Jon Berg Fine Art
Complete set of E.C. BENEZIT "Dictionnaire des Peintres" classic art reference books early 1960's edition

Complete set of E.C. BENEZIT "Dictionnaire des Peintres" classic art reference books early 1960's edition


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Directory: Traditional Collectibles: Books: References: Fine Art: Pre 1970: Item # 1416029

Please refer to our stock # JB01322 when inquiring.
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2311 Schader Dr. #310
Santa Monica, CA 90404
310-453-5620

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 $95.00 
Offered is the complete artist reference set, this particular edition consisting of 8 volumes, formally titled "Dictionnaire de Peintres", the now famous, almost iconic creation of French artist E. Charles Benezit. The single word "Benezit" is in common, casual use today by those in the art community who discuss where an artist is "listed". The internet and all its resources notwithstanding, "Benezit" remains an old classic standby reference work. The first edition was published in 1949. It was revised, in later editions, in the early 1960's and again in 1976 (the "blue" edition), and most recently, in greatly expanded form, in 1999. Most major libraries have a set in their reference sections, and lucky private collectors can also count themselves as owners of the famous books. Even though the text is entirely in French, I find "Benezit" especially helpful when researching old masters or obscure 19th and early 20th century artists, especially European artists. This set is basically in good condition, the green covers with their gold lettering somewhat faded (especially the 8th volume---see photos), some stray minor penciled notations, and evidence of only light use. There are a few slightly crumpled pages in volume eight, and a stubbed cover corner or two. I am focusing on flaws that would matter mainly to a book collector seeking mint condition; this particular set should be purchased by an ART collector, to be used for reference. The set is numbered #6571, and is described as the "Troisieme Edition". Various years appear in the front of the various volumes, from 1959 to 1962, and the latest date is not necessarily in the last volume. I am not familiar with how exactly and in what order these were published, but I think it accurate to say it's the early 1960's green edition. The set comes with an especially interesting provenance: it is from the Santa Monica estate of the recently deceased Hart Preston, a noted photographer, gallery owner, and globe-trotting correspondent for Time and Life magazines. Preston died recently at 99 after an unusually long and interesting life, and his estate was chock full of original oil paintings by Benezit (1854-1920) himself, who was a very talented artist, though unfortunately somewhat obscure today. Preston was obviously a big fan of Benezit's own paintings. I viewed a long handwritten inventory of the works purchased from galleries by Preston over time. Today for some reason Benezit is better known for the famous set of books that bears his name than for the impressionistic fine paintings he himself created. This set of "Benezit" has an unusual provenance that truly adds to its appeal. Google "Hart Preston" to view some of his photos of famous people and interesting places in Africa and South America. Preston photographed the Shah of Iran, Orson Welles, Gene TIerney, Wendell Wilkie, and many, many other notables.
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