Le chant du ruisseau

Maurice Toesca
1904 to 1998
Jules Cavaillès
1901 to 1977
Le Livre contemporain, Les Bibliophiles franco-suisses

Nature, realism and lust for life: these are three key terms for the painters’ group 'La réalité poétique' (a name that was invented in 1949). These artists' main concerns were love of nature, abhorrence for abstraction, and the attempt to capture happiness within a painting. Maurice Brianchon, Christian Caillard, Jules Cavaillès, Raymond Legueult, Roger Limouse, Roland Oudot, André Planson and Costia Térechkovitch strove not for a single common style, but attempted to show the magic of daily life, the poetry of reality. The sea, trees, plants, the sky and women were recurring subjects in their work. For these vivacious artists, light was the most important element.


Illustrating a book in which nature plays such a central role as in Le chant du ruisseau, or literally: 'the song of the creek', by Maurice Toesca, was indeed perfectly suited to Jules Cavaillès. His lively, colourful art shows the influence of fauvists like Bonnard and Matisse. Cavaillès found that every detail contributed to the harmony of the work of art as a whole - he did not leave a millimetre of the canvas unused. The colour lithographs that he made for Toesca's book testify to a joy of life and a fascination for nature, wholly in line with the 'réalité poétique'. Bright colours portray the creek, plants, the birds and the fish.


Le chant du ruisseau deals with angling and is also known under the title Rêveries d'un pêcheur solitaire ('Reveries of a lonesome fisherman'). This edition, illustrated by Cavaillès, was produced by two bibliophile associations: the famous French 'Livre contemporain' and the Swiss 'Bibliophiles franco-suisses' (part of Éditions Gonin, founded by Philippe Gonin). The text of Le chant du ruisseau was printed by Jean-Gabriel Daragnès, and the lithographs were printed by the renowned lithographic printing office of the Mourlot brothers.

The copy in the Koopman Collection was provided with a hand-written dedication from the illustrator to Louis Koopman. Cavaillès wrote that he hoped that this book would encourage Koopman to take up fishing. He added an original pen drawing to the dedication, with a fishing rod and a fish by the shore of a creek. There are no surviving photographs or testimonies that indicate that Louis Koopman actually ever did any fishing, so the bibliophile probably failed to act upon the illustrator's encouragement.

Bibliographical description

Description: Le chant du ruisseau / Maurice Toesca ; lithogr. orig. de Cavaillès. - [Paris] : Le Livre contemporain : Les Bibliophiles franco-suisses, 1961. - [108] p. : ill. ; 40 cm
Printer: Jean-Gabriel Daragnès (text)
Mourlot frères (lithographes)
Edition: 200 copies
This copy: Unnumbered copy on Rives
Type: Plantin italique
Note: With autograph dedication (with drawing) from the artist to Louis Koopman
Bibliography: Bénézit 3-378 ; Monod-10697
Shelfnumber: Koopm A 410


  • François Daulte, 'La féerie au quotidien: les peintres de la "Réalité poétique", in L’oeil, (1994) 461 (mai), p. 38-41
  • Marcel Zahar, Jules Cavaillès. Genève, Cailler, 1961

Frontispice by Jules Cavaillès
Frontispice by Jules Cavaillès

Frontispice by Jules Cavaillès

Page 56-57
Page 56-57

Page 56-57

Lithograph by Jules Cavaillès (p. [63])
Lithograph byJules Cavaillès (p. [63])

Lithograph byJules Cavaillès (p. [63])



Autograph dedication from Jules Cavaillès to Louis Koopman (p. [113])
Autograph dedication from Jules Cavaillès to Louis Koopman (p.[113])

Autograph dedication from Jules Cavaillès to Louis Koopman (p.[113])