NERVAL Gérard de.
Album amicorum, 1833-1865; in-8 oblong (12,7 x 20 cm), contemporary binding blue half-chagrin with corners, initials E. Be
D. in gilt letters on the upper cover, spine decorated with gilt motifs, gilt edges (label of the paper maker Millet, Passage du Saumon; binding a little rubbed and worn).
Album including poems by Nerval, Hugo and Gautier, as well as a nice drawing by Gautier.
The album, whose initials refer to a baroness D., who was to be called Eugénie (known as Jenny). Ill in the 1830s, she was in the entourage of Gérard de Nerval and Théophile Gautier. Could this be the mysterious Cydalise sung in their poems? Cydalise was the mistress of the painter Camille Rogier and then of Théophile Gautier; she appeared in their lives in 1833, and died prematurely of phthisis in March 1836. Nerval, who lived with Gautier at the Doyenné, knew her well and mentions her several times in La Bohême galante. Cydalise attended, in the picturesque setting of the immense apartment of the Deanery, the recitations of the poets of the Cenacle sharing their last verses. Nerval described "the Chinese eyes" of the Cydalise, "bent over like a weeping willow", speaking only in monosyllables, "thin, pale, with bistred eyes", according to Arsène Houssaye.
The album includes: *An autograph poem signed "Gérard" by Gérard de NERVAL, La Malade, 18 lines. It is a free translation of a poem by Ludwig Uhland, Das Ständchen.
* An autograph sonnet signed by Théophile GAUTIER, dated August 14, 1833: "Here is your album, say, poor sick person"... * An original drawing by Théophile GAUTIER, in graphite, signed and dated "oct. 1833", representing a young woman resting in an armchair, with the inscription: "His soul had broken his body. V.
H." (Gautier used this line from V. Hugo as the epigraph to his poem
A Soul in his Poems) This is most likely the portrait of Cydalise (of which only another by Camille Rogier is known).
* An autograph poem by Victor HUGO, signed "Victor H.", 5 lines: "Life is a flower, love is the honey"..., from the play Le Roi s'amuse (1832).
* Various autograph poems signed by Ernest FOUINET (The Source of a great river, January 1833), Justin CABASSOL (The Flea), Auguste
CHENNEVIÈRE ("After such brilliant attempts, Jenny, you want my muse"...), Justin COUROUX-DESPREZ (extract from the Ode to the Column).
* Copies of poems and various later texts by A. Daudet, A. Dumas, P. Dupont, A. Karr, Lamartine, A. Millaud, F. Mistral, Ch
Monselet, M. Monzin, A. de Musset, F Ponsard, * Several drawings and watercolors, including landscapes attributed to Jules Casteran and a scene in the antique signed by C. Desprez (1839)
Provenance : Sotheby's sale, Paris 16 December 2008 (n° 69).