Jean Cassou led a tumultuous, politically involved life. He was a poet, an essayist, a novelist, an art historian and art critic, an editor of the magazines Le Mercure de France and Europe, and the founder/director of the Musée d'Art Moderne in Paris. He joined the resistance during World War II, and he wrote his now-famous 33 sonnets composés au secret (1944) while in captivity under the pseudonym of Jean Noir. After his release, he ended up in the Tarn province, where he met Jules Cavaillès, who was in hiding there.
Cassou has fond memories of that wartime encounter: he used it for the opening of his work Éloge de Cavaillès. In this contemplation of artist Jules Cavaillès, Cassou praises his original, dynamic style. Cavaillès, one of the artists of the painters’ group 'La réalité poétique', is famous for his passionate use of colour and for his fascination for nature. He painted mainly landscapes and still-lives. In Cassou's eulogy, words like nature and naturalness are recurring terms that characterise the artist and his work. Cassou's observations are further strengthened by Cavaillès' seven bright lithographs of the sea, meadows, birds, vases of flowers, and baskets of apples.
The Éloges series, which consists of dozens of volumes, was published by Manuel Bruker in the decades following World War II. All the publications in this series were provided with original engravings by the artist featured in that volume; they were printed in limited editions of 200 copies. Eulogies appeared to Jacques Villon, Kees van Dongen and Maurice Utrillo. The text of Éloge du Cavaillès was printed by the famous printer/engraver Daragnès, to whom one volume in the series was also dedicated. The lithographs were reproduced in the studio of the Mourlot brothers. Cassou and Cavaillès both provided the copy in the Koopman Collection with a handwritten dedication. The one by Cavaillès is made up of a still life of a vase and flowers that nearly fills an entire page.
|Description:||Éloge de Cavaillès / par Jean Cassou ; orné de lithogr. orig. [de Jules Cavaillès]. - Paris : Bruker, 1958. -  p. : ill. ; 35 cm. - (Éloges)|
|Printer:||Jean-Gabriel Daragnès (text)
Mourlot frères (lithographs)
|This copy:||Number 35 of 200 on Rives|
|Note:||With autograph dedication from Jean Cassou and Jules Cavaillès
With an original drawing by Jules Cavaillès
|Shelfnumber:||Koopm A 1|
- Pierre Georgel, Jean Cassou. Paris, Éditions Seghers, 1967
- Marcel Zahar, Jules Cavaillès. Genève, Cailler, 1961
Autograph dedication from Jean Cassou and Jules Cavaillès to Louis Koopman
Frontispiece: lithograph by Jules Cavaillès