[GEFFROY, Gustave]. La Vie Artistique. Préface d'Edmond de Goncourt. Eight volumes (all published). xvi, 375; 396; xx, 395; xviii, 334; 408; 462; 368; 483 pp. With an original etched frontispiece to each volume (by Carrière, Rodin, Renoir, Raffaelli, Fantin-Latour, Pissarro, Vierge, and Willette). 12mo., 167 x 110 mm, bound contemporary silk over boards, original wrappers preserved. Paris: Dentu [and Floury], 1892-1903.
Only Edition, a beautiful unique and complete set of La Vie Artistique which was one of the most influential of the late nineteenth-century art periodicals. Volumes 1,5,6,7 and 8 are inscribed from geffroy to the noted poet, art critic and journalist Leon Roger.Miles. Geffroy (1855-1926) was one of the earliest supporters of the Impressionists. A founding member of the Academie Goncourt, he was, in the words of Edmond de Goncourt, "dispensateur d'une culture nouvelle." All of his writings about Impressionism are significant and remain among the most intelligently perceptive of his time. The third volume of the series is entitled Histoire de l'impressionisme and is considered the most comprehensive book about the movement that had appeared hitherto. It consists of an introductory section on the history of Impressionism, followed by individual chapters on artists. These early critical testaments on Impressionism constitute one of the major sources of the history of art of the period. According to the DBF, "De fait ses comtes rendus d'expositions et ses études d'artistes mettent en valeur avec une étonnante pénetration des talents aussi divers que ceux de Gustave Moreau, de Puvis de Chavannes, de Maurice Denis, de Rude..." Geffroy was not only an art critic but a radical journalist; his literary activities took many forms: he wrote extensively about current political and social injustices and published a number of Realist novels in the manner of Zola.
His interest in painting and especially in Impression was first inspired by a visit to Manet's studio in 1876; consequently he made contact with virtually every important Impressionist artist of the time, and engaged in on-going correspondance with most of them. Geffroy's monograph Claude Monet, sa vie, son temps, son oeuvre (1824) is still valuable. Geffroy ended his career as the director of the Gobelins tapestry factory.
The frontispieces contained herein represent original graphic works by Eugene Carriere (vol. 1), Auguste Rodin (vol. 2), Auguste Renoir (vol. 3; see Delteil no. 8 = "2e état"), J.-F. Raffaelli (vol. 4), Fantin-Latour (vol. 5), Camille Pissarro (vol. 6; see Delteil no. 126 = "7e état"), Daniel Vierge (vol. 7), and Willette (vol. 8). An exceptionally fine and uniform set, rare thus.
Joanne Culler Paradise, Gustave Geffroy and the Criticism of Painting (New York, 1985); see also her article "Gustave Geffroy" in The Grove Dictionary of Art Online (ed. L. Macy).
Item nr. 169228