[Photographie] Mark GERSON
Photographie signée de Lawrence Durrell à une jeune française
1970, 21,9x16,2cm, une feuille.
Photograph signed by Lawrence Durrell to a young French lady
1970, 21.9 x 16.2 cm, one leaf
Original photograph of Lawrence Durrell signed and dated, taken by the photographer Mark Gerson, and bearing his stamp on the back: “Photograph by MARK GERSON, FIIP. ARPS. 24, Cavendish Ave., St. John's Wood, London NW8".
After several years spent in Greece, Egypt and Rhodes, the travelling writer Lawrence Durrell was forced to flee Cyprus following the popular uprisings that led to the island's independence form the British crown. When he arrived in France in 1956, he had only a shirt and a typewriter but was rich with success from his novel Bitter Lemons and he settled in the Languedoc village of Sommières. In his large house surrounded by trees, “maison Tartès,” he wrote the second part of his work, the monumental Avignon Quartet, he devoted himself to painting and hosted his illustrious friends, including the couple Henry Miller and Anaïs Nin, the violinist Yehudi Menuhin, the London publisher Alan G. Thomas, and his two daughters Penelope and Sappho.
Among the olive trees and under the Mediterranean sun, in the middle of the 1960s it is here that he meets the young and bubbly “Jany” (Janine Brun), a ravishingly beautiful thirty-something year old from Montpellier who worked in the Antiquities department of the Sorbonne in Paris. She was named “Buttons” in memory of their first meeting, where the young girl wore a dress covered in buttons. Henry Miller also fell under “Button's” charm, praising her beauty and eternal youth in exceptional letters that remain unpublished. The three friends spent memorable Parisian evenings together, of which we have the precious handwritten remains on a restaurant menu and through their epistolary exchanges. She took several trips, recommended by Durrell, in particular to England where she received a huge amount of correspondence from the writer as well as original signed works of art under his artist's pseudonym, Oscar Epfs.
Original photograph in black and white of Lawrence Durrell with the author's handwritten signature: "Buttons you are impossible 1970,” addressed to Janine Brun, his young French lover.
The writer is smiling in front of the camera of the photographer famous for writers' portraits, Mark Gerson, at a book signing in London for the release of Tunc, the first volume of his dystopian series entitled The Revolt of Aphrodite.
This photograph was addressed to the author's young lover, who, in Sommières as in Paris, brightened up his solitary days in the late 1960s and 1970s. Janine Brun, also named “Buttons” in the author's letters, was described by Durrell's biographer Ian McNiven: “She was almost thirty but she looked much younger, with a girl's small-breasted figure, as dark-haired as Claude Kiefer was blonde, and not languorous but tremendously energetic" (Lawrence Durrell: A Biography, page 591).
Their relationship lasted until the late 1970s, Jani/Buttons appearing occasionally in Durrell's work (an in particular in the poem “Vaumort”, Collected Poems: 1931-1974) and in the writer's famous correspondence with Henry Miller: “that little demon Buttons [...] turned up for a New Year TRINC and stayed the night with me finally, in my eternal little Room 13 at the Royal,” (letter from Durrell to Miller, 6 January 1979). She also received letters and postcards full of concern, intimate allusions and reading recommendations from Durrell and his great friend Henry Miller, as well as original works of art signed by Lawrence Durrell himself.
Réf : 66707