& Manuscripts

  & Manuscripts

The Books and Manuscripts Department cultivates an immense field, criss-crossing time, space and all fields of human knowledge.

Two to three annual auctions are held, ranging from Incunabula to contemporary editorial productions, medieval manuscripts to writings of our time and the oldest volumes to those of the twenty-first century.

For 14 years, thanks to its expertise in evaluating collections, Artcurial has been entrusted with several successfully dispersed manuscript and book collections: Jean-Marie Moulin library (2003), J.C.D library, an amateur from Normandy (2005), Emile Zola manuscripts (2005), Lucie and Louis Barnier library : imprimerie Union (2005), Francis Lamond Library: documentation & modernisme (2005), Pierre Spivakoff Collection: l’univers de Valentine Hugo (2006), Yves Lévy Library: philosophie politique et économie du XVIe au XVIIIe siècle (2006), Jacques Lacan : œuvres graphiques et manuscrits (2006), Claude Monet Archives (2006), Jan van der Marck Library (2007), Avant-garde : Géo Dupin-Paalen archives (2007), Mai 68 en mouvements : lettrismes, Cobra, situationnistes, Happening, Fluxus (2008), Henri-Michel Tranchimand Library (2008), Library Gérard Bounoure (2009), Dessins d’écrivains: Pierre and Franca Belfond collection (2012), Bibliothèque littéraire et poétique (2013), Library Fougères (2014), Jules Verne - Hetzel (2014), Liuba et Ernesto Wolf Collection (2014), Henry Bouillier Library (2014), Geneviève and Pierre Hebey Library (2016), Collection Alfred de Vigny (2016).

With remarkable results regularly obtained, our department is one of the European leaders in its specialty. A set of two watercolours and an ensemble of 11 preparatory illustrations of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry were sold for more € than 600 000, picking up the world record for an Antoine de Saint-Exupéry watercolour sold at auction for the 2th consecutive year …

Our renowned expertise, ranging from illuminated manuscripts, which are particularly sought after on an international level by both major public and private collectors, to masterpieces of French and foreign literature, whose original editions on large sheets of paper, either bound or enhanced by the best bookbinders, are extremely in demand today. This allows us to cater to Bibliophiles, either buyers or sellers, offering a service adapted to the international market.

The departments guiding spirit is perfectly summarised by a quote from the great bibliophile and Statesman Louis Barthou (1862-1934): "The one who worships old books chooses and safeguards the past. But the one who clings to the present, or the recent past, chooses and prepares the future. Both pleasures are worthwhile".


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