The angel Heurtebise was not only a guardian angel, but also a kind of demon for artistic jack-of-all-trades Jean Cocteau. He showed up as a muse, but also as an angel of death and as the reincarnation of Cocteau's lover Raymond Radiguet, who had died prematurely. As legend has it, Cocteau was standing in an elevator when the angel spoke to him and divulged his name: it was the same as that of elevator manufacturer Heurtebise. In a haze that lasted seven days, Cocteau wrote the poem L'ange Heurtebise. Although the angel was supposed to be unknowable and invisible, surrealist photographer Man Ray was able to capture it in a photograph. The picture is a so-called 'Rayogramme', an image created by laying an object on photo paper and exposing it. The reproduction in this book is a heliogravure.
L'ange Heurtebise was published by Librairie Stock. This publisher had gone into serious debt at the beginning of the twentieth century, due in part to director Pierre-Victor Stock's gambling addiction. Jacques Boutelleau, who took over in 1909, resolved the situation. After World War I he took over the insolvent firm together with his business partner Jacques Boutelleau, and Librairie Stock, as the publisher was called from 1925 onwards, became a growing company. Its list of foreign titles did especially well, but Stock also published works by some established French authors.
Besides being a publisher, Jacques Boutelleau also wrote under the pseudonym Jacques Chardonne (1884-1968). Louis Koopman collected all of Chardonne's work- he was one of the authors he read and discussed with his fiancée Anny Antoine- and they met each other in Amsterdam in the 1930s and had a short correspondence, mostly in response to the personal dedications written by the author in Koopman's copies. Ultimately, Mrs. Chardonne would answer Koopman's letters, and in July 1968 she let him know that her husband had died. Koopman would also pass away a few months later.
|Description:||L'ange Heurtebise : poème / Jean Cocteau ; avec une photogr. de l'ange par Man Ray. - Paris : Stock, 1925. -  bl. : ill. ; 39 cm|
|This copy:||Number 62 of 250 on Dutch Van Gelder|
|Bibliography:||Bénézit 9-120 ; Mahé I-536; Monod 2889|
|Shelf-mark:||Koopm A 600|
- Claude Arnaud, Jean Cocteau. Paris, NRF, 2003
- Paul van Capelleveen, Sophie Ham, Jordy Joubij, Voices and visions. The Koopman Collection and the Art of the French Book. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, National Library of the Netherlands; Zwolle, Waanders, 2009
- Emmanuelle de l'Ecotais, Man Ray: La photographie a l'envers. Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, 1998
- Herbert L. Lottman, Man Ray's Montparnasse. New York, Abrams, 2001
- Histoire de l'édition française: Le livre concurrence 1900-1950. Paris, Promodis, 1986
Frontispiece by Man Ray
Letter from Jacques Chardonne to Louis Koopman (1936)