In 1927, publisher Delpeuch published the Suite provinciale by Coquiot, with 92 pen drawings by Marc Chagall. It is a fairy tale about the inhabitants of a French village, including a secretive lady spying on the reader through her glasses as the book is opened. Chagall's black-and-white illustrations are expressive, and were committed to paper quite rapidly. The Suite provinciale appeared in three different editions: 25 copies printed on Japanese paper, 500 on Rives (including the book in the Koopman Collection), and 25 copies not intended for retail.
The painter Chagall grew up in Vitebsk (White Russia) as a member of a Jewish family. He moved to Paris at the age of 22, where he first came into contact with the work of progressive painters like Van Gogh, Monet and Manet. Chagall was receptive to the new expressive forms and fresh colours of modern painting, but he would never belong to any single movement. His own style is related to Cubism, Fauvism and Expressionism. Autobiographical elements are represented symbolically and poetically in his work.
In May 1922 Chagall wished to settle down permanently in Paris. But before he reached the French capital, he visited Berlin, where he lived and worked for six months. This is where he began his career as a graphic artist. Chagall had just written a book about his childhood: 'Ma vie'. A German gallery owner offered to publish it, on the condition that Chagall illustrate the text with 20 engravings. Chagall was to be grateful for this challenge for the rest of his life: 'When holding a lithographic stone or copper plate, it feels like I have a talisman in my hands. I feel I can put all my sorrow and joy into it, everything I have experienced in the course of my lifetime'.
When Chagall arrived in Paris, Gustave Coquiot was already familiar with Chagall's engravings and lithographs from the preceding months. Coquiot brought him into touch with the famous publisher and art dealer Ambroise Vollard, who asked him toillustrate a number of important texts. These were to become world-famous publications: Les Âmes mortes by Nicolai Gogol (1948), Les Fables by La Fontaine (1952) and the Bible (1957).
Suite provinciale is an unusual entry on the list of titles by critic Croquiot. It appeared a year after its author's death. Gustave Coquiot had befriended the likes of Picasso and Utrillo, and wrote a large number of books on artists such as Rodin, Bonnard and Cézanne. He also published a play in 1905 together with Jean Lorrain (Hôtel de l'Ouest…: chambre 22…). Suite provinciale is the result of a meeting between author and artist, just like other books illustrated by Chagall.
|Description:||Suite provinciale / Gustave Coquiot ; avec 92 dess. inédits de Marc Chagal. - Paris: Delpeuch, 1927. - 200 p. : ill. ; 26 cm|
|This copy:||Number 151 of 500 on Rives|
|Bibliography:||Bénézit 3-437 ; Carteret IV-123 ; Mahé I-583 ; Monod 3148|
|Shelf-mark:||Koopm A 62|
- 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
- Marc Chagall, Mijn leven. Utrecht, Erven J. Bijleveld, 2002
- Pierre Mornand, J.R. Thome, 'Marc Chagall', in: Vingt artistes du livre. Paris, Le Courrier Graphique, 1950
- Julien Cain, Chagall lithographe. Monte-Carlo, Sauret, 1960
- Marc Chagall: Work on paper: Selected masterpieces. New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1975
- Jacob Baal-Teshuva, Marc Chagall, 1887-1985. Köln, Taschen, 2000
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