Auctions | November 10, 2014

Doyle NY to Auction Rare Books, Autographs & Maps on November 24

On Monday, November 24, 2014 at 10am, Doyle New York will hold an auction of Rare Books, Autographs & Maps. The sale includes much remarkable material.

In musical autographs, one highlight is a very rare autograph transcription of Irving Berlin’s God Bless America, first sung by Kate Smith on an Armistice Day broadcast of her radio show in 1938, and now America’s unofficial second anthem. Also significant is the deluxe edition of Gershwin and Heyward’s Porgy and Bess (signed by George and Ira Gershwin, Dubose Heyward and Rouben Mamoulian) made more so by a fine inscription to Gershwin’s friend and collaborator Leo Reisman, and a group of associated materials including photographs of Gershwin and Reisman.

Literature is represented by two collections. The first, a collection of the works of Isak Dinesen [Karen Blixen], includes an autograph manuscript for Grotgard Alveson og Aud. Written when she was twenty, this is a most unusual offering - there is no auction record of a Dinesen manuscript. A second collection is of Charles Dickens, including a number of the works in parts, among them A Tale of Two Cities.

Americana includes the 1684 first edition in English of one of the great books in the pirate literature, the author of which, Alexandre Olivier Exquemelin, was himself a buccaneer. Bucaniers of America…, a remarkably fine copy, contains portraits of Exquemelin’s one-time comrade in arms Henry Morgan, as well as portraits of other buccaneers, maps, engravings of the sacking of towns, etc. Ironically, Morgan was not flattered by this account, and successfully sued the author for libel, winning 200 pounds in a libel action (a fortune in its own right). Two other works of note are the Jeffreys The Natural and Civil History of the French Dominions in North and South America, complete with all maps, and a copy of the very desirable first Hebrew Bible published in America, published in Philadelphia in 1814.

The fine arts are very well represented, with a group of six works warmly inscribed by Salvador Dali to his friend, El Morocco’s proprietor John Perona, several of which incorporate very fine and characteristic drawings. Also offered are livres d’artistes by Picasso (Lysistrata), Max Ernst (Les Chiens ont Soif and Dent Prompte), Icart (Colette’s L’Ingenue Libertine and others) and a wide range of publications, including several key numbers of Verve, Derrière le Miroir, etc. Representing book arts are a large collection of fore-edge paintings.     

Early printing includes Athanasius Kircher’s China Monumentis; a superb early 17th set of the works of Ronsard exquisitely bound for Robert de Montesquiou, the model for Marcel Proust’s Baron de Charlus; and a delightful suite of six superb engravings of vases by Le Pautre, whose vast oeuvre embodies thespirit of Rococo design. Science includes the first edition of the first edition of Einstein’s Die Grundlage der allgemeinen Relativitätstheorie, as well as an attractive signed photograph of the great physicist with unimpeachable provenance.

Lastly, on this seventieth anniversary of D-Day, are offered two remarkably resonant and interesting pieces. The first, a handsomely bound two-volume album titled We Remember, prepared for Lawrence R. Kelly, accidentally wounded on August 25, 1944 (the first day of the Liberation of Paris) by the grateful people of St. Cloud, France. The work incorporates original art by Marie Laurencin and Kees Van Dongen (among others), vintage press photographs by Robert Capa and Robert Sargent, as well as a large musical quotation by Oliver Messiaen, contributions by Irene Joliet-Curie and Colette Willy, and many hundreds of other signatories and contributors. The second is the archive of photographs and ephemera of Mary Berg (born Wattenberg), author of The Diary of Mary Berg: Growing up in the Warsaw Ghetto, including many images taken in the Ghetto between 1940 and 1943, poignantly showing the routines of family life amid the direst of catastrophes.