Auctions | January 28, 2019

Christie's Paris Presents the Book Collection of Marc Litzler

Paris — On February 20, Christie’s will present the Marc Litzler Collection, in collaboration with Bertrand Meaudre of Librairie Lardanchet. Composed of 248 lots, the Collection is notable for the quality and rarity of its illustrated editions and art books which comprise the majority of the sale.  On public view and to be auctioned prior to the traditional book fairs in Spring, this sale will mark the opening of the bibliophilic season.The Marc Litzler Collection features what is considered to be the first “Painter’s book”, L’Apocalypse, executed by the artist Albercht Dürer, the result of two years of work and published in 1498. This publication includes a series of 15 xylographies, while the dual text columns were written and printed in Koberger’s workshop. Dürer breaks with the traditional medieval representations of the 15th century with a new and personal vision influenced by his trip to Italy to study the novel works of the Renaissance, featuring more dramatic subjects portrayed through wood engravings, and partly inspired by Schongauer’s etchings.  L’Apocalypse is estimated at ??150,000 - ??200,000.

In contrast, the Marc Litzler Collection also features the groundbreaking Jazz by Matisse (1869-1954).  Marking Matisse’s transition to a new form of medium, according to Jean Leymarie the publication is comparable to “an album of chromatic and rhythmic improvisation…with a lively and violent aura”. Made of 20 stenciled colour plates "from Henri Matisse's collages and cutouts" and a signed text, it takes the form of a succession of Matisse’s reflections and thoughts.  Originally a gift from the editor Albert Skira to his wife Rosabianca for her birthday, this is offered with an estimate of ??200.000 - ??300.000.

Book lovers will also have the possibility to acquire the mythical object-book La Prose du transibérien et la petite Jehanne by Blaise Cendrars, illustrated by Sonia Delaunay (1885-1979). 

This copy comes from André Lefèvre’s library, one of the most important modern art collectors of the 20th century. Maintained in a notable condition, the copy is provided with a painted cover by Sonia Delaunay, and the stenciled announcement banner that became even rarer than the Prose itself. The estimate is set at ??150,000 - ??200,000.

The Marc Litzler Collection demonstrates a fascination for binding.  In addition to a predilection for Henri Creuzevault, the collector often mentions Les Cent vues du Mont Fuji, a masterpiece of the Japanese Print master, Hokusai, as one of his favorite books. Comprising three volumes, the copy was gently bound in the “Japanese style” by Jean de Gonet who used, for the flat parts, shagreen’s soft and tinted skin, and is estimated at ??50,000 - ??70,000. 

The bookbinding realised by Georges Leroux on Georges Bataille’s Madame Edwarda, is adorned with arabesques implying feminine shapes and luscious lips.  It is illustrated by Jean Fautrier and enriched with original drawings from the same artist who found inspiration from the erotic book he decorated (estimate: ??12,000 - ??18,000).

 A notable bestiary is another highlight.  Among the several illustrated copies of Histoires naturelles - Bonnard in 1904, Benjamin Rabier in 1918, Auguste Roubille in 1928 - the one by Lautrec is regarded as the most original.  His admiration for animals, which he talked about with all the confidence of a specialist, enabled Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) to produce this exceptional example comprising 22 lithographs, enriched by an exceptional Pierre Legrain bookbinding.  Estimated at ??40,000 - ??60,000, this example also features an Edouard Degaine (1887-1967) wildlife lacquer on the first flat, one of the few contributions by this artist featured in book form. 

Another bestiary, Apollinaire’s Bestiaire ou cortège d’Orphée (1911), in which the poet’s texts interact with the 39 woodcuts by Raoul Dufy, was finely bound by Jean de Gonet and is estimated from ??25,000 - ??35,000.  The Second Livre de la jungle (1919) by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), illustrated by Paul Jouve (1878-1973), is estimated at ??35,000 - ??45,000 euros, and this edition marks the beginning of the partnership between Paul Jouve and François-Louis Schmied (1873-1941).

In addition to the 130 colour compositions by Paul Jouve interpreted on wood by Shmied, the owner of this copy further enriched it with seven original gouaches by Jouve.

Among the plurality of the subjects which inspired M. Litzler, we must pay special attention to those books illustrated by Georges Barbier, a significant fashion illustrator, as well as books displaying Paul Poiret’s creations. 

Auction :  20 February 2019 at 2 pm

Viewings : From 15 to 20 February from 10 am to 6 pm except on Sunday from 2pm to 6 pm and Wednesday 20 from 10 am to noon

Christie’s : 9 avenue Matignon, 75008 Paris