By Friedrich C. Heller
After a longer break Michèle Noret has now published her tenth catalogue of picture books – and this is right at the time like a christmas-gift! In 2004, after having made herself independent (before she worked together with Thierry Corcelle, where she gained great experience of illustrated children’s books in general) she began to publish her catalogues, now mainly concentrated on artists’ children’s books of the 20th century, each catalogue like a little portable gallery! I do not (and one probably cannot) know how many collectors of this sort of illustrated books exist in the world, but I hope: many! Collecting these books is one of the most adventurous and inspiring book-activities: it does not only confront us with the beauty of book-art and illustration (which, of course, would also be a result of collecting older books!), it also motivates - through the obviously never ending great creativity of artists worldwide in the field of book-making - to believe in the future of the book (inspite of all complaints about its coming „death“). Collecting contemporary picture books (be they children’s books or illustrated books in general) means to be aware of the great challenge that every day an hitherto unknown object of beauty might be published. There is no predestination of a repertory, there is only your own decision: are you fascinated or not!
There are only a few antiquarian booksellers in the world who are dealing with this sort of books, and Michèle Noret is one of the most important. Her catalogues are endless seductions to look, to study, to decide, to buy. Her series of 10 catalogues has become a „sourcebook“ of modern book-art (therefore I would like to have a general index of all of the titels and artists!). This is the result of Michèle’s ever increasing competence to find all of these wonderful examples of book-art, even the rarest ones or almost unknown items, and of her more and more refined ability to describe each aesthetic specialty of a book or of an artist’s style. The splendid way to illustrate these catalogues makes them so useful, because this visual aid helps us to learn and to remember .
The new catalogue - including 215 items, many of them absolute rarities of international rank along with many „normal“, but nevertheless beautiful books - is characterized by an almost unbelievable number of Russian children’s books of the Sovjet era, among them very famous ones. A great challenge! Some exhibitions in the last years have made these books renowned – here they are available!
It is difficult to point out certain titles of this wonderful catalogue, each book is worth to be known (and collected). Michèle Noret deals with these books as if she were a collector, and this is, in my opinion, the best prerequisite for such a rich offer. There are the greatest diversities of style and aesthetic attitude – an incomparable chance to widen one’s horizon.
I hope that many book-lovers will take this chance!
Catalogue dix (Décembre 2012) – Librairie Michèle Noret.
>>> For more information visit the website www.librairiemichelenoret.com or send an email to Michèle Noret
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(Thank you very much to Friedrich C. Heller for giving ILAB permission to publish his article on this website.)