MOLIERE, JEAN BAPTISTE POQUELIN DE. 1622-1673.
MOLIERE'S SIGNATURE, AND 2 OTHER FAMILY DOCUMENTS.
1. Document Signed ("J.B. Poquelin Moliere"), 1 p, with integral blank, folio, Paris, June 21, 1667, in French, on letterhead of "Généralité de Paris," authorizing Claude Le Long to collect funds from François de La Court. Light spotting, marginal fraying, hinged onto mount.
2. Receipt Signed ("Armande-Gresinde-Claire-Élisabeth Béjart"), 1 p, 5 by 7½ inches, [Paris], September 20, 1691, on vellum, in French, on letterhead of the Hôtel de Ville, in which Molière's widow acknowledges receipt of a large sum of money of a pension settled on the clergy of France, for her daughter Marie Madelaine E. de Molière. Hinged onto mount.
3. Document Signed ("Jean Pocquelin" and "Jehanne Pocquelin"), 2 p, folio, with integral blank, [Paris], November 10, 1649, in French, in which Jehanne, aunt of Molière, cedes to Jean, Molière's father, her part of the family house in Paris, for maintenance in default of annual rent. Hinged onto mount.
AN EXCEEDINGLY RARE EXAMPLE OF MOLIERE'S SIGNATURE - NO OTHERS APPEAR IN AMERICAN BOOK PRICES CURRENT SINCE THE COMPILATION WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN 1895. This may well be the last Molière signature in private hands.
Molière, the year after the first performance of Le Misanthrope, appoints Claude Le Long to collect a debt owned to him since 1665 by François de La Court. The notarial document is also signed by two witnesses, "Lenormand" and "Moufle." Curiously enough, another François de La Cour (sic) appears as an actor in Paris in 1652, and was married to the sister of Molière's business partner Charles Dufresne. This de La Court died in 1655, but may have had a son of the same name.
Provenance: the first document belonged to Tampon de Lajariette, a bibliophile from Nantes, and after his death was sold at auction in Paris by Charavay on November 15, 1860; it was bought by Dubrunfaut for 950 francs at the time the second highest auction record for a signature in France; Dubrunfaut's collection was sold around 1883-1884; by 1887, according to the editors of Le Moliériste, the document was in the possession of a Chicago collector, who loaned it to them for publication (volume VIII, 1887, pp 271-272). The second item is from the Alfred Bovet Collection, no 1339, sold at auction in 1887, again by Charavay in Paris. It is possible that it was purchased by the same Chicago collector, since all three documents eventually found their way into the Thacher Collection; they were sold at Sotheby's, December 14, 1988.