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Three Poems from Les Fleurs du Mal ~ Charles Baudelaire ~ Four Photogravures by Henri Cartier-Bresson

J’aime, ô pâle beauté, tes sourcils surbaissés,

      D’ou semblent couler des ténèbres;

Tes yeux, quoique très‑noirs, m’inspirent des pensers

     Qui ne sont pas du tout funèbres . .

            Charles Baudelaire  “ Les promesses d’ un visage”

I love, pale one, your lifted eyebrows bridging

      Twin darknesses of flowing depth.

But however deep they are, they carry me

      Another way than that of death  . . .                                                                     

When Baudelaire published the first edition of  Les Fleurs du mal in 1857, the subject matter and the style touched off a scandal. The resulting outcries from some critics and his defense by others led to Baudelaire’s trial for obscenity. He was ordered to pay a 300‑franc fine and exclude six poems from the book. (Even his mother thought the poems were blasphemous.) Today, we can appreciate how Baudelaire extended the subject range of poetry.

 

Inspired by Baudelaire’s images, Henri Cartier‑Bresson has chosen three poems from Les Fleurs du mal to illustrate with four photogravures.  Among those banned in 1857 was “Les Promesses d’un visage” (“What a Pair of Eyes Can Promise.”)  In the original French, with the English translation on facing pages.

 

  • One Volume, 13½” x I4½”
  • Four photogravures by Henri Cartier‑Bresson
  • Edition limited to three hundred numbered copies
  • Newsletter
  • Each book signed by Henri Cartier‑Bresson
  • Print Portfolios are also available

 

To produce the photogravures, each of Cartier‑Bresson’s negatives was transferred to a copper plate using gelatin-coated paper. This photogravure process is complex and painstaking, but can reveal details unseen in the negatives. Gravure plates were made and the prints editioned by Jon Goodman—all on hand‑made paper.  Bound in red linen and presented in a red linen covered and lined case.  1997. $ 3,150.

Frontispiece and Title Page

Frontispiece and Title Page

La Géante

La Géante

The Giantess

The Giantess

Photogravure

Photogravure

Les Promesses d'une visage

Les Promesses d’une visage

Photogravure

Photogravure

Beginning of Afterword by Jean Leymarie

Beginning of Afterword by Jean Leymarie

Colophon Page

Colophon Page

Newsletter

Newsletter

Book and Cover

Book and Cover