Exclusivity and finesse
Each instalment consisted of a portfolio of ten prints and a deluxe portfolio with a bonus print.
The deluxe edition was printed on fine and varied paper, signed by the artist and featuring remarques in some cases.
The portfolio also included trial proofs and different states.
An employee of L’Epreuve talked of ‘painstaking selection from hundreds of types of paper and countless trial proofs in order to achieve perfection.’
While the affiliation with literature was a key element from the beginning, it was only from the third instalment onwards that the print album was accompanied by a literary supplement consisting of several pages of poems and fragments from contemporary literature, by Symbolist authors like Paul Verlaine.
The supplement was produced in collaboration with the magazine Pan, which had a similar concept.
It was not very successful, however, and L’Epreuve ultimately remained first and foremost a print album.
L’Epreuve, 10 dln., 1894-1895.
Janine Bailly-Herzberg, Dictionnaire de l'estampe en France. 1830-1950, Paris, 1992.
Jean-Pierre Seguin, Maurice Dumont (1869-1899): peintre-graveur, illustrateur, poète et éditeur de L’Epreuve, Paris, 1991.