The Books department of Tajan’s auction house is presenting on September, 14, 2017 an event sale around the collection of a passionate collector, Georges Vandaele. With around 400 lots, this vacation will gather exceptional books which alone constitute a large part of the history of the French literature.
“Here is revealed, by his library, a bibliophile unknown to all. For forty years, this patient and demanding collector has accumulated several hundreds of titles among the most desired of the French literature without anyone suspecting anything …
Georges Vandaele was born in Paris in 1924. After law studies and its beginnings in the oil industry and the trade, by chance, in 1969, he took part in the evolution of the Diffusion Mobilière group, future Union Financière de France specialized in wealth management. With a strengthen position, his financial assets allow him to cultivate an interest for books. Indeed, his curiosity increase when, during his long and tedious violin lessons, he was tempted by his professor’s opulent library, uniformly bound in green, which seemed very monotonous for him. In the meantime, passionate by the history of Flanders, he has also start genealogical research and composed an exhaustive history of his family published in twenty-two volumes.
With the advice of Racing Club’s friends, he starts in 1976 a collection that will become omnipresent in his daily life. Scrupulously, Georges Vandaele wrote down in details all his purchases for follow the chronology of his acquisitions and hence his expenses. Separately, he filed in alphabetical order detailed records about his treasures wrote by himself which indicated “Acheté à C.S.” with the total and the date. Indeed, someone, Colette S., will be both the light house and the rudder of this precious cargo. The captain never shows himself in a sale, never asks for catalogs or bookseller’s advices. He wants to keep only one representative between him and the book market to avoid possible overbidding that the appearance of a new collector can creates. So, Colette S. became the unique custodian of Georges Vandaele’s intentions. It’s clear that, from the outset, he wanted to buy French literature masterpieces. But they are so many … He wanted them from all centuries but always in a remarkable condition: famous copies, fabulous book cover, important papers, significant “envois”. An illuminated manuscript and an incunabula enrich the collection as milestones of the book history and the rest is literature. Colette S. had understood his project; she respected the trust placed in her and got his books at high-end Parisian bookshops, choosing without any fault of taste. Maybe Georges Vandaele preferred the mystery around the books bought at Le Touquet by his friend but we are less poet and an experienced eye knows how to recognized the identity of the seller to the little cabalistic notes in the books: Loliée and Meaudre bookshops for prints, Rossignol for manuscripts and especially Loewy Boulevard Haussmann with whom Colette S. seemed to have closes links. Until the end of his life in 2009, the amateur as enriched his collection and kept it in Le Touquet and Reuil-Malmaison. A niece and a nephew has inherited with respect the exceptional collection and has decided enabling the public to discover these treasures.
The extreme discretion of the book collector is a common skill and the friendship between booksellers and bibliophiles is something important in the transmission of this difficult speciality. So, it’s not unusual to find in catalogues bibliophiles thanking each other. But an uninterrupted fidelity to the same source during forty years is maybe a unique case in the history of bibliophilia. The result of this trust is this sale gathering 400 lots which alone constitute a large part of the history of the French literature." Anne Lamort
images : Alphonse de LAMARTINE, lots 250 à 250 - Alphonse DAUDET, lot 166