Rare manuscripts by 19th century French poets, artists to be auctioned

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Paris, Sep 26 (IANS) First-edition rare texts and drawings from a number of 19th century French literary and artistic geniuses, including a melancholic letter from poet Arthur Rimbaud essaying his last weeks, will be on sale at a Sotheby’s auction here on October 9.

The auction, themed around “The Library of R. & B. L.”, will have “first copies, autograph poems and rare drawings” from Arthur Rimbaud, Paul Verlaine, Stephane Mallarme, Edouard Manet, Paul Gauguin, Gustave Flaubert and Charles Baudelaire.

Along with Sotheby’s, Parisian auction house Binoche & Giquello will also be involved in the sale of the lots of these ephemera.

On sale would be a tragic testament by Rimbaud, in the form of a “moving letter” written to his sister in 1891, when he lost his leg to tumour.

“This crucial letter spells out the last act of the poet’s life, foreshadowing, with sinister precision, the final drama that led up to his death,” the auction houses said in a joint statement.

Rimbaud included three drawings in his letter: of his wooden leg, his two crutches and a model of his artificial leg, it added.

Poet Verlaine’s “Poeme Saturnien”, composed in 1885 and illustrated with pen drawings, will also be on sale. In it, Verlaine refers to a brawl in an inn in 1885, the auction houses said.

Another piece on sale will be an 1887 100-verse poem by Verlaine in which he relives his “ardent love affair” with his homosexual lover and poet Rimbaud.

The poem embodies the poet’s pain, who refuses to believe the rumour that the love of his life had died.

Capturing poet Gerard de Nerval’s tragic last moments, a fragment from the second volume of his work “Aurelia” will also be up for grabs, along with a painter’s book by Stephane Mallarme and a portrait by Gauguin.

–IANS

sj/mag/sed

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