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Peisson, Edouard, Frédéric Boutet, Pierre Louys, and Charles-Theophile Feret.
Hans le marin [with] Un scandale au XVIIIe siècle [with] La femme et le pantin [with] Le manchot.
Inter Nos 1943-1945.
A COMPLETE SET–PERHAPS UNIQUE–OF THE FOUR BOOKS PUBLISHED BY “INTER NOS” IN PARIS DURING WORLD WAR TWO, THE FIRST TWO OF WHICH WERE ISSUED DURING THE OCCUPATION.
The first three are EXTREMELY RARE because of the tiny edition sizes (by the time the fourth was published, the Germans had surrendered, so a somewhat larger edition could be printed).
While many livres d’artiste were printed in France under the Occupation, they were subject to Nazi censorship, and thus limited themselves to uncontroversial subject-matter. “INTER NOS”, as the name implies (“among us”, in Latin), was the only organization (in fact a small group of friends) that published clandestine livres d’artiste, with texts and illustrations depicting graphic sex and sadistic violence.
(1) Edouard Peisson, “Hans le marin” (1943), with 22 origlnal etchings by Paul-Louis Guilbert. EDITION LIMITED TO 17 COPIES PRINTED ON FINE WOVE PAPER, OF WHICH THIS IS ONE OF ONLY FIVE “EXEMPLAIRES DE COLLABORATEURS” (“collaborators” in a positive sense, we must assume). THIS COPY WAS SPECIALLY PRINTED FOR EDOUARD PEISSON, THE AUTHOR. This copy includes a second suite of the 22 etchings in first (remarque) state, as well as a suite of the three “planches refusées”. One of the subversive remarques features a small portrait of a German officer complacently smoking a cigarette, with the etched text, “26 MARS 1943 / 1.005e jour / DE L’OCCUPATION_”. Folio. Loose as issued in original wraps, housed in a custom clamshell box. FINE AND BRIGHT.
(2) Frédéric Boutet, “Un scandale au XVIIIe siècle” (1943), with 20 original etchings by Guilbert. EDITION LIMITED TO 17 COPIES PRINTED ON FINE WOVE PAPER, OF WHICH THIS IS ONE OF FIVE COPIES WITH A REMARQUE SUITE OF THE ETCHINGS AND TWO SIGNED ORIGINAL DRAWINGS. This copy additionally has two etchings justified “épreuve unique”, a working proof of one of the etchings, two additional drawings, the “planche refusée”, two signed letters from Guilbert, and a signed original drawing opposite the half-title. This book and the following one have an extremely unusual feature: many of the etchings in the suites are actually other versions of the etchings in the book, rather than merely other states (in other words, they were not printed from the same plate). In some cases, the etchings used in the book are “decent” and the etchings in the suites are most certainly not. Folio. Loose as issued in original wraps. Board chemise and slipcase. FINE AND BRIGHT. ONE COPY IN WORLDCAT (BN).
(3) Pierre Louÿs, “La femme et le pantin” (1945: completed April 25, two weeks before VE Day), with 41 original etchings by Guilbert. EDITION LIMITED TO 30 COPIES PRINTED ON FINE BFK RIVES WOVE PAPER, OF WHICH THIS IS ONE OF 13 WITH THREE SUITES OF THE ETCHINGS AND TWO ORIGINAL DRAWINGS. This copy additionally has four drawings (in addition to the two announced in the justification); two additional proofs of etchings (including one signed and annotated “épreuve unique”); twelve pages of typographical proofs (including two with etchings); a proof of the title-page with an original drawing; and two additional proofs of the spine label. 4to. Loose as issued in original wraps. FINE AND BRIGHT, in the slightly worn original chemise and slipcase. NO COPIES IN WORLDCAT. EVEN THE BIBLIOTHEQUE NATIONALE DOESN’T HAVE THIS ONE.
(4) Charles-Théophile Féret, “Le manchot” (1945), with 21 original aquatints by Guilbert. Edition limited to 66 numbered copies beautifully printed on fine Arches wove paper, of which this is ONE OF TEN WITH AN ORIGINAL SIGNED GOUACHE PAINTING IN FULL COLOR. In this copy, the gouache is the preliminary design for the aquatint on p. 37. 4to. Loose as issued in original wraps, board chemise, and slipcase. A bit of light foxing, else FINE AND BRIGHT. Very rare.
COMPLETE SETS LIKE THIS ONE ARE OF THE GREATEST RARITY: EVEN THE INDIVIDUAL BOOKS ARE EXTREMELY RARE, AND I HAVE FOUND NO REFERENCE TO THE EXISTENCE OF ANY OTHER COMPLETE SET.