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The Fables of La Fontaine

illustrated by Gustave Moreau

The story begins much like those tales that lulled us through childhood. Once upon a time a collector, Antony Roux (1833-1913), native of Marseille and great art lover, commissioned Gustave Moreau (1826-1898), the renowned history painter, to illustrate the Fables of La Fontaine (1621-1695). Conceived originally for the sole enjoyment of the collector and intended to comprise a single book, sixty-four watercolour masterpieces were produced between 1879 and 1884, at 14, rue de La Rochefoucauld in Paris. Twentyfive of these watercolours were shown at the Society of Watercolourists’ private salon in Durand-Ruel’s gallery at 16, rue Laffitte; and later, all of them could be seen at the Boussod et Valadon gallery (formerly Maison Goupil) at 9, rue Chaptal, and at the London branch of the same gallery in 1886. In 1906, almost all of these watercolours were gathered together one last time, in their near entirety, under the aegis of Robert de Montesquiou and Countess Greffulhe. Thirty-five of them (twenty-nine others having disappeared) have reemerged today, on the occasion of the exhibit dedicated to them by the Musée National Gustave Moreau, formerly the very workshop where they were created.
Our hope in publishing these thirty-five fables and Gustave Moreau’s illustrations at the dawn of the 21st century is to make them as popular as those of Gustave Doré in their time, and to relive the childhood joy of the sole illustration alongside La Fontaine’s text.
(Extract from the preface by Marie-Cécile Forest)

Sommaire

Preface

City Rat and Country Rat
The Dragon of Many Heads and The Dragon of Many Tails
Death and the Woodcutter
The Cock and the Pearl
The Oak and the Reed
The Congress of the Rats
The Lion and the Gnat
Juno and the Peacock
The Cat Who Became a Woman
The Miller, His Son, and the Donkey
The Frogs who asked for a King
The Fox and the Grapes
The Lion in Love
The Shepherd and the Sea
The Ape and the Dolphin
Fortune and the Young Boy
The Sun and the North Wind
Discord
The Animals Stricken with the Plague
The Fly and the Omnibus
The Dairymaid and the Pail of Milk
The Man Who Ran After Fortune and The Man who Waited for Her in Bed
The Head and the Tail of the Serpent
An Animal in the Moon
The Cobbler and the Financier
The Rat and the Elephant
Jupiter and the Thunderbolts
Democritus and the Abderites
The Mouse Who Was Turned into a Girl
The Oyster and the Litigants
The Dream of an Inhabitant of the Mughal Empire
The Peasant from the Danube
The Miser and The Ape
The Elephant and Jupiter’s Ape

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