Vingt lithographies pour un livre que j’ai lu (Twenty Lithographs for a Book I have Read) was published in April 1945, just as the Second World War was about to end. It contains nineteen poems, all very specifically homoerotic, and the twenty accompanying illustrations of the title, but neither words nor pictures are attributed. There is, however, no doubt about the authorship of the poems or the artist of the images; this is an important and unique collaboration between Jean Genet and Roland Caillaux.

Caillaux’s portrait of Genet included in Vingt lithographies

Genet never wanted to recognise authorship of the poems, but both themes and style are unmistakably his. A few were also published in the popular magazine Parade, or included in the collection Poèmes, published by Éditions de l’Arbalète in 1948.

Caillaux’s images show him as a skilled and imaginative artist, who knew Genet and his poems intimately. It is a record of a tender and loving personal and artistic partnership.

Vingt lithographies pour un livre que j’ai lu was published with no imprint or place of publication, in a limited numbered edition of 115 copies. It was reproduced in 1996 by Cahiers Gay Kitsh Camp, but unfortunately the quality of the reproduction was very poor.