Recueil de Grimaces, Including Les Sept péchés capitaux

Including The Seven Deadly Sins

BOILLY, Louis-Leopold. Recueil de Grimaces. Including Les Sept péchés capitaux. Paris: chez Delpech, 1824-1827.

First edition. Twenty-four hand-colored lithographed plates.

Bound c. 1839 by Lenègre with his ticket on the inside front cover, in full black goatskin with elaborately blindstamped Greek key frame enclosing a gilt panel of volutes, strapwork, curls, arabesques, and floral and foliate tools to both sides. Expertly rebacked to style, later black silk ties. An excellent copy.

OCLC records only one copy worldwide of Recueil de Grimaces, prints 1-8 w/title leaf, at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. According to OCLC, the BNF has the only other copy of Recueil... in the world, one with ninety-three prints (of a total ninety-six). Individual prints, however, are found in the collections of major institutions in the United States and Europe.

According to ABPC, the last copy of Recueil de Grimaces to come to auction - a complete set - was in 1949, and the seven "grimaces" issued as Les Sept péchés capitaux have never seen an auction room.

"Today, at least outside France, Boilly is best known for his lithographs. Although credited with having drawn the first lithograph in France in 1802, he did not return to the medium until 1822, when he more or less abandoned oil painting. The caricatural aspects of his lithographic work go back to the English caricaturists Cruikshank, Gillray, and Rowlandson and the earlier innovations of Hogarth. His most popular series of lithographs, Recueil de Grimaces, was published between 1823 and 1828...The vignetted subjects of these prints appear to be cut out and applied to a plain background, a format also used by Pigal during the Restoration. The series was so popular that Philipon's printer Aubert re-published it in 1837 under the new title Groupes physionomiques...

"The series Recueil de Grimaces, published over the course of five years, included ninety-six lithographs...Boilly's popularity during the Restoration was largely due to this series. The interest in expressive heads had precedent in France...During the late eighteenth century, physiognomy, the art of reading inner character by means of facial expressions, was popularized by engravings illustrating Lavater's well-known Essays on Physiognomy, which may well have influenced the format of Boilly's Recueil de Grimaces' "(Beatrice Farwell, The Charged Image: French Lithographic Caricature).

Although included within the original Recueil de Grimaces, plates 41-47 were issued separately in 1824 as Les Sept péchés (The Seven Deadly Sins). "Representations of the seven deadly sins were no novelty in the nineteenth century, being familiar from medieval decorative programs for churches in both painting and sculpture. Biolly followed an age-old tradition in these images" (ibid).

The son of a wood-carver, Louis-Léopold Boilly lived in Douai until he was seventeen years of age, when he went to Arras to receive instruction in trompe-l'oeil painting at Domenica Doncre before moving to Paris in 1785. Between 1789 and 1791 he executed eight small scenes on moralizing and amorous subjects for the Avignon collector Esprit-Claude-François Calvet (1728–1810), including The Visit (1789; Saint-Omer, Musée Hôtel Sandelin). He exhibited at the Salon between 1791 and 1824 and received a gold medal at the Salon in 1804. These paintings thoroughly observed and reflected all aspects of urban life, its costumes and its habits, between the revolutionary period and the Restoration. In 1823, Boilly produced a series of humorous lithographies entitled Grimaces. In 1833, at a time when his popularity was declining, he was admitted to the Légion d’honneur and the Institut de France. His three sons, Julien Léopold (1796-1874), Édouard (1799-1854) and Alphonse Léopold (1801-1867), were also painters.

The Plates:

9. L'Adroit Barbier
21. Ah! Le chie-en-lit, lit, lit.
23. Les Moustaches.
25. Le cinq sens.
34. Les époux assorties
39. L'automne.
40. L'Hiver
41. La Colere (Les Sept péchés capitaux).
42. La Luxure (Les Sept péchés capitaux).
43. La Paresse (Les Sept péchés capitaux).
44. La Gourmandise (Les Sept péchés capitaux)..
45. La Avarice (Les Sept péchés capitaux).
46. L'Envie (Les Sept péchés capitaux).
47. La Orgueil (Les Sept péchés capitaux).
48. Les Cancans.
49. Les Papillotes.
54. Les faux Coupets.
67. Le Tour de Barbe.
74. Le Petit Mendiant.
78. Le Portrait.
81. Les nez camards.
82. Les nez ronds.
83. Les Nez Longs.
84. Les Bossus.

The Art of Louis-Léopold Boilly, p. 122-123. Item #02381

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