Paul Bonet (1889- 1971) was one of the most celebrated French binding and book cover designers. His bookbinding career started as merely a hobby, and he was initially a modeler of wooden fashion mannequins until his friend asked him to design the cover for his book collection. This was a breaking point for Bonet, and since then, around the 1920s, his bindings had been exhibited in miscellaneous galleries in Paris, as well as at the appraised Salon d’Automne. It was then that his passion for bookbinding was greatly augmented, and it shifted from a hobby to a profession. His artistic language is characterized by three dimensional sculpted bindings, metal and pierced bindings, and in some he even incorporated ivory, lacquer, eggshell, nickel, steel, gold, platinum and other materials, in an attempt to coalesce the external world with the internal, vacuumized world of the book itself. In addition, he wanted books to become an artistic installation, where the book itself is a piece of art, and not solely its content. Therefore, Bonet was also highly concerned with the typography of the title of the book, to create the full artistic effect that he wanted the book to convey.
In 1945, Blaizot published a catalog that summarizes Bonet’s achievements and his undeniable influence on the world of bookbinding and design as a whole. The collection itself is bound in Bonet’s irradiant style, and the optical illusion that the three dimensions displayed on the cover portray, through the use of undulating gilt rules radiating from a common center.
However, it was the 1950’s collaboration with French publishing house Gallimard that elevated his name and reputation, leaving collectors pining for his design to this day.
Gallimard’s offer was for Bonet to design a collection of special edition covers that were to run between 1000 – 3000 copies each. Bonet, whose work was notable not only for its graphic taste but also for his choice of materials, was now to design color embossed graphics on thick, high-quality cream paper. The collection is known among collectors as Cartonnage Bonet. At Chateau Cramirat Gallery by Dan Alexander, we are dedicated to finding these works of beauty and value and to the design history world. We are proud to say that you will be able to find a selection of first editions of Cartonnage Bonet by Gallimard already in our collection, from the prized ‘The Little Price’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry with a dust jacket, Louis-Ferdinand Céline and, James Joyce Ulysses to many others.