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The Exceedingly Rare Complete Monograph Series on Garnier's Opera

Le Nouvel Opera de Paris. Complete series in eight volumes, with all of Durandelle photographs.

Paris: Ducher & Cie for Librairie Générale de l'Architecture et des Travaux Publics, 1876–1881. Altogether 8 volumes, including 2 volumes of text, 2 volumes of printed plates, and 4 volumes of mounted photographs; I, II: Quartos; original half-calf; 532, 425 pp. III, IV: elephant folios; original red cloth boards with gilt titles; 76 plates, including many double plates, numbered 1-100 consecutively, twenty of them chromolithographs; V, VI, VII, VIII: elephant folios; original red cloth boards with gilt titles; each volume with separate title and list of plates, containing altogether 115 mounted original photographic prints ranging in size from 5" × 14" to 11" × 15" (mostly larger). Spines of vols. I and II rubbed and chipped; spines of vols. II-VIII recently rebacked; overall about very good, with occasional foxing and wear to plates.

The exceedingly rare complete series of this monumental work on the Palais Garnier, the remarkably opulent neo-Baroque Parisian opera house constructed from 1861 to 1875. Volumes one and two feature detailed text by the building's architect on its artistic sources, the theory behind the structure, and the design, construction, and decoration of the Théatre de l'Opera. Volumes three and four contain highly detailed and beautifully rendered plans, cross sections, elevations, and exterior and interior details of the grand building including paintings, mosaics, metalwork, stage mechanics, reception rooms, etc. Our complete series also includes the final four portfolios with 115 original photographic prints by Édouard Durandelle (1839-1917), which are missing in most sets: "Peintures Decoratives. Plafonds, Panneaux, Voutes, Tympans" (20 photographs), "Statues Decoratives" (35 photographs), "Sculpture Ornementale" (45 photographs), and "Bronzes. Candelabres, Lustres, Torcheres, Appliques, Lampadaires" (15 photographs).

Durandelle's photographs are considered a landmark of early documentary photography as applied to architecture. He accompanied the construction of the Opera over a period of five years, from 1864 to 1869, capturing a wealth of process details later obscured during the building's completion. The photographs are albumen prints from large glass negatives, measuring 38 × 28 cm, and printed on gold-toned paper. Durandella also documented numerous other building projects of the Third Republic, including Montmartre’s Sacre Coeur (1877-90), the Monte Carlo Theatre (1880), and the Eiffel Tower (1887-89). See also: Ulrich Keller, "Durandelle, the Paris Opera and the aesthetic of creativity" (Gazette des Beaux-Arts, January-February 1988, pp. 109-117).

Garnier's ambitious publishing venture proved to be extremely expensive; the individual parts were thus sold separately upon completion and evidently only a few complete sets were assembled.

Altogether a very good copy of this monumental work, which very rarely comes to market complete.

Book ID: 47655

Price: $40,000.00