WILLETTE, [Adolphe], illustrator. ~ Pauvre Pierrot. [Paris: Magnier, 1884].
Large 4to (330 × 240 mm), etched title and 40 plates, each signed in pencil by artist and editor. Early half morocco preserving black cloth covered wrappers printed in silver. A very good copy. From the books of the late Martin Stone (1946-2016).
First edition, one of 250 copies, this being one of 50 on vergé de Hollande with plates signed by artist and publisher. A rare collection, entirely printed in heliogravure, comprising text, image and graphic narrative. Willette’s Pauvre Pierrot is the archetypal tragic clown figure, dogged by sadness and misfortune and by the spectre of death itself. In retrospect Willette is a highly problematical figure: celebrated decorator of the Moulin Rouge and Le Chat noir (as well as of the favourite Left Bank booksellers’ café Le Palette d’or), popular illustrator in the Parisian Press, but also running as an anti-semitic candidate in the Paris legislative elections of 1889 under the slogan: ‘Les Juifs ne sont grands, que parce que nous sommes à genoux!’ Vicaire 1167 T7.