For the Happy Few


Les belles fourrures. Édité par Félix Jungmann et Cie., Rue Montmartre à Paris.

(Paris, A. Tolmer & Cie., 1st September 1913).

Small 4to, publisher’s wrappers printed in gold, mounted on a large cardboard display board in yellow, black, and gold with stylised floral motifs, wild fur animals, and a languid female nude, in custom-made chemise and slipcase by Atelier Devauchelle Paris. (18) pp., beautifully illustrated throughout in pochoir colour, including 8 full-page plates, by Paulet Thèvenaz, who also designed the display board. Complete.

First and only edition.

Stunning trade catalogue for the French deluxe furrier Jungmann established in 1874 and one of Tolmer’s most sophisticated productions.

A protégé of Cocteau and something of a cult, the Swiss painter and dancer Paulet Thèvenaz (1891-1921) was born in Geneva and moved to Paris for his studies. In 1914, Cocteau introduced him to Igor Stravinsky, and Thèvenaz painted a portrait of Igor and his wife. Later that year, the artist also met with André Gide and Jacques Copeau and their circle of friends. Thèvenaz wrote about the relationships linking dance, music, sculpture, and painting, earning him the label of “rhythmician”. For a time, he was involved with the programme developed by Jacques Dalcroze, also Swiss, popularising rhythmic gymnastics. In 1917, he moved to New York, where, among other things, he taught at the Dalcroze school and executed portraits and murals for wealthy clients. He died young and suddenly of peritonitis.

Born amidst printing presses and stacks of paper, Alfred Tolmer (1876-1957) created his own company in 1911 to develop the burgeoning “advertising” sector to meet the needs of trade and industry. Above all, he wanted to be “the architect of the printed word”. He would soon achieve international notoriety through countless original brochures, posters, diaries, and cardboard boxes, all representative of “good taste and French luxury”. The Maison Tolmer invented a new graphic and book design language in the 1920s, working with young and talented illustrators such as Edy Legrand, Jack Roberts, Raymond Peynet, Fiodor Rojankovsky, Françoise Seignobosc, Raymond de Lavererie, Michel Bouchaud, and Serge Wischnevsky.

A fine copy of a fragile item.

Ref. Pages d’or de l’édition publicitaire, 12 / Not in Exposition Tolmer, Bibliothèque Forney, Paris, (1986).