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    Description

    Marie Laurencin. Manuscript Sketchbook and Autograph Letter Signed. One volume, bound in paper boards with cloth spine inserted into a red quarter leather binding sleeve, 41 pages (recto only), with 27 pages either cut out or with portions cut out, including eight sketches, using watercolor, pen, and pencil , n.p.; [circa 1917].
    Marie Laurencin's notebook, with watercolors and pen-and-ink sketches, appear to be stream-of-consciousness writings and dated diary entries, likely written in 1917 during her and her husband's exile in Spain.

    Entries in include a single-page meditation on the color blue; one dated February 25 which records a dream; one dated March 1 is a transcription of a letter received from someone named "Nicole."; and one for March 2 describes a disappointing visit to the zoo. Several mentions of not having dreams, or trying to dream and not succeeding.

    There is a poem entry for March 18, the English translation of which is "The Sedative / More than bored / Sad / More than sad / Unhappy / More than unhappy / Suffering / More than suffering / Abandoned / More than abandoned / Alone in the world / More than alone in the world / Exiled / More than exiled / Dead / More than dead / Forgotten."

    The entry for April 4 contains a meditation on her mother, with the following pages comprised of writings about death and her mother

    On the page headed "33 ans" Laurencin writes, "33 year old. I ask myself if I am the same person I was ten years ago. Ten years - 1907. The dates of the years don't tell me anything. I don't remember the year in which my mother died. In 1907, she was still alive. We were living together in that lovely apartment in Passy. I had friends. I had the love and friendship of a...who will be forever famous. I was young, without wrinkles, skinny like a boy, with long, beautiful hair. My mother spent her time combing it. I was envious of nothing and no one. ... I had books to read, and in the morning, waking just after 4 p.m., all of my thoughts were suffering, boredom, despair. The war had not yet started...."

    Four pages later she records a quote attributed at the bottom to "Dobrolioubof", which could refer to Russian writer Nikolai Dobrolioubov (in English transliteration: Nikolay Dobrolyubov): "The idea of death barely makes me sad, but what makes my feeble spirit feel dread is that death does not play me a nasty joke. I fear that over my cooling body no one will cry burning tears in clumsy overzealousness, that no one will bring flowers to place on my coffin. That without any self-serving reason, no mob of friends will walk over my burial ground, [and] I will never become an object of sympathy. That everything I wish for so vainly and with such ardor during my life will never come to smile upon me an enchanting smile when I am beneath the planks of my casket."

    [Enclosed in the sketchbook is] ALS. "Marie Laurencin." One page, with canceled postal cover, 6" x 8.25", [Paris?]; [February or March 1938]. A letter by Laurencin addressed to a Dr. Lucien Graux (1883-1956), whose book label is on inside front board of notebook, in which Laurencin thanks him for a paint set. Graux was a French writer, physician, editor and bibliophile with a large collection, and later, during WWII, a member of the Resistance. He died in Dachau concentration camp in 1944. His widow sold his library in a series of nine sales during the 1950s.

    Marie Laurencin (1883-1956) was a French painter and printmaker. She became an important figure in the Parisian avant-garde as a member of the Cubists associated with the Section d'Or. During World War I Laurencin left France for exile in Spain with her German-born husband, Baron Otto von Waëtjen, since through her marriage she had automatically lost her French citizenship. The couple subsequently lived together briefly in Düsseldorf. After they divorced in 1920, she returned to Paris, where she achieved financial success as an artist until the economic depression of the 1930s. During the 1930s, she worked as an art instructor at a private school. She lived in Paris until her death.

    A fascinating notebook that illuminates Laurencin's thinking and private thoughts.

    Condition: Except for the cut or partially cut pages, the sketchbook and letter are in very good condition.


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