Au travail ma chérie

Year: 1992

Author: Dominique Fourcade 1938

Artist: Pierre Buraglio 1939 |

Publisher: Imprimerie nationale Éditions

Au travail ma chérie, title page

Au travail ma chérie actually has not one author, but many: figures like Shakespeare, Proust, Heidegger, Homer and René Char 'dance' around in it to the jazz music of Thelonious Monk, and are all united in this edition under the theme 'the red rose full of memories'. Dominique Fourcade, who re-used quotes by the above authors for Au travail ma chérie, has been publishing work since 1961. He refuses to divulge anything about his personal life, except for the fact that his education was very strict, and that he was raised speaking both English and French. His poetry is surprising in its use of English words, onomatopoeias, neologisms, and words one rarely encounters.

The economy of French toast

The artist Pierre Buraglio illustrated Au travail ma chérie, and he elevated diversity to an art form. 'L'économie du pain perdu' (the economy of French toast) is the expression Buraglio uses to characterise his work. French toast – a sweet dish – is made from stale bread. Buraglio gives old material a second life; his artworks are made out of all kinds of found objects, like bits of material and slips of paper. He also rejuvenates his own artworks in his abstract collages by re-using them over and over again.

Sans serif

Au travail ma chérie is one of the bibliophile publications of the Imprimerie nationale Éditions that was produced by the Atelier du Livre d'Art et de l'Estampe, which is a division of the French national printer. All editions are assembled by hand by experienced craftsmen. For this edition the Atelier used Gauthier, one of the seven exclusive font faces of the Imprimerie nationale. Louis Gauthier developed his typeface in the period from 1969 to 1978. It is a sans serif font with letters 'sans empattements' that are striking due to their austere character and the simplicity of the line drawing. The typeface was designed especially for the Imprimerie nationale Éditions, and is now not only available as a monotype face, but also in digital form.


Au travail ma chérie, colophon, signed by the author and the illustrator

Between typography and illustrations

Au travail ma chérie is the first part in the series 'Préférence'. Although this edition does not appear fancy due to its use of less exclusive paper (Rives) and its 'normal' binding (sewn, in cassette), it nevertheless merits attention. The close collaboration between image and text is not only expressed by the haphazard positioning of the illustrations on the paper, but also because the illustrations underline or strike out the text in blue or red. On some pages in the book, a red fingerprint can be found in the corner. Perhaps the thumb and index finger – which are most often used to turn the pages – have been pricked by the thorns of the 'rose full of memories', and have therefore left a red imprint on the paper. This much is certain: the dynamics between typography and illustrations make this a fascinating 'livre d'artiste'.

Bibliographical description

Description: Au travail ma chérie / Dominique Fourcade ; [ill. par] Pierre Buraglio. – Paris : Imprimerie nationale Éditions, 1992. - [45] p. : ill. ; 29 cm

Printer: Imprimerie nationale Éditions (Parijs)

Edition: 100 copies

This copy: Number 30 of 100 on Rives

Typeface: Gauthier (italics)

Note: Signed by the author and the illustrator.

Note: With an extra illustration and a bookmark.

Bibliography: Bénézit 2-956

Shelfmark: KW Koopm K 339


  • Jean-Baptiste Para, 'Dominique Fourcade', in: Dictionnaire de poésie de Baudelaire à nos jours. Paris, Presses universitaires de France, 2001, p. 273-275
  • Les caractères de l'Imprimerie nationale. Paris, Imprimerie Nationale, 1990