Essays in Memory of Adrienne Fontainas Published in New York

10/5/13 - Publication - We all remember that The Art Tribune published an obituary for Adrienne Fontainas (1929-2010) following her death in December 2010, detailing the achievements of this eminent researcher whose knowledge encompassed several fields (books, art, music) and was highly respected by museums, collectors as well as biobliophies which she represented as vice-president of their International Association. The Peter Lang editing house is now publishing an excellent volume of collected essays in the Belgian Francophone Library directed by Donal Flanell Friedman, under the supervision of Jane Block and Claude Sorgeloos : Adrienne Fontainas, Passionate Pilgrim for the Arts.

Behind this beautiful hardbook cover decorated with the elegiac Saint Cecilia by Armand Point, the work offers a fully comprehensive bibliography of Adrienne Fontainas’ publications as well as accounts of her life, training and methodology, the "genesis of erudition" and her contribution to museums (donations, translations, exhibitions) ; several photographs along with valuable memories recounted by her daughter, the ambassador Nathalie Trouveroy, and also those of Marc Quaghebeur and Anne Pingeot, provide us with a portrait of a passionate scholar and remind us that behind any erudite work there is always (or at least there should be !) a real and very human person, in this case an exceptional being. About twenty scholarly contributions make up the core of this book, divided into three sections : the first, "Names from literature and music" evoke among others Maeterlinck and Verhaeren in an article by Rik Hemmerijckx, "Some photographs of Mallarmé rue de Rome" by Jean-Michel Nectoux and "Liszt acclaimed in Belgium" by Malou Haine. The second section, "The Art of the book", one of the essential fields in Adrienne Fontainas’ bibliography, reminds us that Maeterlinck was "in the English book school" (Fabrice van de Kerckhove), that Edmond Deman, whose monograph and editions catalogue were written by Adrienne Fontainas, was a major publisher of the time (Hélène Védrine, Claude Sorgeloos) and adds that Léon Spilliaert was an illustrator up until the 1940’s. A third section, also the longest, covers art history. Véronique Carpiaux looks at Félicien Ropps and drawing ; Laurent Hossias uncovers an unpublished study by André Fontainas on Rude ; Edwin Becker discusses the motif of the swan in the work of Wilhem List ; Jane Block studies Signac’s painting In the Time of Harmony for the Maison du peuple in Brussels ; Stephen Goddard evokes Steinlen’s portrait of Pieter Dupont ; Denis Laoureux explores eccentricity, elitism and Symbolism in "fin de siècle" Belgium ; Roger Cardon contributes new findings to At the Brothel by Maurice de Vlaminck ; Catherine Krahmer publishes four letters by Ernst Barlack on Kandinsky, Nolde and Goethe. Finally, this author examines a "voyage dans les yeux", a critical interpretation of the supposed ties between Symbolism and Surrealism : "De la vision symboliste à l’oeil surréaliste". An imposing Tabula amicorum attests to the true friends (alluding to the others between the lines) who surrounded this "great lady of bibliophile studies and of Belgian books", in the words of Dario Gamboni.

Collective Work Homage to Adrienne Fontainas, Passionate Pilgrim for the Arts, Peter Lang Publishing, New York, 2013, 360 p., 79,50 €. ISBN 978-1-4331-2005-3.

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Jean-David Jumeau-Lafond, lundi 13 mai 2013

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