Seventeen printed sheets
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Seventeen printed sheets, 10¾" x 14½", each featuring an individual fable of La Fontaine. The sheets themselves give no identifying trademark, but these posters are identical with individual pages in two volumes, Imagerie Artistique: 20 Fables de La Fontaine I and II, listed under "1890?" and estimated by Bodemann to have been printed in 1888-90. The artists include H. Vogel, Gaston Gélibert, Mangonot, Godefroy, Etienne-Maurice-Firmin Bouisset, (Anatole Paul?) Ray, Job (=Jacques Marie Gaston Onfroy de Breville), and Gustave Fraipont. (I am indebted to Bodemann for the deciphering and spelling of these.) A frequent engraver's mark is "Michelet sc". One is dated 1888. Listed individually at 80 and 100 Francs, the set cost 1200 Francs from a Buchinist along the Seine, August, '99.
Each page includes a title in caps at the top, with "Fable de la Fontaine" in smaller caps inside parentheses just below it. Somewhere on the page, the text of the fable appears. The colors are strong in many but may be misprinted somewhat in others (like "Le Rat et l'Huitre"). Among the strongest images are "Les Deux Coqs," "La Mort et le Bucheron," "La Cigale et la Fourmi," and "La Grenouille et le Boeuf." My highest prize goes to the complex composition of "Le Renard et les Raisins," complete with a poor man pointing to a palatial manor. "Conseil Tenu par les Rats" shows children protesting with placards (for example, "Vive les Vacances") outside the school. "Les Deux Chèvres" features two little girls plunging from a bridge into some water, with picnic basket, bottle, and shoe falling with them. One sheet is unfortunately cropped (by the publisher?) right through the title : "Les Oreilles du Lievre"). I found this set just after I had found a set of Pellerin large-format colored sheets of La Fontaine's fables.