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BONFILS, Robert.

La Manière Française.

20 Images ou culs-de-lampe. Avec une préface par Lucien Descaves.

Paris, Libraire 'Lutetia', 1917 Stock Code: 140768
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First, and only edition, number 159 of 320 copies only. Superb suite of plates celebrating the French war effort in the early years of the First World War by the designer Robert Bonfils, one of the recognised masters of Art Deco. The text is provided by the Naturalist author Descaves, a follower of Huysmans whose anti-military novel Les Sous-Offs (1889) led to his being stripped of his rank during his military service. Descaves was editor of Aurore during the Dreyfus Affair. The second plate in the portfolio, "L'Union Sacrée", in which a civilian and priest deliver shells for a field gun, celebrates "the truce in which the political Left agreed not to oppose the war or call a strike" (Harris & Edelstein, p. 73). This plate is captioned, as are most, with a quotation from a contemporary source, in this case from Poincaré's declaration of war: "France will be defended heroically by all of her sons; nothing will break their Sacred Union before the enemy; today they are joined together as brothers in a common indignation against the aggressor, and in a common patriotic faith". A remarkably elaborate production in view of the date of publication, inevitably uncommon - OCLC locates just five copies: one at the BnF and four in the US.

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Folio. 20 loose leaves in original portfolio, paper-covered boards, pochoir-coloured image to the front board, similarly coloured pastedowns and flaps, tricolour ribbons.


20 sheets, 16 plates pochoir-coloured by Charpentier under the artist's direction, similar title page, 2 leaves of text with coloured decoration to each, contents and limitation leaf with pochoir head and tail-piece.


Minimal wear to spine ends and bottom tips, slight dust-soiling, else remarkably bright and well-preserved, internally fresh; a very good copy indeed.


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