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), Émile 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 & Ernesto Wolf Collection (2014), Henry Bouillier Library (2014), Geneviève & Pierre Hebey Library (2016), Alfred de Vigny Collection (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”.
After the success of the first two auction sessions dedicated to the Maurice Houdayer Library, the dispersal of the collection continued. The third session took place on Wednesday 4th May 2022 at Artcurial.
On 8 March, the Books & Manuscripts department presented a collection of letters, complete works, manuscripts, original editions and illustrated books dating from before and after 1800, including the prestigious Mr. X Collection of works illustrated by famous artists and books dedicated to photography.
After the success of the first auction session on 9th March with a total of €1.3m, this second part of the Maurice Houdayer Library sale was again a triumph, reaching €1.3m with 100% of the lots sold. The dispersal of the Maurice Houdayer collection will continue with a third sale in spring 2022.
On Tuesday 22nd September, Artcurial organised its special auction for the new school year: the dispersal of 22 original manuscripts by Georges Brassens from the Fred Mella estate. After a concert by the Hall de la Chanson choir performing some of the artist's titles, the auction led by Maître Hervé Poulain was a success with 100% of the lots sold. It totals 377 650 € / 441 850 $ fees included with nine pre-emptions by the National Library of France and the institutions of the city of Sète.
04 may 2022
25 may 2021
19 nov. 2018
09 mar. 2021
22 sep. 2020
19 nov. 2018
14 jun. 2017
17 nov. 2015
31 may 2016