Friday, October 19, 2012

A Bonet Lion Binding That Roars

by Stephen J. Gertz

This majestically leonine binding wrought by Paul Bonet [1889-1971] in 1969 for a copy of the 1937 Raoul Dufy-illustrated edition of Daudet's Les Aventures prodigieuses de Tartarin de Tarascon (Paris: Scripta et Picta) is being offered by Christie's-Paris in their Importants Livres Anciens, Livres d'Artistes et Manuscrits sale on Monday, October 29, 2012.

It is estimated to sell for $14,000 - $20.000 (€10,000 - €15,000).

Based in Paris, Bonet was one of the great bookbinders of the twentieth century.

"Paul Bonet does his designing in his apartment on the Rive Gauche and in 1938 had an atelier where workmen carried out his designs under his supervision. [He] evolved an entirely new style of book decoration - totally original, amazingly clever, and really 'modern' in spirit, with a mouvement radiant. His great swirling designs are so ingeniously drawn that, although they are carried out on a flat surface, they represent a third dimension purely through an illusion created by the drawing, and not by means of an alteration in the surface of the cover as was practiced by Creuzevault. The tooling on his bindings is faultless and brilliant. It has a machinelike precision with a quality that can only be achieved by 'striking' each tool separately by hand. Paul Bonet, in my opinion, is without a rival today" (Diehl, Edith. Bookbinding: Its Background and Technique [1946], p. 108).

When the king of beasts met the king of binders the result was a victory for both.

Images courtesy of Christie's, with our thanks.

Booktryst has 32 great posts on fine bookbinding in our archive. Enter "bindings" in our search box to access them all.

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