La jeune Parque

Year: 1935

Author: Paul Valéry (1871 - 1945)

Artist: Gh. de Menten de Horne (1908 - 1995)

Publisher: J-E. Goossens

Etching in La jeune Parque by Ghislaine de Menten de Horne

The unknown Belgian artist Ghislaine de Menten de Horne illustrated Valéry's poem with 16 colour engravings. The book was purchased for the Koopman Collection of the National Library of the Netherlands in 2001 from her legacy, along with the original zinc plates that were used for this edition. The collection now also contains a sketchbook in which the artist first created her designs.

The poem La jeune Parque (1917) was reprinted by the Brussels-based publisher Goossens in 1935 in an edition of 125 copies. The poem is a hermetic monologue by a woman engaged in a battle between body and spirit. The artist has represented this duel by using the possibilities of colour engraving to express both dream world and reality. The young fate Parque is surrounded in the images by enchanting and terrifying phantoms. The author was satisfied: Valéry's words of praise are printed in facsimile in the front of this edition.

Ghislaine de Menten de Horne was only 19 years old at the time, a student in Paris at the Académie Julian, at Paul Bornet's studio and at the art academy in Brussels. During the war years she was an active member of the resistance, placing explosives for sabotage ends. She later married and moved to Kivu in Congo with her husband. She mostly painted still-lives and portraits there. In 1960 she returned to Belgium. She was an unconventional, intellectual woman who lived for her art. Although she grew up in an aristocratic environment and officially lived at the modern castle of Sparmont in Huy, she spent most of her time in her studio in Vorst (Brussels). After her death, her paintings were auctioned off, the proceeds going to Médecins sans frontières.

Cover of Album de vers anciens (1927):a copy with a dedication from Paul Valéry to Ghislaine de Menten de Horne

A second edition was immediately announced in 1935: Album de vers anciens. This new Valéry project began when the author provided a copy of his collection of poems with a personal handwritten dedication. Indeed, Ghislaine de Menten de Horne produced 42 copper engravings for this edition. The text was completely typeset and a first proof was made, but the project came to a standstill with the advent of World War II. An entire fortune of copper disappeared unused in the artist's studio. The first published book, the dedicated copy, the proofs, the original zinc and copper plates for both works, a sketchbook and a portfolio of studies for both editions and prints of the various states of the engravings now form a handsome addition to the already impressive Valéry collection that is part of the Koopman Collection.

Bibliographical description

Description: La jeune Parque / Paul Valéry ; avec 16 eaux-fortes en couleurs de Gh. de Menten de Horne. - [Bruxelles] : [J-E. Goossens], 1935. - [147] p. : ill. ; 35 cm

Printer: J.-E. Goossens (Brussels) (text) Eugène Delâtre (Paris) (etchings)

Edition: 125 copies

This copy: Number 82 of 100 on Rives

Note: With an exercise book with sketches and with 15 original zinc plates; With an announcement of the publication of Album de vers anciens by Paul Valéry, illustrated by Gh. de Menten de Horne: never appeared. Included are sketches, proofs, copperplates and prints for this edition

Bibliography: Carteret IV-386 ; Monod-10885

Shelfmark: KW Koopm F 13


  • Oscar Coomans de Brachène, État présent de la noblesse belge. Annuaire de 1994, première partie: Mees-Minc. Bruxelles, Etat présent, 1994.
  • Information given by Dr Eric Cabris