MAETERLINCK, Maurice / LEPAPE, Georges. L’Oiseau bleu. Décors et costumes pour l’Oiseau Bleu. Paris, Le Livre, 1925 et 1927.
2 parts in 1 large volume 8vo [235 x 160 mm] of : (5) ll., X pp., (3) ll., 212 pp., (2) ll. and 63 plates out of pagination. Printed in blue and black. Bound in ivory box calf decorated on each cover with a large figurative composition in mosaic pattern in the shades of green, blue, turquoise blue, yellow and beige, figuring a scene with its curtain and a blue bird flying away behind the open curtain, flat spine decorated with the same kind of pattern, untrimmed, top edge gilt, printed wrappers and spine bound in. Binding signed Georges Baudin.
Rare set of these two works of Maeterlinck illustrated by Georges Lepape. Monod, II, 7111; Carteret, IV, 258.
Limited edition of 460 copies for the first volume (here n°326, one of the 400 copies on Arches vellum) and of 230 copies only for the second volume (here n°66, one of 200 copies on vellum).
L’Oiseau Bleu is a fabulous fantasy in six acts and twelve scenes by the great Belgium author Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949) which was performed for the first time in 1908, at the Moscow Art Theater. The author adapts the fantastic quest of two children, Tyltyl and Myltyl, who in a dream go seek the blue bird, accompanied by characters as surprising as the Light, Water, Bread, Fire, Sugar, Milk, the Cat and the Dog.
« This fantasy was made of all the fabulous traditional themes, gathered and updated with a free imagination, of allegories maybe a little too clear, but which express well the optimism that characterizes the second “manner” of Maurice Maeterlinck. This tale is an ideal outline for the realization of a fairy staging: that can explain the success it had, notably in the English-speaking countries. Set free from this pessimism that he inherited from symbolism, Maeterlinck expresses here his faith in life and his peacefulness towards death. » Dictionnaire des Œuvres, V, p. 21.
The splendid illustration is composed of 63 elegant watercolours by George Lepape, including 7 on double-page, which have been sumptuously reproduced with stencil by the illuminator master Jean Saude, with gold and silver highlights, and 14 watercolours in the text for the blue bird. They represent the sets of the play.
These sets and costumes were supposed to be used for the performances of l’Oiseau Bleu in 1923 at the Théâtre Mogador.
A precious copy gathering these two interesting sought-after publications, wonderfully contemporary bound in box with mosaic pattern by Georges Baudin. Georges Baudin is a painter, wood engraver, illustrator, decorator, and book binder born in Paris on June 26th, 1882. He exhibited at various annual fairs in Paris from 1913. He illustrated literary works, often with love character. He had an important activity in the art of bookbinding, notably in colour on parchment.