Henri Creuzevault was born in Paris on April 4, 1905. As a young man, he worked with his father, Louis Creuzevault, a bookbinder. In collaboration with his father, he exhibited at the Musée Galliera in 1928 and received his first award. In 1930, he took over the workshop and business on Rue Villejust, which he later transferred to Faubourg Saint-Honoré in 1934.

In addition to bookbinding, he ventured into the publishing of luxury books, commissioning contemporary artists for illustrations. From then on, he pursued both publishing and bookbinding simultaneously. At the 1937 International Exhibition, Henri Creuzevault received the First Prize for bookbinding. In 1946, he participated in the founding of the Society of Original Bookbinding and took part in its exhibitions at the National Library in 1947 and 1953, in Lyon in 1949, and in various book events in France and abroad. Among others, he exhibited at the two Richesses de la Librairie française exhibitions in Paris and at the Art Council Collection of Modern English and French Bookbindings at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 1949. He also received a gold medal at the 1954 Milan Triennale.

In 1937, the City of Paris commissioned him to create bindings for the gifts presented to Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret of England, as well as for the Golden Book of the Monument of Albert I. Following the first exhibition of Original Bookbinding, two bindings—Le Bestiaire illustrated by Dufy and Mallarmé illustrated by Despiau—were requested for the National Library. In 1949, he bound Picasso's Buffon for the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Henri Creuzevault's activities in book publishing and bookbinding complement each other, but more importantly, they are logically intertwined. His technical knowledge and experience in the craft, combined with his sensitivity and taste, have shaped his aesthetic concepts, which are resolutely focused on the freest expressions of contemporary art.

By choosing Laboureur to illustrate "Les Trois impostures" by Toulet, Maillol for "Les dialogues des Courtisanes," Roland Oudot for "Sarn," Henri Laurens for "L'Odyssée," and Bernard Buffet for "La recherche de la pureté" by Giono and "La Passion du Christ," it is because he "sees" the illustrated book.

Furthermore, he conceived his latest works, especially "La Passion," as a series of engravings that dictate both the typography and the book's architecture. The artist composes his work and plans the layout, and in close collaboration with him, the publisher harmonizes the presentation of the text, which has become secondary, with the image.

This primacy given to illustration has led him to undertake limited edition publications of prints by Buffet, Marchand, Clavé, and Carzou. It is this same preference that determines the style, which is, in fact, very personal, of his bookbindings, with themes always inspired by a search for harmony with the illustrations.

For example, in the "Bestiaire" by Apollinaire, he composed a mosaic decoration in dark blue unsaturated calf leather on a grège background, reminiscent of the rhythm and density of Dufy's woods. He generally prefers solid color and material contrasts over the use of gilt tools and lines, skillfully playing with dark tones that oppose the matte surface of the smooth and light leather in an almost sculptural way.


Sources : Mobilier et Decoration N° 9 Decembre 1955