Author of “Gigi” and “Chéri,” Writes a Letter of Recommendation for a Painter

Signed by Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Item: 21529
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COLETTE, SIDONIE-GABRIELLE. (1873-1954). French writer of such beloved novels as Gigi and Chéri. ALS. (“Colette”). 1p. 4to. Hotel Carlton, N.d. Written in French to a gentleman with translation.

“If you will give a few moments of attention to Pierre Mourgues, who brings you this note, you will have obliged, along with one of your friends, a painter of great talent. I am happy to thank you again for my husband and me, and to express to you all our sympathy…”


Colette made her name as a novelist when she was revealed to be the co-author, with her husband Henry Gauthier-Villars, of the Claudine series, published from 1900 to 1904 under the pseudonym “Willy.” In 1906, Colette left her husband and pursued a career as a performer. She flaunted her lesbian affairs and caused a near-riot when she kissed her partner Missy onstage during their act Rêve d’Égypte at the Moulin Rouge. The police were called in to subdue the outraged audience and subsequent performances of Rêve d’Égypte were banned. In 1910, in Brussels, she caused another scandal by appearing nearly nude with French mime Wague Georges in a performance called Flesh. That same year, Colette published The Vagabond, a novel whose main character is styled after Wague.

In 1912, Colette married the editor of Le Matin, Henri de Jouvenel (1876-1935), whom she divorced in 1924 after scandalizing Paris by engaging in a sexual relationship with her 16-year-old stepson, Bertrand de Jouvenel. Their liaison is thought to have been the inspiration for one of her most popular novels, Chéri, although the affair began after she had completed nearly half the work.

The Art Deco-influenced illustrations of French artist Pierre Mourgue (1890-1969) were prominently featured in La Gazette du Bon Ton and Vogue. He also illustrated the designs of haute couture greats Nina Ricci, Christian Dior and Marcel Rochas.

Folded into quarters with normal wear. In very good condition.

Author of “Gigi” and “Chéri,” Writes a Letter of Recommendation for a Painter

Signed by Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

$250 • item #21529

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