With an autograph letter signed by Reverdy

REVERDY (Pierre)

Les jockeys camouflés. Trois poèmes par Monsieur Pierre Reverdy. Agrémentés de cinq dessins inédits de Monsieur Henri Matisse.

Paris, La Belle Édition (François Bernouard), (1918).

Square 4to, original cream wrappers printed in blue and black. (48) pp, refined typography, 5 original drawings by Matisse reproduced in black. Complete.

First edition, scarce.

Edition of 344 numbered copies, 26 of which hors commerce. One of 300 copies on Arches laid paper numbered 18-318.

This edition has the title and drawings printed in black and the three texts printed in three different colours: green, orange and light blue. This unilateral choice by the publisher Bernouard was rejected by Reverdy, who also protested against the title page where he and Matisse were referred to as “Monsieur”, which he found grotesque. He demanded that the edition be destroyed, although some copies had already been distributed. A second edition, printed entirely in black and the only one approved by the authors, was printed by P. Birault the same year.

An unusual work, one of Matisse’s earliest book illustrations. “Although the illustrations are not originals, but reproductions of drawings, this publication is notable for its imaginative use of colour in the typography and for the only appearance of Matisse’s early drawing style as book illustration” (The Artist and the Book).

Mounted at the beginning of the volume is an autograph letter signed by Pierre Reverdy [to François Bernouard?]: “Voici, Monsieur, quelques poèmes. La dernière fois vous avez négligé de m’envoyer les épreuves ; puis-je compter sur vous cette fois-ci ? Et vous ne me faites même pas le service de votre revue !! Bien à vous, Pierre Reverdy » [= Here, Sir, are a few poems. Last time you neglected to send me the proofs; can I count on you this time? And you don’t even do me the service of your review! Yours sincerely, Pierre Reverdy].

Cover partially sunned in outline, tiny perforation to one plate, a pleasing copy.

Ref. Monod 9682 / The Artist and the Book, 195 / Barr, Matisse, p. 560