An extremely rare portrait of Arthur Rimbaud made by his sister, could soon join the collections of the museum dedicated to the author.
The last person to have seen him
A very rare portrait of Arthur Rimbaud, drawn by his sister, Isabelle Rimbaud, in January 1893 was found in a Parisian bookstore and could soon be part of the collections of the Rimbaud museum in Charleville-Mézières, birthplace of the famous French poet. A public subscription has been launched and hopes to collect part of the sum necessary (180,000 euros) for the acquisition of the precious drawing. To make this small pencil drawing of only 10 by 13 centimeters representing the author of Une saison en enfer (1873) playing the Abyssinian harp, Isabelle Rimbaud would have been inspired by a press illustration before add from memory the face of his brother, who died two years earlier. This portrait then gives an idea of Rimbaud’s face as it was before his death, since his sister was the last person to have seen him during his lifetime.
The last traces of the poet’s face
The portrait was last seen in Paris in 1931, at an auction of the collection of Madame Heart, an American about whom nothing is known except that she had an extensive catalog. Then, the drawing joined a Parisian collection in the 1970s and at the beginning of 2021 it arrived at Jean-Baptiste de Proyart, Parisian bookseller and expert in manuscripts and old books. The few drawings by Isabelle Rimbaud are all the more precious as they constitute the last traces of the poet’s face. We recall that the question of Rimbaud’s face is a recurring one since his representations are rare. At present, five donors have mobilized since the launch of the call for donations. The city intends to acquire the drawing representing Rimbaud next September for a presentation of the latter to the general public in December 2022 within the Arthur Rimbaud museum.