artistic conviviality with beer.
BELLOT, Emile. Album du bon Bock [cover title]. Paris, Bellot, 1884.
Oblong large 4to. Original red pebble-grained cloth, front cover titled and ornamented in gilt; 50 leaves lithographically printed from autographs and drawings; hinges strengthened, small repair to front cover, internally toned due to paper stock and with a few small marginal flaws, as usual; provenance: later stamp Docteur Henry Uzan, Paris on front fly-leaf.
This rare privately printed artistic album opens with the editor's lines 'Chèrs camerades - Le voilà donc notre 3me album!'. It is signed in the lithographic stone 'E. Bellot Président du Bon Bock'. 'This association of Le Bon Bock with democratic ideals inspired Emile Bellot, a printmaker and the model for Manet's corpulent beer drinker, to organize the Bon Bock Society in 1875. For almost fifty years this group hosted monthly dinners in and around Montmartre for its membership, which consisted mostly of artists, writers, and performers' (Web Gallery of Art, on Manet's 1873 portrait of Bellot, who was a neighbour of the painter, and endured over 60 sittings). This Rabelaisian, beer drinking dinner society was founded in 1875 and the first album - even rarer than this - had appeared the following year. Manet himself attended the inaugural dinner. The eponymous Montmartre restaurant, a haunt for avantgarde artists well into the 20th century opened its doors in 1879. This album gives a good textual and pictorial insight into the liberal and creative circles of the capital of the French Third Republic and the belle époque.