Le Bon Bock - Various 1886 to 1906 - Privately Printed by Glyptographie Silvestre [1886-91] and then by E. Bernard [1892-1906] , Paris An incredibly rare collection of nearly 300 original illustrated letterpress dinner invitations from Le Bon Bock society, whose soirees on the second Tuesday of each month in near Montmartre were frequented by Paris’ most flamboyant and original writers and artists of the La Belle Époque.

The artists competed to have their work used for the next invitation, and together with their work each invitation provides an account of the previous dinners activities, beginning with opening speeches, notices and announcements, and then other activities, which usually include poems, prose, texts, songs, instrumental pieces.

The invitations are dated from April 7th 1886 to October 5th 1906, with the first thirty or so addressed to Monsieur Régnier, one of the founders of the association. Individually rare, a collection of this size and association provides one of the most important associations of the Belle Époque in Paris.

Inspired by Edouard Manet’s painting
Le Bon Bock (The Good Pint), and the democratic, nationalistic ideals that it symbolised, Emile Bellot (the printmaker and model for Manet’s beer drinker) established the Bon Bock Society in 1875. Consisting mainly of artists, writers and performers, the society sought to re-define France’s national spirit by delving into the country’s cultural past. The inseparable ideals of freedom and humour within their community created opportunities for artistic experimentation; the Bon Bockers and their carefree attitude would go on to inspire generations of Montmartre natives for years to come.
  Invitations begin with the 128th dinner of April 7, 1886 to the 311th dinner of October 5, 1906. Individually tipped into the binding, and unfolded, original quarto folds show that these would have been folded for delivery. Many of the illustrations are tinted, some using red as well as black coloured text. The 130th invitation lists 138 people who attended the previous dinner of May 11, 1886, later invitations do not list previous attendees.

From 1879 the bon Bock was held at the Vendanges de Bourgogne, Rue de Jessaint, 14 [east of Montmartre]. The 144th invitation [13/3/1888], notes that due to expansion, the bon Bock which since the year 1879 was held at the Chapelle, has been moved to Batignolles [the next arrondissement to the west of Montmartre], and will now be held at the restaurant Vantier, 8, avenue de Clichy. This continued to be the location for the remainder of these invitations.

From the 131st [1st November 1886] to the 156th dinner [5th May 1889] the invitations are addressed to Monsieur Régnier, who was one of the founders of the association, after which they have been left blank [from the 204th dinner of 13th November 1894 onwards there was no longer ‘A Mousieur’ and a space for the invitees name on the invite].

Over 30 of the invitations are monotone and red, others using sepia print.
  In contemporary binding of half crimson crushed morocco over hand marbled boards, spine titled and dated in gilt, marbled endpapers   Condition: Very good, overall toning to invitations, only one or two with marginal liquid stains, some offsetting but generally sharp and clean, in near fine binding with chipping to marbled edges.   Ref: 105541   Price: HK$ 50,000