The 1901 almanac was produced in a luxurious edition, a first for Jarry. This collaborative enterprise between Jarry, Bonnard, and other friends took shape in the basement of Ambroise Vollard’s modern art gallery. The influential dealer (also the almanac’s anonymous publisher) had just begun to conceive deluxe illustrated books of poetry, now called livres d’artistes, as promotional materials for contemporary artists. Vollard’s first such project, Paul Verlaine’s Parallèlement (1900), was a showcase for Bonnard’s sensual lithographs. Jarry and the painter mocked its scandalous imagery in one of the almanac’s episodes; they also created their own suggestive text and images for several letters in “Ubu’s Alphabet.”
Alfred Jarry (1873–1907), Almanach illustré du Père Ubu (XXe siècle). Illustrations by Pierre Bonnard (1867–1947) (Paris: [Ambroise Vollard], 1901). The Morgan Library & Museum, gift of Robert J. and Linda Klieger Stillman, 2017. PML 197098, pp. 22–23. © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.