Théophile Gautier

1927 was a busy year for Clara Tice; her popularity and notoriety were growing and the illustration commissions kept arriving. Tommy Smith at New York publishing house Boni & Liveright was delighted with the reception of Clara’s illustrations for the Pierre Louÿs Society’s luxury editions, and high on the list of priorities was Mademoiselle de Maupin, French romantic novelist Théophile Gautier’s 1835 semi-biographical tale of the noted French opera star Mlle Maupin, who was a first-rate swordswoman and often dressed as a man. Originally the story was to have been about the historical la Maupin, who set fire to a convent for the love of another woman, but Gautier instead turned the plot into a simple love triangle between a man, d’Albert, and his mistress, Rosette, both of whom fall in love with Madelaine de Maupin, who is disguised as a man named Théodore – thus the book’s subtitle, Double Love. This play with gender roles and cross-gender lovers was very much to Clara’s taste.

Clara produced twelve illustrations for the book in her distinctive bold and colourful style. As with the other Pierre Louÿs Society editions, Mademoiselle de Maupin was produced in a limited edition of 1250 numbered copies.