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First edition

Jules LEVY Programme d'invitation au Bal des Incohérents, le 11 mars 1885

Jules LEVY

Programme d'invitation au Bal des Incohérents, le 11 mars 1885

A. Stelmans, Paris 11 mars 1885, 15,2x22cm, broché.


Invitation program to the Bal des Incohérents, 11 March 1885 

Rare first edition of the invitation to the very first “Bal des incohérents” given on 11 March 1885 “at 11.30pm in the former Liberal Arts premises, 49 Rue Vivienne.”
The laid paper invitation, in a perfectly preserved state, is printed in elegant red letters and illustrated with a magnificent dry-point engraving by Henry Somm (pseudonym of François Clément Sommier).
The “Arts incohérents” was born in Paris, under Jules Lévy's initiative, writer, actor and ex-Hydropath, who organises a series of seven Parisian exhibitions between 1882 and 1893, bringing together, among others, the painters Henri Pille, Antonio de La Gandara, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Caran d'Ache, alongside hydropathic writers and journalists. His exhibition venue in the Galerie Vivienne was, during his two short – and crazy – years of existence, also the scene of memorable costumed balls, which are referenced in Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time.
During this first ball, “The walls were adorned with signs sententiously announcing “Melancoly may not enter,” or even, “Please do not spit on the ceiling.” The ball ended with the proclamation of the Incoherents' order: a rosette of every color must never be worn, attributed to all guests. If we are to believe the descriptions and the contemporary engravings, the costumes were extravagant: artichoke men, an academic with a turkey's head, a missionary eaten by savages covered in bacon and watercress with a spit through the body, a Morris column, etc.” (Philippe Villemin).
The movement is famous for its luxurious publications, accompanied by high quality engraved reproductions, of which this ephemeral document is a rare testimony. 

 

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