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    [Picasso]. Honoré de Balzac. LE CHEF-D'OEUVRE INCONNU.
    Paris: Ambroise Vollard, 1931. Limited and extra-illustrated edition of the 1831 first edition. Paper covers folded over (covered by a glassine plastic wrapper). Number 182 of 240 copies printed on paper by Rives. Printed by Aimé Jourde and Louis Fort (etchings) in Paris, November 12, 1931. Includes 13 etchings, 67 wood engravings (cut by George Aubert after Picasso drawings), and an extra suite of 12 etchings by Picasso. Fine. Folio (10" x 13"), [i-vi], vii-xiv, [xv-xvii], A-P, [1-2], 3-92 [93-101] loose pages as issued.

    Le Chef-d'oeuvre inconnu (The Unknown Masterpiece), originally published in 1831, was one of Balzac's several philosophical novels dealing with mystical, pseudoscientific, and other exotic themes published during the 1830s. The work, a reflection on art, was originally issued as a short story in the newspaper L'Artiste with the title "Maître Frenhofer" (Master Frenhofer) in August 1831. It appeared again later in the same year under the title "Catherine Lescault, conte fantastique." It was subsequently published in Balzac's Études philosophiques in 1837 and was integrated into La Comédie humaine in 1846. In 1927, the publisher Ambroise Vollard asked Picasso to illustrate a new edition of Balzac's work. Picasso, who was fascinated by the text and identified with the main character Frenhofer, accepted and moved to the rue des Grands-Augustins in Paris where Balzac's novel was set.

    Honoré de Balzac (1799-18560), born Honoré Balssa, was a French literary artist who produced a vast number of novels and short stories collectively called La Comédie humaine (The Human Comedy) and contributed to the establishment of the traditional form of the novel.

    Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright who spent most of his adult life in France. Considered to be one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, he is known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, the co-invention of collage, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore

    A sumptuous edition of Balzac's Le Chef-d'oeuvre inconnu illustrated by one of the most eminent artists of the 20th century.

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