Paysages de Grignan

Philippe Jaccottet (1925 - 2021)
Gérard de Palézieux (1919 - 2012) )
Bibliothèque des Arts
Paysages de Grignan, title page

Grignan is a picturesque village in the Drôme in the southeast corner of France with at least one famous dead person: letter-writer Madame de Sévigné. She lived there for two years before she died in 1696. The village has a church, a square and a castle, and was long an oasis of restfulness. In 1953, Swiss poet Philippe Jaccottet settled down there. Jaccottet saw Grignan as a heavenly landscape, but noted during the decades he spent there that this environment was also changing slowly and seemed to be losing its innocence. His 'nature diary' was published in serial form under the title La semaison.

Joccottet belongs - like André Du Bouchet and Yves Bonnefoi - to a group of poets that took it upon itself to reposition poetry after the horrors of World War II: they rejected surrealist imagery and attempted to write poetry transparently, in search of the essence of existence. Jaccottet found the perfect poetic landscape around Grignan: the vineyard. To him it was the ideal theme for his thoughts on language, poetry, life, ethics and also mysticism: a flexible ground-plan, porous walls, a light roof, the perfect place for the marriage of light and shadow.

  • Paysages de Grignan, cover

Love for nature

Jaccottet's compatriot Gérard Palézieux shared his love for the unspoiled rural area, and resided in Grignan regularly from 1960 onwards. The artist, known mostly for his graphic work, concentrated on nudes, still-lives and landscapes, influenced by the Tuscan painters. According to Jaccottet, Palézieux's subject was tradition itself. These two nostalgic Swiss men complemented each other perfectly.

In Paysages de Grignan, the engravings by Palézieux and the text by Jaccottet are two equal components: one element isn't simply supportive of the other- as it so often is. The history and beauty of Grignan's landscape is expressed both in words and in images. Palézieux remained loyal to his characteristic, classical style: he indicated the shape of houses and trees through his use of subtle hatching.

Colophon, signed by Philippe Jaccottet and Gérard de Palézieux

The book exudes a sober luxury, amplified by the sand-coloured cover. The texts were printed in 1964, and the etchings were printed a year later. The publishing house Bibliothèque des arts, which was also Swiss, published the cassette in 1965 in an edition of only 110 copies. The publisher was established in 1954 and specialised in art books, catalogues and classically illustrated texts. Bibliothèque des arts published the first part of a catalogue of the graphical work of Palézieux in 1976, with an introduction by Philippe Jaccottet, who attempted to perceive the engravings through the eyes of a random observer.

Bibliographical description

Paysages de Grignan / douze eaux-fortes de Gérard de Palézieux ; texte de Philippe Jaccottet. - Lausanne : Bibliothèque des Arts, 1964 [i.e. 1965]. - [19] p. : ill.; 31×41 cm
Impr. centrale (Lausanne) (text); Reynold Disteli (Versoix) (etchings)
110 copies
This copy:
Number 11 of 96 on Arches
Signed by the auteur and the artist
KW Koopm K 298


  • Alain Clerval, Philippe Jaccottet. Paris, Seghers, 1976
  • François Daulte, L'oeuvre gravé de Palézieux, II: 1965-1974. Lausanne, Bibliothèque des Arts, 1982
  • Hervé Ferrage, Philippe Jaccottet, le pari de l’inactuel. Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 2000
  • Philippe Jaccottet, 'Introduction', in: François Daulte, L'oeuvre gravé de Palézieux, I: 1942-1964. Lausanne, Bibliothèque des Arts, 1976, p. 5-10