Auctions | April 23, 2013

Outstanding Graphic Design and Typography at Swann Galleries May 9


New York—On Thursday, May 9 Swann Galleries will conduct an auction devoted to Art, Press & Illustrated Books, which includes the first installment of material from the inventory of the late Irving Oaklander, whose eponymous shop specialized in books on printing, graphic design and typography, classic and modern.

Design enthusiasts will note the strong focus on German and Dutch masters with Theo van Doesburg and Kurt Schwitters’s collaboration Kleine Dada Soiree, the poster for their 1923 tour introducing artists and the public to the Dadaist movement (estimate: $20,000 to $30,000); several examples by Herbert Bayer, including an archive of material about the making of Arthur A. Cohen’s 1984 book Herbert Bayer: The Complete Work, containing books, sketches, letters and more ($1,200 to $1,800); as well as Jan Tschichold’s annotated De Proporties van het Boek, Amsterdam, 1955 ($1,000 to $1,500); and works by Paul Schuitema, Piet Zwart and Hermann Zapf.

Eye-catching advertising ranges from a group of more than 50 Bauhaus and Neue Typographie designs by architect and commercial artist Robert Michel for the Kahl Company, Frankfurt-am-Maim, 1927-30 ($1,200 to $1,800); to an original packaging design for electronic-device company Inventum-Bilthoven by groundbreaking designer Fré Cohen, a Jewish female graphic artist, Netherlands, circa 1935 ($1,000 to $1,500); to an archive of more than 100 mock-ups, preliminary, working and finished designs by Erich Teschemacher, Berlin, mostly 1920s-30s ($2,000 to $3,000).

Russian avant-garde examples include a suite of Russian propaganda prints published to honor the first anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, compiled by Vladimir Mayakovsky, Petrograd 1918 ($1,200 to $1,800); a copy of Mayakovsky’s Dlia Golosa, designed by El Lissitzky, once in the collection of painter Mikhail Larionov, Moscow and Berlin, 1923 ($5,000 to $7,500); and a scarce first edition of Osip Mandelstam’s Tristia, his second and most important work, Petersburg, 1922 ($1,000 to $1,500).

Among Russian illustrated books are the Ignatii Nivinsky illustrated Roman Elegies by Goethe, Moscow and Leningrad, 1933 ($2,000 to $3,000); Pavel Kuznetsov’s Turkestan, Avtolitografi [Autolithography], Moscow and Petrograd, 1923 ($2,500 to $3,500); and Viktor Vasnetsov’s Russian Proverbs and Sayings in Pictures, in unusually good condition, Moscow, 1910 ($3,500 to $5,000).

Oaklander highlights also include desirable works on typography, calligraphy and book design.

The sale continues with an eclectic assortment of art, illustrated and private press books.


Exquisite works on fashion are George Barbier’s tour-de-force of art, fashion and theater design, Le Bonheur du Jour ou, les Graces a la Mode, with 16 plates colored in pochoir by Henri Reidel, Paris, 1924 ($8,000 to $12,000); and two volumes of Modes et Manières d’Aujourd’hui, one a signed 1913 copy with 12 gouaches by Charles Martin, the other a 1914 volume with 12 gouaches by Barbier, initialed by him ($6,000 to $8,000 for the pair).

Modern and Contemporary art highlights are George Grosz’s Gedichte und Gesänge, 1932, one of only 33 on Pannekoek Holland, inscribed and signed by Grosz to his friend Thomas Craven, the American art critic and author ($3,000 to $5,000); Joan Miró’s Dibujos y Litografias colección Juan de Juanes, with an original signed lithograph, 1959 ($3,000 to $4,000); Dieter Rot’s Book AC, with 24 black-and-white paper die cuts, signed by the artist, New Haven, 1958-64 ($5,000 to $7,500); Fernand Crommelynck’s Le Cocu Magnifique, with 12 hors-texte engravings after Picasso, signed by both, Paris, 1968 ($10,000 to $15,000); and a run of works by Mark Beard, including one of only 10 copies of Nineteen Famous People, Twenty-Two Friends and Six Nudes, hand-colored photographs transfer printed onto handmade Arches, with additional hand coloring, New York, 1992 ($5,000 to $7,000).

Notable private press works are Kelmscott Press’s Poems Chosen of the Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, printed in red and black Golden type, Hammersmith, 1896 ($2,000 to $3,000); Corvinus Press’s The Diary of T.E. Lawrence MCMXI, on parchment substitute paper, London, 1937, one of the press’s most beautiful books ($2,500 to $3,500); and Cheloniidae Press’s The Birds and Beasts of Shakespeare by Arthur F. Kinney, extra illustrated by Alan James Robinson, signed and inscribed, and with a watercolor and pencil drawing, both also signed and inscribed, Easthampton, 1990 ($1,500 to $2,000).

Rounding out the sale are Limited Editions Club books, a small selection of Edward Gorey titles, and hard-to-find art journals.

The auction will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 9. The books will be on public exhibition Saturday, May 4 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Monday, May 6 through Wednesday, May 8, from 10 a.m. to  6 p.m.; and Thursday, May 9, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

 An illustrated catalogue, with information on bidding by mail or fax, is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at

For further information, and to make advance arrangements to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Christine von der Linn at (212) 254-4710, extension 20, or via e-mail at

Live online bidding is available via Artfact. Click on the Artfact link on the homepage.

First image: Theo van Doesburg and Kurt Schwitters' Kleine Dada Soiree, poster, 1922 (estimate: $20,000 to $30,000).

Second image: George Barbier, Le Bonheur du Jour ou, les Graces a la Mode, with 16 plates colored in pochoir by Henri Reidel, Paris, 1924 ($8,000 to $12,000).