Gernaine de COSTER's Buffon, in a superb DE COSTER-DUMAS binding
[COMTE DE BUFFON, George Louis Marie Leclerc] Buffon.
Lettre-préface de Georges Duhamel, gravures de Germaine de Coster.
Paris: Chez l'artiste, 1951
Folio (17-1/4 x 11-1/2 in.; 438 x 292 mm). Title and text printed in red and
black on japon nacre, prefece by Georges Duhamel of l'Académie
française, 30 wood engravings by Germaine de Coster printed by hand
in Chinese ink from cherry woodblocks, signed by de Coster on the justification
page. Copy number 5, one of 5 copies (of the whole edition of 115) with the
first-state suite of the wood engravings on chine, a suite de
décomposition on chine of Le cheval, a first-state
planche inutilisée (not called for in the justification) on
chine of Le chat, and a signed original drawing on buff
paper of Le kakatões. Collates [7 ff.], 1 f. (drawing tipped
on recto under framing window), 109 pp., [1 p.], [4 ff.], 30 ff. (first-state
blocks, printed on recto only), [2 ff.], 6 ff. (suite de décomposition,
rectos only), [1 f.], 1 f. (planche inutilsée, recto), [3
Binding, stamped 1960 on rear dentelle executed by Hélène Dumas
after a maquette by de Coster, in beige box calf with brown elephant hide
forming a large sphere, inlaid salmon morocco, onlaid grey calf, blind, bronzed
and palladium arching fillets, top edges gilt, grey suede doublures, brown
suede endleaves. Morocco backed and tipped chemise and slipcase. Four or five
negligible scrapes on the slipcase, else fine throughout.
This book, commenced in 1944 and seven years in the making, was finally printed
"by hand, following the Japanese methods." De Coster, as she relates in the
inscription, involved herself in every aspect. The binding, executed in 1960,
is a splendid collaboration of de Coster and Dumas. See Guignard
and Blaizot, Germaine de Coster, Hélène Dumas. Relieures
1935-1980 (Paris, 1981).
Provenance: Mme I. R. Delmas (bookplate, lengthy inscription by de Coster
to M. and Mme. Delmas, dated 18 June 1965); Frederick R. Koch