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Sat, May 4, 2024 11:00AM EDT
Lot 76

Louys "Les Chansons de Bilitis," Becat Illustrations (1943)

Estimate: $400 - $600

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$5,000 $250
$10,000 $500
$20,000 $1,000
$50,000 $2,500
$75,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000

Pierre Louys

Les Chansons de Bilitis

L'Edition d'Art H. Piazza (Paris), 1943

Illustrated by Paul-Emile Becat

8 1/4" x 6"

An exquisite copy of Louys' collection of sensual Sapphic poetry. Hand-numbered "VIII" to the colophon, one of 30 copies from the limited edition to be printed on japon paper. An original watercolor and graphite illustrated frontispiece (signed by Becat), engraved illustrations throughout with a bound-in suite of additional illustrations at the end of the text. Very finely bound by Louisette Magdinier (French, 1912-1996) in red morocco leather with a tooled pattern of gilt stars and dots, fitted with a red leather and star-print paper dust jacket, and housed in a star-print slipcase. Gilt top and fore edges, silk and marbled end papers.


Louys claimed the poems were found in the tomb of an Ancient Greek contemporary of Sappho, and that he merely translated the text. This history was a fabrication, and the pseudotranslation succeeded in deceiving many of Louys' contemporaries.


The front cover of the dust jacket has a paper flake at the bottom right corner. Some general wear to the slipcase. One of the last end papers (a marbled leaf adhered to a sheet of silk) is not well adhered, leaving the leaf rippled.

Overall Dimensions
Height: 8.25 in
Width: 6.00 in
Depth: 1.75 in

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