Auctions | May 3, 2021

Selections from Letterform Archive at Swann Galleries

Courtesy of Swann Galleries

Paul Klee, Bauhaus Ausstellung Juli – Sept. 1923 Weimar, Weimar, 1923. Selections from Letterform Archive. Estimate $4,000-6,000

New York — In a two-day sale event, Swann Galleries will offer a special offering of deaccessioned duplicates from the rich collection of Letterform Archive on Wednesday, May 12, alongside the spring offering of Graphic Design on Thursday, May 13.

Courtesy of Swann Galleries

Selections from Letterform Archive will include 153 lots of graphics, books, posters and examples of typography. Within the trove of inspirational material are type specimens from around the world spanning decades of typographical innovation. Highlights from prominent type foundries include Schelter & Giesecke is Proben J. G. Schelter & Giesecke, Erster Brand, Leipzig, 1899 ($800-1,200); Berthold is featured with Garnituren Berthold-Grotesk, Probendruck Nr. 262, Berlin, 1928 ($400-600); Peignot & Fils with Album d’Applications des Nouvelles Créations Françaises, Paris, 1901 ($1,200-1,800); and Bauer with Hauptprobe in Gedragter Form der Bauerschen Giesserei Frankfurt am Main, Frankfurt, 1915 ($800-1,200), as well as many other foundries. Also featured is a plethora of design material and books from such luminaries as Eric Gill’s The Game, Dtichling, 1916–23, a scarce complete set ($3,000-4,000); Ladislav Sutnar’s K Catalog Design, New York, 1944 ($800-1,200); László Moholy-Nagy’s Bauhaus Ausstellung Juli – Sept. 1923 Weimar, a 1923 color lithograph postcard ($4,000-6,000); and Piet Zwart’s Serie Monografieen over Filmkunst,  Rotterdam, 1931–33, a series of 10 complete titles each illustrated with numerous montages of photographs, graphic elements, and film stills ($2,500-3,500). Also featured are works from Klingspoor, Karel Teige, Herbert Bayer, Jan Tschichold, Paul Klee, Paul Rand, Lester Beall and others.

On Monday, May 3 at 3:00 pm Swann president and specialist for the sale, Nicholas D. Lowry, along with Poster House curator Angelina Lippert will be in conversation with Letterform Archive founder and curator Rob Saunders for an auction preview. To register for the event visit
Graphic design will feature a wide range of material from early European Secession art to Modern design to Rock & Roll concert posters. Leading the offering is a run of works relating to Dadaism and the Bauhaus movement. On offer is Walter Dexel with an ad promoting the use of gas Verwende Stets Nur Gas, 1924 ($20,000-30,000); Alexander Rodchenko’s design for the Russian Society of Volunteer Air Fleet Dobrolet, 1923 ($20,000-30,000); and Johannes Molzahn’s 1929 work for an architectural and design exhibition in Breslau Wohnung Und Werkraum ($15,000-20,000). Also of note is a selection of works by El Lissitzky including Pro Dva Kvadrata, an inscribed 1922 publication of Lissitsky’s children’s fable about a black square and a red square that fly to earth ($8,000-12,000).

A run of works by American born artist and designer Edward McKnight Kauffer are set to cross the block with Soaring to Success! Daily Herald – The Early Bird, circa 1963 ($15,000-20,000); Keep It Under Your Stetson, 1942 ($2,000-3,000); and American Airlines / Paris, circa 1948 ($1,000-1,500), as well as a selection of dust jackets designed by Kauffer.

Significant works from Japanese pop-psych artist Tadanori Yokoo are available with Having Reached a Climax at the Age of 29, I Was Dead, 1965 ($20,000-30,000); The City and Design / The Wonders of Life on Earth, 1966 ($12,000-18,000); and Yukio Mishima / The Aesthetics of End, 1966 ($8,000-12,000). Psychedelic posters from the 60s include The Doors and the Canned Heat, 1968 by Günther Kieser ($3,000-4,000), and a group of seven posters by Victor Moscoso dating from 1966–67 ($1,500-2,000).

Additional highlights include Herbert Bayer’s circa-1925 ink and gouache maquette rendering of Universal Type / Breit Halbfett ($10,000-15,000); Alexey Brodovitch’s Bal Banal, 1924 ($8,000-12,000); Gerold Hunziker’s Bugatti, 1932 ($4,000-6,000); and Niklaus Stoecklin’s Der Buchdruck, 1922 ($7,000-10,000), as well as works by Otto Baumberger, Paul Rand, Ladislav Sutnar, Massimo Vignelli and more.

Limited previewing (by appointment only) will be available through May 11, to be scheduled directly with a specialist in advance and conforming to strict safety guidelines. Swann Galleries staff will prepare condition reports and provide additional photographs of material on request. Advance order bids can be placed with the specialist for the sale or on Swann’s website, and phone bidding will be available. Live online bidding platforms will be the Swann Galleries App, Invaluable, and Live Auctioneers. The complete catalogue and bidding information is available at and on the Swann Galleries App.
Additional highlights can be found here: Selection from Letterform Archive and Graphic Design.

Selections from Letterform Archive: Virtual Auction Preview with Poster House. Register via Zoom.