate: €15,000-20,000).

Bestiaire ou cortège d’Orphée, a collection of poems about animals by Guillaume APOLLINAIRE (1880-1918), was the first book illustrated by Raoul DUFY (1877-1953). Pierre-Lucien Martin bound this original edition, which is dedicated to Élémir Bourges (estimate: €30,000-40 000).

Argile is a poetry magazine founded by poet Claude Esteban (1935-2006). Its contributors included some of the 20th century’s leading poets, such as René Char, Henri Michaux, Bernard Noël, Pierre Reverdy, Yves Bonnefoy, René Daumal, André du Bouchet, Philippe Jaccottet, and Pascal Quignard. The complete collection presented here includes 24 issues (estimate: €15,000-20,000).

19th AND 20th AUTHORS AND NOVELISTS - Expert: Thierry Bodin
The precious autograph manuscript of Gustave FLAUBERT’s (1821-1880) first literary work is a highlight of this sale. Written in 1838, Les mémoires d’un Fou was a kind of dry run for Éducation sentimentale (estimate: €300,000350,000) and marks the 17-year-old’s earliest steps in literature. In a novelistic form, it tells the story of his first sentimental experience: meeting, on the beach at Trouville, Mme Schlesinger, who forever marked his sensibility and inspired the character of Mme Arnoux in Éducation sentimentale. Flaubert gave his then-closest friend, Alfred Le Poittevin, this raw manuscript without bothering to tidy it up.

André GIDE’s (1869-1951) masterpiece Les Caves du Vatican is one of the 20th century’s greatest novels (estimate: €100,000-150,000). Part adventure story, part Voltairian philosophical tale, Les Caves du Vatican is marked by a certain whimsy and derision, hence the term sotie, a short satirical play common in 15th and 16th century France. Long owned by Catherine Gide, the author’s daughter, this is the only complete autograph manuscript. The novel came out in 1914 after pre-publication in four parts by La Nouvelle Revue française from January to April 1914 with the mention “Sotie par l’auteur de Paludes”.

Two autograph notebooks written by Victor HUHO (1802-1885) between 15 June and 31 December 1872 are veritable diaries of his private and social life, recording events, observations, and thoughts on his work, friends, family, and efforts to free imprisoned Communards (estimate: €40,000-50,000). They include notes on the outline for his novel Quatrevingt-treize, requests for roles and theatre receipts in Paris, events on Guernsey (poor children’s dinners, a concert, and a shipwreck), his joys and sorrows as a father and, especially, grandfather as well as, from September, in Spanish and Latin, references to a flirt, perhaps the prelude to his affair with Blanche Lanvin, whom he started calling “Alba” in his entries in November.


This magnificent sale also includes the performing arts: theatre, song, and film. It features manuscripts, corrected proofs, and writings about authors who marked the history of modern theatre with their memorable plays, from Victor Hugo to Raymond Queneau, Marcel Pagnol, Sacha Guitry and Jean Cocteau. The significant film component includes Jacques Prévert’s manuscript for Marcel Carné’s 1939 classic Quai des Brumes and the storyboard for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1951 Stage Fright. Working manuscripts for such classics as Jacques Brel’s Le Port d’Amsterdam and Jacques Prévert’s Les feuilles mortes, immortalised by Yves Montand in 1949, represent songs, said by Serge Gainsbourg to be somewhere between “pure poetry” and a “minor art”.

Jacques PRÉVERT’s (1900-1977) first draft of the 1937 screenplay for the legendary Quai des Brumes, one of the most famous films in the history of French cinema, is the highlight of this sale (estimate: €100,000-150,000). After Drôle de drame, Prévert and Marcel Carné turned their talents to adapting Pierre Mac Orlan’s 1927 novel Le Quai des brumes for their next film. Prévert switched the setting from Montmartre to Le Havre, where exterior shooting began on 2 January 1938 before continuing in the Joinville studios with Alexandre Trauner’s sets and Jean Gabin, Michèle Morgan, Michel Simon, and Pierre Brasseur in the leading roles. The film came out on 17 May 1938 and was a huge hit. The manuscript presented here has many corrections, cross-outs, deletions, etc. It is quite different from the typewritten script, in which many lines were cut and the dialogue was written. The waterfront scene where Jean (Jean Gabin) utters the famous line “Tu as de beaux yeux” to Nelly (Michèle Morgan) is much longer in the manuscript than in the film.

The storyboard for Alfred HITCHCOCK’s (1899-1980) Stage Fright has 130 pages blackened in 1949 (estimate: €50,000-60,000). They include 340 lead pencil drawings corresponding to the film’s shots. The storyboard perfectly illustrates Hitchcock’s method: each scene is precisely written and the film is entirely drawn shot by shot from the director’s chosen angle so that his storyboard exactly prefigures what will appear on screen. Legend has it that the director never looked through the camera’s viewfinder while filming because he always knew exactly what was going to appear on the screen. The film, starring Marlene Dietrich, was shot in London in 1950. The mood is very British. Jonathan Cooper (Richard Todd) is in love with an actress. Suspected of murdering his wife, he talks his friend Eve (Jane Wyman) into helping him prove his innocence. The unjustly persecuted innocent man is one of Hitchcock’s favourite themes.

Kafka and Welles (1915-1985) have much in common. Despite the writer’s disdain for cinema, his theatricality attracted Welles, a man of the stage. The 95 pages, including 91 featuring Orson WELLES’s (1915-1985) original drawings for The Trial, illustrate the creepy places where K. (Anthony Perkins), his lawyer (Orson Welles) and Leni (Romy Schneider) come to grips with their fate. When Welles decided to film The Trial, he was more concerned with his personal woes than with Kafka’s story. Dorénavant je m’intéresse plus aux abus de la police et de l’état qu’à ceux de l’argent parce qu’aujourd’hui l’état est plus puissant que l’argent. Je cherche donc quelque moyen de dire ça. The ultimate auteur film, The Trial allowed Welles to design futuristic sets and arrange space as he saw fit.

En avant la zizique par ici les gros sous is a funny, caustic look by Boris VIAN (1920-1959) at song-writing. The autograph and typewritten manuscript from 1958 lampoons abuses, deviances, and various forms of pressure as well as indicates the recipe for success. He takes aim at all the players — performers, accompanists, musicians, the public, critics — and the publisher who “thinks himself qualified to judge the work of a productive organ, the brain, but must demonstrate he has one first.” Vian campaigned for good, genuine chanson (estimate: €30,000– 40,000).

Jacques BREL’s (1929-1978) autograph notebook contains the famous song Amsterdam (estimate: €40,000-50,000). When Brel wrote it, he imagined a sea shanty resembling a Brueghel painting with a classic accordion playing in the background. In his notebook, Brel started out by writing this verse: “Dans le port d’Amsterdam / ya des marins qui boivent / qui boivent et qui reboivent / à [la santé des dames] et qui boivent encore”. He had not planned to write two verses, but the final version eventually had four. The song was performed on stage for the first time in 1964. Brel enjoyed introducing his songs to the public a few days after finishing them. The opening number at a concert in Versailles, Amsterdam received a chilly reception from the audience. At the Olympia, Brel preferred singing it in third place. The first verse won over the audience. By the time he finished singing it, the crowd was cheering.

In 1967, Serge GAINSBOURG (1928-1991) was in a romantic relationship with Brigitte Bardot, who asked him to compose the most beautiful love song ever written. In one night, he wrote Je t’aime moi non plus and Bonnie and Clyde. Recorded in 1967, the first time the song was played on the radio it drew the ire of Gunter Sachs, a German businessman and Bardot’s husband. It immediately vanished from the airwaves.

In 1968, Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin fell in love on the set of Pierre Grimblat’s film Slogan. At first, Birkin refused to perform the song about a love affair gone sour, but she relented after seeing that many singers and actresses were interested in singing it with Gainsbourg. They recorded the song in London, including it on the 1969 album Jane Birkin-Serge Gainsbourg.

It was a hit with the public but met with a much cooler reception from the media and cultural officials. L’Express dubbed the song a “duet in grumble minor” and French radio boycotted it. Although it was the first French song that made it to the top of the charts in England, the BBC would only broadcast the instrumental version under the title Love at First Sight by the (imaginary) group “Sounds Nice”. L’Osservatore Romano deemed the song “obscene”, effectively banning it from the airwaves in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Sweden, and the Netherlands.

It was Gainsbourg’s greatest hit. Jane Birkin-Serge Gainsbourg is considered his first “provocative” album. He also composed 69 année érotique and remained a provocateur to the end of his days. The manuscript of this legendary song is estimated at €15,000-20,000.


Galileo Galilei, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie... These legendary scientists will be highlighted during the 13th auction hosted in conjunction with the dispersion of the Aristophil Collections. This first thematic Science auction will present a selection of scientific writings from the Aristophil collections. The sale, orchestrated by Artcurial will be led under the gavel of Francis Briest. These precious manuscripts are as remarkable as they are exquisite, not only for the discoveries they hold but for the important part they played in the history of humanity. Galileo observations, research conducted by Emilie du Châtelet or Marie Curie, this auction is a celebration of scientific discoveries of all magnitudes throughout our history, through a multitude of disciplines.

The scientists at the origin of these writings are known to have devoted their entire life to research, such as Albert Einstein. An impressive autographed manuscript signed by one of the greatest scholars of history will be presented. Unpublished as of yet, this text dated 1941-45, discusses the «Theory of Everything» on which Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955) worked his entire life, without ever obtaining proof. These pages are one of the few testimonies of this yet unfinished research still in private hands … (estimate: €50,000 - 70,000).

Other important writings by Albert Einstein will also be included in this auction, including pages of calculations, diagrams and handwritten letters.

Also extremely sought after, a copy of Sidereus nuncius by Galileo Galilei, printed in 1610 (estimate: €18,000 - 25,000). This is the second edition of the first book based on Galileo’s observations taken through his astronomical telescope made earlier that same year. The illustrations of this edition representing the Milky Way on a black background are striking.

Even rarer, the first French language geometry manual published in 1511 by Charles de Bovelles (1478 - 1567), with the title Geometry en francoys : a copy of this edition will be presented in this auction, when only three others are known to exist in French and foreign public collections (estimate €30,000 - 50,000).

A module of the auction will be devoted to philosophy, including a copy of the original edition of Discours de la méthode. This René Descartes masterpiece (1596-1650), containing the famous phrase «I think, therefore I am», is the pivotal element of Cartesian thinking whose philosophical scope was immense. This 1637 edition carries an estimate of €20,000 - 30,000. A manuscript by Isaac Newton (1643- 1727), mathematician, physicist and philosopher will also be part of this section of the sale. This much sought-after text is one of the few writings actually penned by Newton himself, still in circulation today. In it, the philosopher virulently criticises the Catholic Church (estimate €15,000 - 25,000).

Echoing Isaac Newton’s work, in 1736-1738 Voltaire writes «De la nouvelle philosophie de Newton. [Followed by:] Essai sur la nature du feu et sur sa propagation » In these manuscripts, the illustrious 18th century philosopher develops upon Newton’s ideas. The book’s dedication epistle, contains a fervent tribute to the marquise du Châtelet. Indeed, it was the marquise who instigated Voltaire’s research on Newton’s work. These precious writings (estimate 25,000 - 35,000) contain autographed corrections and annotations by Voltaire and the marquise du Châtelet.

Emilie du Châtelet’s personal comments (1706-1749) on Newton’s research will also be included in the auction. The work manuscripts for his « Exposition abrégée du système du monde selon les principes de Monsieur Newton » (circa1745-1749), extensively scratched out, corrected and annotated by his own hand, constitute an exceptional set. With an estimate of €150,000 - 250,000, they were used in the posthumous publication of Voltaire’s work.

Other valuable book in this auction, the original edition of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1809-1882), published in 1859. This founding work of the theory of evolution is one of the most influential scientific book ever published (estimate €15,000 - 25,000).

Another revolutionary volume, an exceptional typed correction of the second part of Marie Curie’s treaty Radioactivité (1867-1934) will be the culminating point of the auction (estimate €180,000 - 250,000). Published posthumously by Frédéric Joliot and Irène Joliot- Curie, this book, sometimes considered as Marie Curie’s scientific testament, summarizes the current state of knowledge on radioactivity.

In closing, a pioneering volume on electricity: In 1748, LouisÉlisabeth de la Vergne, comte de Tressan (1705-1783) presents before the Royal Academy of Science one of the first treaties on electricity in the French language. An autograph manuscript of this writing, entitled « Essay sur le fluide subtil conu sous le nom d’électricité » will be presented with an estimate of €20,000 - 30,000.


The second sale devoted to science rounds out the first one. It includes manuscripts and correspondence by mathematicians and physicists (the marquis de Condorcet, André Ampère, Alessandro Volta, Albert Einstein), an architect (Gustave Eiffel), naturalists (the comte de Buffon, Alexander Von Humboldt), chemists and physicians (RenéThéophile Laennec, Louis Pasteur, Pierre Curie), neurologists, psychiatrists and behavioural psychologists (JeanBaptiste Charcot, Carl Gustav Jung, Sigmund Freud, Ivan Pavlov) and inventors (Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, Auguste Lumière).

In the first article of his autograph manuscript Théorie du calcul élémentaire. Introduction, André AMPÈRE (1755-1836) writes, “Calculus, considered from the most general point of view, is all the operations that can be performed with numbers.” Ampère wrote this work for lay readers but it never came out during his lifetime; his son had it published posthumously in Nouvelles Annales de mathématiques. Abundantly corrected by the author, the manuscript is estimated at €15,000-20,000.

Twenty-eight letters from Pierre CURIE (1859-1906) to chemist Eugène DEMARÇAY (1852-1903) offer a step-by-step account of his and Marie Curie’s experiments leading to the discovery of radium and the exploration of its properties (estimate: €40,000-50,000). The physicists asked Eugène Demarçay, a chemist specialising in spectroscopy, to help them confirm that they had discovered radium. The letters contain many thanks for his crucial assistance as well as the missive in which Pierre Curie announces the discovery of the new element: “Mme Curie and I have found a new, highly radioactive substance different from the one you agreed to examine. This time, the substance possesses analytical properties that are similar to those of Barium from which we have not yet been able to separate it. In addition to Barium rays, rays in the violet can be seen in the spectrum. It is our fervent wish to submit this spectrum to your examination.”

This part of the sale includes correspondence by Albert EINSTEIN (1879-1955) in which he discusses his scientific research, family life, and moral convictions. In a letter to his first wife Mileva, Einstein takes great pains to dissuade his eldest son, Albert, from entering into an “ill-advised” marriage, and writes that he would like his youngest son, Eduard, to join him for the Easter holidays (estimate: €3,0004,000). Several letters to Ernest Gabor Strauss (1922-1983), Einstein’s collaborator, feature equations involving the theory of general relativity (estimates from €4,000-6,000 and €7,000-8,000). Lastly, the draft of a speech on world peace and food shortages written in 1945 or 1946 will be presented (estimate: €10,000-12,000).

The sale also includes a beautiful group of youthful letters from the inventor of the stethoscope, René-Théophile LAENNEC (1781-1826), to his father in which he describes his studies (estimate: €8,000-12,000, ill. 1); a telegram from Louis PASTEUR (1822-1895) to the veterinarian who supplied him with rabid dogs for his research (estimate: €4,0005,000, ill. 2); manuscripts, reading notes, and measured drawings of hieroglyphics by Egyptologist Auguste BAILLET (1834-1923) (estimate: €3,000-5,000, ill. 3); and, by Geoffroy Étienne SAINT-HILAIRE (1772-1844), an autograph manuscript including notes about a human skeleton removed from an Egyptian mummy (estimate: €300-400, ill. 4).

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