A View from Europe: The Colmar SELAC Fair

Pausing only to put our snowshoes and extra warm jumpers away, Marcia and I went to the airport to go to the SELAC fair (Salon européen du livre ancien et de la gravure de Colmar). 

   

Colmar is a very nice little town in Alsace, just inside France. The border is so close that in the airport you choose whether to walk through customs into France, Germany, or Switzerland. 

   

Once there, we had a lovely time with 40 dealers from France and Germany. Having met up with Kurt from Catawiki, we set off around the fair. Two things particularly stood out for me here. One was the sheer number of excellent limited, illustrated editions by French authors (often in very limited numbers indeed), and the number of exhibitors who displayed beautiful visual pieces. Indeed, for me, this was almost a varied and fascinating art exhibition. 

   

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One of the first stands to catch my eye was Antiquariat Barbian, from Saarbrucken with some marvellous Chagall colour lithographs printed by Mourlot of Paris, such as this editions of Le Monstres de Notre Dame (above).

   

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Another stand with striking images was a local exhibitor librairie le Cadratin of Colmar. They had some wonderful images of the Alps, including this dramatic ascent of Chamonix by Adolphe Braun. 

   

chatillon.JPGMy final image was from a series of caricatures. Pierre Chatillon was a Swiss national, who had been imprisoned during the first world war for a less than flattering image of Kaiser Willhelm. Whilst incarcerated, he produced a fabulous series of original works, all caricatures of his gaolers and other German officers. This delightful image was my favourite (above). These were offered, along with some original Gustave Dore illustrations (below) by librairie Pierre Calvet.

   

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Naturally I couldn’t let the opportunity pass and brought far too many books. In fact so many that we had book extra baggage on the plane home and dragged Kurt along on a trip to Strasbourg in order to purchase a suitcase. Marcia was most displeased! My favourite purchase kept up with the theme of artistic items -- I picked up a lovely photograph album showing the carnival floats at Nice in 1897.

   

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Money and energy depleted, we set of home once again, to briefly rest before packing up our stock, and preparing for the Maastricht MAPF and TEFAF next weekend. 

   

--Marc Harrison and his wife Marcia run Harrison-Hiett Rare Books in The Netherlands. Images courtesy of the author. 

 

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