Paris: Maison Martinet, 1857. Item #04529
The Adventures of Gaining and Losing Weight
Twenty Highly Amusing Multi-Image Hand Colored Lithograph Plates by Cham
CHAM [Pseudonym of Charles Amédée de Noé]. L'Art d'Engraisser et de Maigrir a Volonté. [The art of gaining and losing weight with willpower]. Paris: Maison Martinet, .
First edition. Folio (13 1/16 x 9 3/4 inches; 332 x 248 mm.). Pictorial hand colored lithograph title-page and twenty hand colored lithograph plates with a total of seventy-nine images. Plates lithographed by Fernique.
Early twentieth century quarter brown cloth over marbled boards, spine lettered in gilt. A few marginal smudges, otherwise near fine.
A highly amusing album depicting the adventures of the very thin Mr. Lesec who wants to gain weight and the rather plump Mr. Legras who wants to lose weight… Both Mr. Lesec and Mr. Legras are getting married and there is much going on in their households. They leave jointly for Algeria and go lion hunting… this adventure unfortunately causes Mr. Legras to gain weight and Mr. Lesec to lose several kilos. The same thing happens during a subsequent adventure with a camel…. Unfortunately, the two friends leave Algeria for Italy, then for Turkey, Crimea, India, where they live multiple adventures that leave them in their respective physical states. They both decide to return to France, Mr Legras dies from being severely overweight - and the very depressed Mr Lesec just gets thinner and thinner and eventually also dies…
Somewhat scarce with OCLC locating just four colored copies in libraries and institutions worldwide: The Morgan Library & Museum (NY); University of Chicago (IL); Boston Public Library (MA); Victoria & Albert Museum (London, UK). There are also two other 'uncolored' copies: Kunstbiblio Staatliche Museen Zu Berlin (Germany) & National Library of Poland Biblioteka Naro (Poland).
CHAM, pseudonym of Charles Amédée de Noé (1818-1879). "It is to be regretted that space will not serve to represent the caricaturists and depictors of manners who followed in the wake of Daumier and Gavarni. Among the most attractive of the former is Amédée de Noé, known as Cham (that is, Ham, the son of Noah) of whom it was said that he had ‘an idea a day’ for Le charivari. A good proportion of his thousands of lithographs were gathered into albums. His contributions to the Album du siège , in which Daumier was his collaborator, are typical of his work” (Ray, The Art of the French Illustrated Book, pp. 155-156).