BONNARD
Parallélemont
VERLAINE

Vollard, Paris, 1900
During a bus ride with Pierre Bonnard, one of the artists the highly successful art dealer Ambroise Vollard represented, the poet Paul Vérlaine came into sight. Vollard pointed to him and said that here was the man whose poetry you will illustrate. So goes the tale. The result was Parallélemont, a milestone in the history of the Modern Illustrated Book whose delicate rose red lithographs extending into the margins of the pages grace one of the most beautiful of all books. Vollard, its publisher, had made a fortune from selling the work of famous painters whom he represented and sometimes discovered. His passion for books led him to encourage his artists to illustrate books for which he chose the texts of some contemporary writers as well as many no longer living, often reaching far back to Greek times. A few of the combinations are listed here: Bonnard and Verlaine, Rouault and Baudelaire, Bernard and Homer, Maillol and Ronsard, Chagall and La Fontaine, Redon and Flaubert, Picasso and Balzac.

Parallélmont was the first book published by Vollard in an edition of 200 copies with a plain paper cover. It remains one of the outstanding examples of Modern Illustrated Books. Other books illustrated by Bonnard were Daphnis and Chloé by Longus, itself an important book, Dingo by Octave Mirbeau and, Saint Monique whose author was Vollard himself.


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BONNARD, ParallÚlemont, VERLAINE, Vollard, Paris, 1900