Rimbaud and Verlaine rare art sketch from London trip auctions in Paris

A rare art sketch by the legendary French poet Arthur Rimbaud is auctioning in Paris. While Rimbaud's poems remain the principle fruits of his legacy, rare art sketches by history's important figures - whether it's Rimbaud or Ronnie Wood - hold much fascination for collectors.

Rimbaud is certainly unique in the annals of poetry. He produced all of his best-known works while still in his teens and had given up writing completely before age 20. Rimbaud's poetry has since been likened to "an infant Shakespeare."

This piece is rare, original and entitled "Jeune cocher de Londres" (which roughly translates as "Young driver to London"). A handwritten caption confirms that the piece is by "Arthur Rimbaud. London 1873."

Jeune cocher de Londres rimbaud410.jpg
Jeune cocher de Londres: a rare art sketch from Rimbaud's London visit

It is one of five known manuscripts of its kind illustrated by Rimbaud. By many accounts, Rimbaud was more attracted to cartoons than painting. (His friend Forain once told of how Rimbaud kept gazing out of the window during a visit to the Louvre.)

"Jeune cocher de Londres" is also of note for an additional inscription believed to be by Paul Verlaine, the eminent Symbolist poet. Verlaine accompanied Rimbaud in London between 1872-1873. This artwork is a rare artefact from the duo's hedonistic, vagabond-like relationship.

Verlaine certainly thought so. He held onto this artwork as a relic of his time with Rimbaud until his death in 1896 aged 51, five years after Arthur had died from cancer aged just 37.

From Rimbaud to Ronnie Wood... We currently have this original autographed sketch by the Rolling Stone for sale


Other Rimbaud sketches are preserved in the Rimbaud Museum in Charleville-Mézières. This piece carries a presale estimate of €120,000-150,000 and will undoubtedly attract plenty of attention when it auctions on February 14.

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