University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Pierre Legrain:

An Inventory of His Binding Design Albums in the Art Collection at the Harry Ransom Center



Creator: Legrain, Pierre, 1889-1929
Title: Pierre Legrain Binding Design Albums
Dates: 1918-1929
Abstract: These two albums contain Pierre Legrain’s original binding designs composed in various media, often accompanied by his handwritten instructions and photographs of the finished bookbindings.
Extent: 2 albums (164 items)
Language: French
Repository: The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center

Biographical Sketch

Pierre Émile Legrain was born October 2, 1889, at Levallois-Perret, Hauts-de-Seine, in the outskirts of Paris. He attended the Ecole des Arts Appliqués Germain Pilon.

In 1908 Legrain joined the studio of the designer Paul Iribe (1883-1935), with whom he collaborated in 1912 on the apartment of the celebrated fashion designer and art patron Jacques Doucet. In 1916 Doucet proposed that Legrain, who had no experience as a book binder, provide designs for bindings for Doucet’s collection of books and manuscripts. Legrain set up in Doucet’s dining room and between 1917 and 1919 designed around 370 bindings, most of which were executed by René Kieffer, but also by Canape, Noulhac, and Germaine Schroeder. After the completion of these bindings, Legrain continued to provide Doucet with designs for furniture and other objects.

Legrain exhibited his bindings at the Société des Artistes Décorateurs in 1919. In 1922 his work started to attract much attention when articles about his bindings appeared in magazines, subsequently increasing demand for his bindings. He was thus able to establish his own studio, and no longer had to send his designs out to the bookbinders’ establishments. He could also now choose among his clients and books, and he had commissions from the leading collectors of modern books.

Most of Legrain’s best work was created between 1925 and his death in 1929. He had developed a complete understanding of binding technique, and he came to prefer to work with bindings, although there was still great demand for his decorating work. His binding designs moved away from geometric styles to more complicated and often asymmetrical compositions; a wide range of materials were used in his bindings. The Legrain bindings exhibited at the Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes of 1925 sealed his reputation as the leading designer of French bindings.

Legrain died in Paris on July 17, 1929.


Scope and Contents

The Ransom Center Art Collection has two albums of Pierre Legrain’s original binding designs, 1918-1929. These layout designs are composed of various media: gouache, pencil, ink, correction white, and a few collage elements. Legrain’s handwritten instructions are on most of the designs. Thirty black and white photographs of finished bookbindings are mounted next to corresponding designs. The albums are bound in cloth with a Legrain design of overlapping circles, with "[Henri] Mercher" stamped on the front turn in.

The designs are numbered consecutively within the albums, but appear in the following Index sorted by author and title of the book. For those designs with corresponding bindings identified in Pierre Legrain, relieur (1965), the citation numbers are included.


Restrictions

Access:

Open for research. A minimum of twenty-four hours is required to pull art materials to the Reading Room.


Related Material

The Ransom Center’s Library has seventeen books in original bindings by Legrain; the designs for three of these books (Pierre Legrain, relieur numbers 4, 416, and 618) are included in the Art Collection’s Legrain volumes.


Administrative Information

Acquisition:

Purchase (R9470), 1982

Processed by:

Helen Young, 2006


Sources:

Corbin, Donna. "Legrain, Pierre(-Emile)."Grove Art Online. Oxford University Press, 2006, http://www.groveart.com/ (accessed 6 November 2006).

Ray, Gordon N. "The Art Deco Book in France."Studies in Bibliography 55 (2002): 20-131. Project Muse. John Hopkins University Press, http://muse.jhu.edu/demo/studies_in_bibliography/v055/55.1ray02.html (accessed 6 November 2006).


Album List

Album
1.1-86 1918-1929
Album
2.1-78 1919-1929



Index of Album Contents

Legrain’s book binding designs are numbered consecutively within the albums; the following Index is sorted by the author and title of the book. For those designs with corresponding bindings identified in Pierre Legrain, relieur (1965), the citation numbers are included in parentheses.

  • Anderson, Sherwood. L'Homme qui devint Femme, undated. (Citation number 4) -- Album 1.25
  • Balzac, Honoré de. Le Curé de Tours, 1923. (Citation number 31) -- Album 2.61
  • Balzac, Honoré. La Fille aux Yeux d'Or, 1923. (Citation number 34) -- Album 1.42
  • Bartlett, H.-C. Typographic Treasure in Europe, undated. (Citation number 49) -- Album 1.56-57
  • Baudelaire, Charles. Fleurs du Mal, 1900. (Citation number 52) -- Album 1.52
  • Baudelaire, Charles. Les Fleurs du Mal, undated. (Not listed) -- Album 2.43
  • Bazin, René. [Nine-volume set], undated. (Not listed) --Album 1.23
  • Bernard, Tristan. Tableau de la Boxe, 1922. (Citation number 79) -- Album 1.83
  • Bernard, Tristan. Tableau de la Boxe, 1922. (Citation number 84) -- Album 1.48
  • Bernard, Tristan. Tableau de la Boxe, 1922. (Citation number 85) -- Album 1.47
  • Bernard, Tristan. Tableau de la Boxe, 1922. (Not listed) -- Album 1.58, 2.76, 2.77, 2.78
  • Bernard, Tristan. Tableau de la Boxe, Suite des Gravures, 1922. (Not listed) -- Album 1.49
  • Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, Jacques-Henri. Paul et Virginie, undated. (Not listed) -- Album 2.22
  • Boylesve, René. Alcindor, 1920. (Citation number 97) -- Album 1.36
  • Boylesve, René. La Leçon d'Amour dans un Parc, 1925. (Citation number 100) -- Album 1.6
  • Boylesve, René. Sainte-Marie des Fleurs, undated. (Citation number 104) -- Album 2.2
  • Carco, Francis. Tableau de l'Amour Venal, 1924. (Not listed) -- Album 2.50
  • Chamisso, Aldebert de. L'Homme qui a Perdu son Ombre, 1913. (Citation number 136) -- Album 2.48
  • Chansons des Geishas, undated. (Citation number 138) -- Album 2.20
  • Chateaubriant, Alphonse de. Monsieur des Lourdines, 1921. (Citation number 142) -- Album 2.27
  • Claudel, Paul. Verlaine, undated. (Not listed) -- Album 1.28
  • Cocteau, Jean. Escales, 1920. (Citation number 179) -- Album 2.8
  • Cocteau, Jean. Plain Chant, 1922. (Citation number 181) -- Album 1.45
  • Colette. Le Voyage Égoïste, 1922. (Not listed) -- Album 2.3
  • Descartes, René. Discours de la Méthode, 1925. (Citation number 213) -- Album 1.46
  • Diogenes Laertius. Vies de Diogène et d'Aristippe, 1926. (Not listed) -- Album 2.70
  • Dorgelès, Roland. Le Cabaret de la Belle Femme, 1924. (Citation number 233) -- Album 2.38
  • Dorgelès, Roland. Le Cabaret de la Belle Femme, 1924. (Citation number 238) -- Album 1.4
  • Dorgelès, Roland. Les Croix de Bois, 1919. (Not listed) -- Album 1.84
  • Dorgelès, Roland. Les Croix de Bois, 1925. (Citation number 259) -- Album 2.9
  • Dorgelès, Roland. Les Croix de Bois, 1925. (Citation number 262) -- Album 1.5
  • Dorgelès, Roland. Les Croix de Bois, 1925. (Citation number 266) -- Album 2.67
  • Dorgelès, Roland. Les Croix de Bois, 1925. (Not listed) -- Album 2.55, 2.65
  • Duhamel, Georges. Confession de Minuit, 1920. (Citation number 276) -- Album 1.61
  • France, Anatole. Abeille, undated. (Citation number 317) -- Album 1.34, 2.59
  • France, Anatole. Les Contes de Jacques Tournebroche, 1924. (Citation number 320) -- Album 1.24
  • France, Anatole. Les Dieux ont Soif, 1925. (Citation number 324) -- Album 2.25
  • France, Anatole. Histoire Comique, undated. (Not listed) -- Album 2.13
  • France, Anatole. La Rotisserie de la Reine Pedauque, undated. (Not listed) -- Album 1.31
  • Galtier-Boissière, Jean. La Bonne Vie, 1925. (Citation number 347) -- Album 1.16-17
  • Gide, André. L'Immoraliste, undated. (Citation number 364) -- Album 1.32
  • Gide, André. Le Voyage d'Urien, 1893. (Citation number 393) -- Album 1.43
  • Gide, André. Le Voyage d'Urien, 1893. (Citation number 396) -- Album 2.19
  • Gide, André. Poesies d'André Walter, 1892. (Citation number 378) -- Album 1.21
  • Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von. Faust, 1924. (Citation number 415) -- Album 2.34
  • Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von. Faust, undated. (Not listed) -- Album 2.37
  • Gogol′, Nikolăi Vasil′evich. Journal d'un Fou, 1927. (Citation number 416) -- Album 1.8
  • Huysmans, Joris-Karl. A Rebours, 1903. (Citation number 464) -- Album 1.71
  • Jacob, Max. La Défense de Tartuffe, 1919. (Citation number 484) -- Album 2.63
  • Jammes, Francis. Une Vierge, 1919. (Citation number 511) -- Album 1.20
  • Kipling, Rudyard. La Plus Belle Histoire du Monde, 1920. (Not listed) -- Album 2.66
  • Lacordaire, Henri-Dominique. Vie de St. Dominique, 1919. (Citation number 530) -- Album 1.11
  • Lacordaire, Henri-Dominique. Vie de St. Dominique, 1919. (Not listed) -- Album 2.53
  • Larrouy, Maurice. L'Odyssée d'un Transport Torpille, undated. (Citation number 560) -- Album 1.7
  • Le Cantique des Cantiques, 1925. (Citation number 114) -- Album 2.51
  • Le Cantique des Cantiques, 1925. (Citation number 115) -- Album 2.52
  • Leconte de Lisle, Charles. Les Erinnyes, 1912. (Citation number 573) -- Album 1.40-41
  • Longus. Daphnis & Chloé, 1902. (Citation number 585) -- Album 1.14
  • Longus. Daphnis et Chloé, 1925. (Citation number 590) -- Album 2.62
  • Longus. Daphnis et Chloé, undated. (Not listed) -- Album 1.50
  • Loti, Pierre. Aphrodite, undated. (Citation number 595) -- Album 1.77
  • Louÿs, Pierre. Les Aventures du Roi Pausole, 1924. (Citation number 608) -- Album 1.13
  • Louÿs, Pierre. Les Chansons de Bilitis, 1922. (Citation number 610) -- Album 1.9
  • Louÿs, Pierre. Les Chansons de Bilitis, 1922. (Not listed) -- Album 1.10
  • Louÿs, Pierre. Les Chansons de Bilitis, undated. (Not listed) -- Album 1.67
  • Louÿs, Pierre. Quatorze Images, 1925. (Citation number 618) -- Album 2.11
  • Louÿs, Pierre. Quatorze Images, 1925. (Citation number 620) -- Album 2.23
  • Machiavelli, Niccolo. Le Prince, 1921. (Citation number 623) -- Album 2.44
  • MacOrlan, Pierre. Le Chant de l'Equipage, undated. (Not listed) -- Album 2.58
  • MacOrlan, Pierre. Marguerite de la Nuit, undated. (Citation number 628) -- Album 2.28
  • Maeterlinck, Maurice. La Vie des Abeilles, undated. (Citation number 650) -- Album 1.35
  • Malherbe, Henry. Le Jugement Dernier, 1920? (Not listed) -- Album 2.36
  • Mardrus, Jacques-Charles. Histoire Charmante l'Adolescente Sucre d'Amour, 1927. (Citation number 661?) -- Album 2.56
  • Mardrus, Jacques-Charles. La Reine de Saba, 1922. (Citation number 666) -- Album 1.60
  • Mardrus, Jacques-Charles. Sucre d’Amour, 1927. (Citation number 659) -- Album 1.53
  • Maurois, André. Les Silences du Colonel Bramble, 1926. (Citation number 678) -- Album 2.41
  • Maurois, André. Les Silences du Colonel Bramble, 1926. (Citation number 681) -- Album 1.66
  • Mirbeau, Octave. Dingo, 1913. (Citation number 694) -- Album 1.18
  • Mirbeau, Octave. Le Jardin des Supplices, 1902. (Citation number 697) -- Album 2.15
  • Mirbeau, Octave. Le Journal d'une Femme de Chambre, 1900. (Citation number 698) -- Album 2.17
  • Miró, Gabriel. Semaine Sainte, undated. (Citation number 701) -- Album 1.29
  • Morand, Paul. Rien que la Terre, 1926. (Citation number 720) -- Album 1.78
  • Montherlant, Henri de. Chant Funèbre pour les Morts de Verdun, undated. (Not listed) -- Album 2.18
  • Musset, Alfred de. On ne Badine pas avec l'Amour, undated. (Citation number 726) -- Album 2.12
  • Noailles, Anna, comtesse de. Les Climats, 1924. (Citation number 736) -- Album 2.69
  • Ovid. L'Art d'Aimer, undated. (Citation number 1081) -- Album 1.76
  • Perrault, Charles. Contes, 1922. (Citation number 758) -- Album 1.86
  • Pesquidoux, Joseph de. Travaux et Jeux Rustiques, 1925. (Citation number 762) -- Album 2.73
  • Rambosson, Ivanhoé. La Peinture Anglaise, undated. (Citation number 800) -- Album 1.38
  • Régnier, Henri de. La Canne de Jaspe, 1924. (Citation number 812) -- Album 1.12
  • Régnier, Henri de. La Canne de Jaspe, 1924. (Citation number 813) -- Album 1.59
  • Régnier, Henri de. Les Vacances d'un Jeune Homme Sage, 1903. (Citation number 853) -- Album 2.16
  • Renard, Jules. Histoires Naturelles, 1849. (Citation number 860) -- Album 1.3
  • Renard, Jules. Histoires Naturelles, 1899. (Citation number 859) -- Album 2.60
  • Rostand, Edmond. La Dernière Nuit de Don Juan, undated. (Citation number 883) -- Album 1.33
  • Rostand, Edmond. La Princesse Lointaine, 1920. (Citation number 885) -- Album 2.21
  • Samain, Albert Victor. Contes, 1926. (Citation number 904) -- Album 2.32
  • Samain, Albert Victor. Au Jardin de l'Infante, 1893. (Citation number 896) -- Album 2.24
  • Shakespeare, William. Romeo et Juliette, undated. (Citation number 907) -- Album 2.54
  • Suarès, André. Amour, 1916. (Citation number 916) -- Album 1.1-2
  • Suarès, André. Les Bourdons sont en Fleur, 1917. (Citation number 921) -- Album 1.22
  • Suarès, André. Le Livre d'Émeraude, 1914. (Citation number 939) -- Album 2.6
  • Suarès, André. Verlaine, manuscript. (Citation number 953) -- Album 2.71
  • Tharaud, Jérôme et Jean. La Maitresse Servante, 1912. (Citation number 973) -- Album 2.29
  • Toulet, Paul-Jean. Les Contres-Rimes, 1930[sic]. (Citation number 1003) -- Album 2.57
  • Toulet, Paul-Jean. Trois Impostures, undated. (Not listed) -- Album 1.79
  • Toussaint, Franz. Le Jardin des Caresses, 1914. (Citation number 1007) -- Album 2.26
  • Valéry, Paul. Charmes ou Poèmes, 1922. (Not listed) -- Album 2.64
  • Valéry, Paul. Eupalinos ou l'Architecte, 1923. (Citation number 1041) -- Album 2.46
  • Valéry, Paul. Eupalinos ou l'Architecte, 1923. (Citation number 1043) -- Album 1.68
  • Valéry, Paul. Eupalinos ou l'Architecte, 1923. (Not listed) -- Album 1.69
  • Valéry, Paul. Eupalinos ou l'Architecte, manuscript. (Citation number 1040) -- Album 2.68
  • Valéry, Paul. La Jeune Parque, 1925. (Citation number 1053) -- Album 2.42
  • Valéry, Paul. La Jeune Parque, 1925. (Citation number 1055) -- Album 2.40
  • Valéry, Paul. La Jeune Parque, 1927. (Citation number 1050) -- Album 1.64
  • Valéry, Paul. Lettre à un Ami, 1925. (Not listed) -- Album 1.62
  • Valéry, Paul. Rhumbs, undated. (Citation number 1074) -- Album 1.70
  • Valéry, Paul. Le Serpent, undated. (Citation number 1075) -- Album 1.65
  • Valéry, Paul. Situation de Baudelaire, undated. (Citation number 1076) -- Album 1.30
  • Valéry, Paul. Variété, 1924. (Citation number 1081) -- Album 1.74
  • Valéry, Paul. Variété, 1924. (Citation number 1082) -- Album 1.39
  • Vaudoyer, Jean-Louis. Rayons Croisés, 1921. (Citation number 1088) -- Album 1.19
  • Verhaeren, Émile. Les Villes Tentaculaires, 1919. (Citation number 1093) -- Album 2.74
  • Vigny, Alfred de. Daphné, undated. (Not listed) -- Album 1.27, 1.51
  • Virgil. Les Églogues, 1926. (Citation number 1105) -- Album 2.30
  • Voltaire. L'Ingénu, 1927. (Citation number 1210) -- Album 1.85
  • Voltaire. L'Ingénu, undated. (Not listed) -- Album 2.75
  • Wilde, Oscar. La Ballade de la Geôle de Reading, 1918. (Citation number 1214) -- Album 2.4
  • Wilde, Oscar. La Ballade de la Geôle de Reading, 1918. (Citation number 1217) -- Album 1.44
  • Wilde, Oscar. La Ballade de la Geôle de Reading, 1918. (Citation number 1223) -- Album 2.5
  • Wilde, Oscar. La Ballade de la Geôle de Reading, 1918. (Citation number 1223?) -- Album 2.35
  • Wilde, Oscar. La Ballade de la Geôle de Reading, 1918. (Not listed) -- Album 1.73
  • Wilde, Oscar. Poetical Works, 1908. (Citation number 1232) -- Album 1.37
  • Unidentified works -- Album 1.15, 1.26, 1.54, 1.55, 1.63, 1.72, 1.75, 1.80, 1.81, 1.82, 2.1, 2.10, 2.14, 2.31, 2.33, 2.39, 2.45, 2.47, 2.49, 2.7, 2.72