Adrienne Monnier

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Paul-Émile Bécat (1885-1960), Adrienne Monnier (1892-1955), 1921. Oil on canvas.

The French painter and book illustrator Paul-Emile Bécat worked at the center of the Parisian literary scene in the early 20th century. Among his foremost supporters and patrons were his sister-in-law and her partner, Adrienne Monnier and Sylvia Beach. Monnier ran a bookshop called La Maison des amis les livres on the Left Bank of Paris and assisted Beach in opening her own shop, Shakespeare and Company, which eventually moved right across the street on rue de l’Odeon. Beach commissioned two portraits, one of her lover and two years later, one of herself. She kept both in their apartment until her death in 1962, when Princeton University acquired her estate.

Acquired in 1964 from the Sylvia Beach estate, through the generosity of Graham D. Mattison, Princeton Class of 1926, and with the interest and support of Miss Beach’s surviving sister, Mrs. Frederic J. (Holly Beach) Dennis of Greenwich, Connecticut. Rare Books and Special Collections, Firestone Library.

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size 81 1/2 x 50 1/8 x 3 inches