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    Valentine Hugo. Autograph Manuscript Signed. Thirty-six pages (rectos only) in French, 8.5" x 10.75", [Paris; 1953]. Written tribute to her friend, and sometime lover, Raymond Radiguet, on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of his death. This affectionate remembrance of Radiguet was published in La Parisienne, no. 12, (December 1953). The text begins with a quote from Radiguet: "We have still only found one way of stopping the heart from beating, and that is death. The weather is good. Antigone will be dead before the sun goes down." The remembrance is full of anecdotes of specific moments between Hugo, Radiguet, Jean Cocteau, and others. It meanders from one anecdote to the next, sometimes out of chronological order. Hugo writes that Radiguet's last words were: "I am scared ... in two days I will be shot by firing squad of the soldiers of God." After Radiguet's death, Hugo and her husband got a letter from Jean Cocteau which said: "My dear Valentine. Pardon me. I am trying, for mom, to not die, that is all. I love you, my only joy has been to see you bear up so well [in her recovery from a narrow escape with death]. You and Jean were him. I embrace you. Jean." She cites many other letters they received following Radiguet's death. She says: "I only cite these fragments of letters to contribute to telling the truth about these days of pain, which have since been deformed by the tales of liars. Since my convalescence was very long, we did not return to Paris until the end of January 1924. On the death of our friend, we received so many letters... they talked about everything except the moment of his death. Of all the friends who came to see us I asked: 'Who was close to him when he died?' The responses were all the same. Raymond Radiguet died at night; he was alone at 5 o'clock in the morning on December 12, 1923. When his biographers have affirmed, since then, one after another, that Raymond Radiguet 'died without knowing it,' they are not telling the truth. I retort: what do you know about it, since he died alone in his room in the clinic at rue Piccini? I can affirm that in the first months of 1924 this was a sort of scandal that was only spoken of in hushed voices. No one was the witness of the death of the poor child. Did he regain consciousness for an instant, a few minutes, an hour, two hours maybe?" In her last paragraphs, she writes that Radiguet did not have the privilege and joy of being surrounded by loved ones at the time of his death and gazing upon his friends during his last moments: "He was born in fire and died in ice."
    Valentine Hugo (1887-1968), born Valentine Marie Augustine Gross, was a French artist and writer. She is best known for her work with the Russian ballet and with the French Surrealists. Hugo hosted salons with many artists, writers, and musicians in Paris, including avant-garde leaders such as Pablo Picasso. She would often sketch her visitors, foreshadowing her portraiture work of the Surrealist leaders later on.
    Raymond Radiguet (1903-1923) was a French novelist and poet whose two novels - Le Diable au corps [The Devil in the Flesh], published in 1923, and Le bal du Comte d'Orgel [Count d'Orgel's Ball], published posthumously in 1924 - were noted for their explicit themes, and unique style and tone. He died in Paris at the age of 20 from tuberculosis.
    Condition: The manuscript has some toning to edges, occasional thumb soiling, some creases; overall good.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2019
    4th Wednesday
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