Year: 1992

Author: Jean-Clarence Lambert (*1930)

Artist: Sugaï Kumi (1919 - 1996)

Publisher: Robert et Lydie Dutrou Éditeurs

Title page of Accident

Éluard's poetry made an indelible impression on high school student Jean-Clarence Lambert. Not only did the young poet meet Paul Éluard, he was also allowed to visit Paul Valéry's widow and daughter. Since the end of World War II these two meetings formedthe basis of Lambert's intellectual adventure. Although he is rarely mentioned in any reference books as a poet, he did make a name for himself with a long series of publications as an anthologist and art critic of the Cobra movement. His anthologies include collections of Swedish poetry, and he wrote books on Cobra artists Corneille and Constant. But above all he published his own poetry, in close collaboration with artists, in artists' books.

Kumi Sugaï

One of the artists who illustrated his books was Kumi Sugaï, a close friend with whom Lambert spent a great deal of time. They met in 1953 in the Salon Octobre, shortly after Sugaï, originally from Japan (Kobe), moved to Paris in 1952. The Parisian art world was already familiar with Japanese artist Tsuguharu Foujita, with whom Sugaï had shared an exhibition in London in 1955. Sugaï however was seen as an extra asset because the disciplined and stoic Sugaï enjoyed making his way through undiscovered areas of abstract art. Sugaï's characteristic initial 'S' can be recognized in his art as well as in his leisure pastimes. The 'S' stands for the undulating lines in his work, but also for his passion for the road, cars, and speed – in particular that of his white Porsche Carrera.


Jean-Clarence Lambert had only just avoided an accident himself when his friend Kumi Sugaï was in a serious car crash. After returning from a summer holiday with his wife, Sugaï lost control of the wheel while passing another car (at 125 mph!) and ended up in hospital. This was the occasion that inspired Lambert to write the poem Accident. Lambert wrote, for instance: 'Mais accélerer, c'est errer sans accès.'. (But to accelerate is to wander without access.)

After the accident, Sugaï had to be assisted in his work by two young Japanese artists. Nevertheless, he would not be kept from creating five original etchings – variations on his initial 'S' and the racetrack theme – to illustrate the poems. It is therefore hardly surprising that Sugaï included numerous traffic elements in Accident, such as arrows, red lines, asphalt, mud, yield lines, sharp turns and blind spots, with cadmium red, white and asphalt black as his basic colours.


Atelier RLD was responsible for the publication of this artist's book. The abbreviation stands for printing, engraving and publishing couple Robert and Lydie Dutrou, but the Atelier was opened in 1973 by Lydie Dutrou. Robert Dutrou (1930-1999) previously worked as a printer for renowned Galerie Maeght, where he assisted great artists like Braque, Masson and Miró. Lydie and Robert produced bibliophile book editions and artist's books from their own studio. Besides being a graphic arts centre, the Atelier RLD later also became a dynamic practice and a hatching ground for young engravers.

Bibliographical description

Description: Accident / Jean-Clarence Lambert ; [5 gravures orig. de] Sugaï; – Paris: Robert et Lydie Dutrou Éditeurs, 1992. - Leporello. : ill. ; 54 cm

Printer: Dutrou (Paris)

Edition: 135 copies

This copy: Nummer VIII of 135 on Moulin de Pombié. One of the 20 E.A. copies numbered from I to XX reserved for the author and the artist.

Typeface: Europe

Note: Signed by the author and the artist. The five original etchings are signed by the artist.

Bibliography: Bénézit 13-348

Shelfmark: KW Koopm E 50


  • Paul van Capelleveen, Sophie Ham, Jordy Joubij, Voices and visions. The Koopman Collection and the Art of the French Book. The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, National Library of the Netherlands; Zwolle, Waanders, 2009
  • Paul van Capelleveen, Sophie Ham, Jordy Joubij, Voix et visions. La Collection Koopman et l'Art du Livre français. La Haye, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Bibliothèque nationale des Pays-Bas; Zwolle, Waanders, 2009
  • Lydia Harambourg, 'Sugaï, Kumi', in: L'École de Paris, 1945-1965: Dictionnaire des peintres. Neuchâtel, Ides & Calendes, 1993
  • Jean-Clarence Lambert, Jean-Clarence Lambert et ses compagnons d'œuvre: 50 ans de poésie partagée. Paris, Arenthon, 1998
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  • André Pieyre de Mandiargues, Sugaï. Paris, Fall, 1960
  • Marie-Cécile Miessner, 'Robert Dutrou (1930-1999) (Hommage)', in: Nouvelles de l'estampe, (1999) 164, p. 65
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