Ecrits sur l’art 1867-1905
Critical edition annotated by Patrice Locmant
Paris: Bartillat


The first complete edition of J.-K. Huysmans writings on art, including a number of pieces previously unpublished in book form.

This edition collects together for the first time all of Huysmans’ art criticism, published between 1867 and 1905. Thought-provoking and often controversial, Huysmans’ art criticism contributed to the evolution of aesthetic ideas at the turn of the 20th century and to the emergence of modern art. Huysmans was the first major writer to recognise the future importance of Impressionism, to appreciate its lively use of colour and to grasp the importance it conferred on natural light — in short to understood the bold revolution that was taking place in modern painting.

From the art of the Netherlands and Holland of the 17th and 18th centuries (Bosch, Brueghel, Van Dyck, Hals, Rembrandt...) to Impressionism (Monet, Manet, Degas, Pissarro, Caillebotte, Gauguin, Cézanne, Seurat...), through Symbolism (Whistler, Moreau, Redon, Rops...) on to the rediscovery of the Primitives (Grünewald, Van der Weyden...), Huysmans’ art criticism serves as a tour through some of the richest pages in the history of art.

A painter in language, Huysmans demolished convential notions of genre. At the frontier of art criticism and literature, his aesthetic writings take their place alongside those of Diderot, Stendhal and Baudelaire and constitute a singular witness of a 19th century aesthete on painting.

"Never has anyone written so well, so boldly about modern artists." CLAUDE MONET
"The only writer on art whose old Salons you can read from the first page to the last, and they still seem fresher than ever." STÉPHANE MALLARMÉ
"In the reliability of their judgement and in their execution, Huysmans’ books of art criticism are the only ones that have yet been written on modern art." FÉLIX FÉNÉON