French rare books collector Pierre Beres dies at 95

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One of France’s greatest private collectors of manuscripts and rare editions, Pierre Beres, died on Monday.

31 July 2008

PARIS - Pierre Beres, one of France's greatest private collectors of manuscripts and rare editions, has died at the age of 95, his family said Wednesday.

The Paris-based collector, who three years ago on retiring sold 12,000 volumes from his collection, died on Monday.

During his lifetime, Beres put together a collection of rare editions and manuscripts that virtually constituted a history of French literature.

Born in 1913 in Stockholm, he held his first book sale at 17 and at 24 had set up a bookshop.

On his shelves sat first copies of medieval poet Francois Villon, Proust, Colette, Rimbaud and Flaubert.

In 2001 he sold the French National Library a manuscript of Louis-Ferdinand Celine's "Voyage Au Bout De La Nuit" and in 2006 donated to the state the 19th century manuscript of Stendhal's "La Chartreuse de Parme".

Beres was said to be tenacious in his pursuit of rare books but was also close to artists such as Picasso and Matisse, and to poets Eluard and Aragon.

[AFP / Expatica]

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