Autograph fan, ca. 1870-1880
Folded fan, double sheet in cream leather. Goldfish mother-of-pearl mounting. Metal clasp.
H.t. 30 cm-H.f. 19 cm (small restoration to the plume)
Provenance: Rothschild family.
In a cardboard box.
Signing a fan was very fashionable in the salons of Parisian high society at the end of the 19th century. As an elegant guest book, it allowed women to keep the memory of brilliant evenings and demonstrate the prestige of their salon.
With more than 60 signatures, this fan is an exceptional testimony of a salon where people of letters and theatre, painters, musicians and composers met. Among the most remarkable autographs are those of Leconte de Lisle (1818-1894), Ernest Renan (1823-1892), Alphonse Daudet (1840-1897), Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893), Ludovic Halévy (1834-1908), Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921), Jules Massenet (1842-1912), Henri Harpignies (1819-1916), Charles Chaplin (1825-1891), Carolus Duran (1837-1917), William Bouguereau (1825-1905), Léon Bonnat (1833-1922), or Gustave Courbet (1819-1877). The autograph of Edmond de Goncourt (1822-1896) alone tends to confirm a dating around 1870-1880, Jules having died in 1870.
The only female presence, Juliette Lambert (1836-1936), signs a feminist declaration: "I wish for the time when women will fight duels. She signed "Lamber", having abandoned the "t" at the end of her name in 1867.
More than a simple autograph, some offered a few verses or a reflection like François Coppée: "The useless here below is the most necessary", Sully Prudhomme: "And while one kills oneself to postpone living/The true duty in the shade awaits the will". Émile Zola (1840-1902) takes up the quatrain: "What I want for my kingdom, / Is a fresh path at my door, / A cradle made of a rose hip, / And as long as three strands of thatch", from his poem "Ce que je veux", dating from May 1859