America's Oldest (and Largest) Society for Bibliophiles Celebrates Grand Reopening With French Book Exhibition

Courtesy Collection of The Grolier Club

After a 12-month-long, $4.6 million renovation, New York's The Grolier Club opens its Exhibition Hall doors to the public. 

Book lovers, take note. On December 14th, North America's oldest and largest society for bibliophiles and enthusiasts in the graphic arts, The Grolier Club, will unveil its reconstructed state-of-the-art Exhibition Hall in the members club's century-old building in New York's Upper East Side.

Founded in 1884 and named after the great French Renaissance bibliophile Jean Grolier, it makes perfect sense for the club to mark the unveiling with an exhibition celebrating a millennium of French artistry. Though it is private, and membership is by nomination, the exhibits are free and open to the public.

'French Book Arts: Manuscripts, Books, Bindings, Prints, and Documents, 12th-21st Century'  will be on view through February 2, 2019. The approximately 90 works are drawn entirely from The Grolier Club’s own rich and extensive collections.

The club will be covering a thousand years of artistic achievements, from Medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts to artists’ books and designer book-bindings of the current generation. 

Courtesy The Grolier Club

Notwithstanding the many hundreds of public exhibitions that have been displayed at The Grolier Club in its almost 135 years, it has never before offered such a broad and deep survey of the artistic and typographic monuments of France.

Among the highlights is a letter from Jefferson to his Parisian bookseller; portrait prints of the great and the good; Matisse’s major livre d’artiste of the Occupation years, Pasiphaé; and commemorative medals and documents. The Grolier’s patron saint, Jean Grolier, the “Prince of Bibliophiles,” is honored with six of his books, four in their distinctive Grolier bindings, and three documents, including his royal appointment as Treasurer of France when he was 20 years of age.

The exhibition's curator and long-standing member of the club, H. George Fletcher will lead free public tours of the exhibition during December 14 and 19 from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm, January 25 from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm, and February 1 from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm. No reservations necessary.