April 2019

"William Steig's Sylvester and the Magic Pebble: A Golden Anniversary" Opens May 4

2010_4_125.jpgAmherst, MA --The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art celebrates the golden anniversary of William Steig's seminal book Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. Steig's famous fable tells of Sylvester Duncan, a donkey who discovers a magic pebble and accidentally turns himself into a rock. With humor and pathos, Steig illustrates an emotional tale of discovery, loss, and reunion. Above all, it is a story about the love of family. William Steig's Sylvester and the Magic Pebble: A Golden Anniversary is on view from May 4 to December 1 in The Carle's Central Gallery. 

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble has held a special place in readers' hearts for 50 years. Contemporary illustrators often cite the book as one of their greatest influences. The Carle is fortunate to have in its permanent collection Steig's preliminary sketches and dummy books related to the publication, thanks to the generosity of Jeanne Steig who donated over 1,000 art works by her late husband. The artist's daughter Maggie Steig has generously loaned the original published illustrations--along with her father's paints, tools, personal family photographs, and his prized Caldecott Medal--to the exhibition. 

"We have deep holdings of work by Steig in our collection," says chief curator Ellen Keiter. "It is an honor to care for his art and to share it with our guests, particularly during a special anniversary year." In addition to Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, The Carle holds Steig's art for 39 other titles, such as The Amazing Bone (1976), a Caldecott Honor book; Abel's Island (1976) and Doctor De Soto (1982), both Newbery Medal honor books; and Amos & Boris (1971), Dominic (1972), and Caleb & Kate (1977), all National Book Award honorees. Other favorites include CDB! (1968), Brave Irene (1986), and Shrek! (1990), an adaptation of which won an Oscar for best animated film of 2001.

Steig had a prolific and acclaimed career in the arts. Hailed as the "King of Cartoons," he produced a staggering 1,600 drawings and over 100 covers for The New Yorker during his lifetime. At age 61, Steig embarked on a second career as a children's picture book author and illustrator. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble was the third of his 40 books for children. 

The Carle has featured Steig's art in numerous exhibitions, most recently in Treasures from the Collection: A 15 Year Celebration. In 2004, the Museum organized the retrospective Heart and Humor: The Picture Book Art of William Steig. For this presentation, The Carle designed a charming tableau vivant of Steig's picnic scene--including a "Sylvester rock"--to engage visitors of all ages.

About The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art: 

The mission of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, a non-profit organization in Amherst, MA, is to inspire a love of art and reading through picture books. A leading advocate in its field, The Carle collects, preserves, presents, and celebrates picture books and picture-book illustrations from around the world. In addition to underscoring the cultural, historical, and artistic significance of picture books and their art form, The Carle offers educational programs that provide a foundation for arts integration and literacy.

Eric Carle and his wife, the late Barbara Carle, co-founded the Museum in November 2002. Carle is the renowned author and illustrator of more than 70 books, including the 1969 classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Since opening, the 43,000-square foot facility has served more than 750,000 visitors, including 50,000 schoolchildren. The Carle houses more than 11,000 objects, including 7,300 permanent collection illustrations. The Carle has three art galleries, an art studio, a theater, picture book and scholarly libraries, and educational programs for families, scholars, educators, and schoolchildren. Bobbie's Meadow is an outdoor space that combines art and nature. Educational offerings include professional training for educators around the country and Master's degree programs in children's literature with Simmons College. Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 am to 4 pm, Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday 12 pm to 5 pm. Open Mondays in July and August and during MA school vacation weeks. Admission is $9 for adults, $6 for children under 18, and $22.50 for a family of four. For further information and directions, call (413) 559-6300 or visit the Museum's website at www.carlemuseum.org.

Image: William Steig, Preliminary illustration for Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1969). Gift of Jeanne Steig. © William Steig.

 

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Book of Ottoman Dress is Top Lot at Freeman's Virginia House Museum Sale

Lot406 copy.jpgPhiladelphia — On Wednesday, April 10, Freeman’s had the privilege of auctioning nearly 500 lots from the Collection of Ambassador & Mrs. Alexander Weddell, deaccessioned by the Virginia House Museum to benefit future preservation, acquisitions and care of collections. With an impressive 98% sell-through rate and unprecedented registration from online bidders, the single-owner sale nearly doubled its pre-sale high estimate, totaling $1.57 million. 

Though originally chosen to describe the diverse contents that were collected by the Weddells during their personal and professional foreign travels, the auction’s overarching title: Across Continents equally befits the strong international interest that the sale ultimately generated. After a comprehensive marketing campaign targeted to a global audience, both new and established bidders from around the world actively participated in the sale, vying to acquire the fresh-to-market furniture, decorative arts, paintings, textiles and books from this time-capsule collection.  Members of the trade, private collectors, and institutions alike expressed serious interest in the collection, either with the intent of bidding or of furthering academic studies and contributing to existing scholarship.  

“This sale provided a rare opportunity to combine rigorous art historical research with the client service and global outreach that Freeman’s is known for,” says Head of Sale Tessa Laney, “Working on this extraordinary and important collection was a true dream for any auction specialist and an honor for us at Freeman’s.”

Success with Ottoman Decorative Arts

Top price was achieved just over eight hours into the marathon auction by Lot 406: A book of various types of Ottoman dress. Exciting a full bank of active phone and internet bidders, the rare book — containing 148 original watercolors by a follower of the artist Fenerci Mehmed — sold to a prominent private collector in the room for an impressive $137,500 (estimate: $4,000-6,000).  Costume albums by Mehmed are in the Istanbul University Library, the Topkapi Palace, and the Rahmi Koç Collection.  This climactic moment crowned a series of strong prices achieved for Ottoman decorative arts, preceded by the back-to-back sales of Lots 155: A large pair of 17th/18th century Ottoman cast and turned brass candlesticks, which realized $25,000 (estimate: $1,000-2,000)  and 156: An early 19th century Ottoman gilt-copper (tombak) ewer and basin that sold for $48,750 (estimate: $4,000-6,000). Decorative arts from the Far East also performed well, led by Lot 199: A finely cast and engraved Tibetan gilt copper alloy figure of a seated Buddha, 16th/17th century or earlier, that realized $42,500 (estimate: $8,000-12,000).  

Furniture Highlights

In spite of a market that is all too frequently bemoaned, furniture from the Weddells’ collection performed remarkably well, with many lots exceeding their estimates. Lot 49: A Nasrid-style early marquetry and ivory inlaid cassone, Venice or Barcelona, late 15th century, skyrocketed past its pre-sale estimate of $6,000-8,000 to sell for $59,375. Bearing similarities to examples found in notable institutions such as the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, this early and extraordinary chest elicited strong interest from national and overseas parties.  Other furniture highlights included Lot 296: An impressive Spanish Renaissance carved walnut refectory table, 17th century, that sold for $37,500 (estimate: $5,000-7,000) and Lot 309: A fine Spanish Baroque iron-mounted and velvet-lined parcel-gilt walnut Vargueño on stand, 17th century, that realized $28,750 (estimate: $8,000-12,000).

Strong Prices for the Arts of Colonial and Latin America

The arts of Colonial and Latin America emerged as a particular area of interest to collectors. Many of the lots the Weddells acquired during their time in Mexico City and Argentina with the help of Austrian art dealer Rene d’Harnoncourt, the former director of MoMA, sparked competitive and lengthy bidding wars. The pattern emerged early when Lot 40: A Spanish Colonial polychrome lacquer tray, second half 18th century, made over thirty-six times its estimate to sell for $11,050. This was succeeded by the lively sale of Lot 234: A Mexican biombo with emblems from Otto Van Veens Horattii Emblemata, 18th century, that brought $17,500 (estimate: $2,000-3,000) and Lot 242: A Mexican silver eight-light votive lamp in the Spanish Colonial style, bearing marks for Cayetano Buitrón, likely late 19th century, that achieved $17,500 (estimate: $2,000-3,000). 

Fine Art hailing from the region also fared well, with Lot 260: Cuzco School (18th century), The Death of the Virgin, selling for $26,250 (estimate: $12,000-18,000) and Lot 232: Mexican School (18th century), The Virgin of Ocotlán, realizing $15,000 (estimate: $3,000-5,000). The highest price for a work of art in the collection was achieved by Lot 253: Le Désenchanté  (The Disillusioned), a root wood sculpture by Stephen Erzia (Russian 1876-1960), which sold for $71,500 (estimate: $15,000-25,000). The Weddells purchased the work directly from the artist, whom they met in Argentina in the 1930s. Alexander and Virginia purportedly purchased three other sculptures by Erzia, which they donated to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. 

Institutional Acquisitions

Numerous lots from the sale will be finding new homes in institutions, both within the United States and abroad. Most notably, several objects - including Lot 79: A Flemish mythological or historical tapestry, mid to late 16th century - will be returning to their former neighborhood of Windsor Farms in Richmond, Virginia, having been acquired by Agecroft Hall and Gardens - the historic mansion directly adjacent to Virginia House.  Additionally, Lot 78: Portrait of a Court Lady, Bust-Length by Franz Kessler (1580-1650) will be presented in a couple of months to the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Cologne, Germany, where the artist was born and spent most of his life.  

Concluding Statements

The consistently strong performance of this varied collection that spanned countries, centuries and collecting-genres is testimony to Freeman’s success with single-owner sales, to its commitment to the proper and careful handling of institutional de-accessions and to its truly international reach. “It was a great pleasure working with the Virginia Museum of History and Culture on this de-accession,” remarks Freeman’s Vice President and Southeast Representative Colin Clarke, “This collaboration and the opportunity to handle such rare, first-rate material has definitely been one of the highlights of my professional career. It resulted in a beautiful exhibition, an in-depth and scholarly catalogue, and an exciting sale with results that speak for themselves."  

Image: Lot 406: A book of various types of Ottoman dress containing 148 original watercolors by a follower of the artist Fenerci Mehmed, sold to a private collector for $137,500 (estimate: $4,000-6,000). 

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Heritage Auctions' Americana & Political Sale Includes Collection of Robert E. Lee Photographs

Brady Portrait copy.jpgDallas, TX - Consignments from five private collections, including one of the most comprehensive private compilations of Robert E. Lee photographs (many of which are signed by Lee) ever assembled, will be among the highlights in Heritage Auctions’ Americana & Political Auction May 4-5 in Dallas, Texas.

“The Dr. Donald A. Hopkins collection of Lee photos is remarkable both for its depth and breadth,” Heritage Auctions Americana Director Tom Slater said. “The auction includes some 100 lots, many of which contain multiple images, and includes numerous signed photos, rare poses, and images by noteworthy photographers both North and South.”

A diligent scholar of his subject, Dr. Hopkins authored the book Robert E. Lee in War and Peace, which is extensively illustrated with examples from this collection.

Among the top lots in the auction from the collection of Dr. Hopkins:

·         Robert E. Lee: Mammoth Mathew Brady Photograph is a double-matted and framed photo showing a full view of Lee seated next to a table topped with an elaborate clock. This is not the same pose as the commonly seen “clock portrait” because of the position of Lee’s elbow in relation to the clock on the table, and other details.

·         Robert E. Lee: Full Standing "Blockade Portrait" Carte-de-Visite [CDV] by Vannerson & Jones is a post-war printing of the 1864 studio portrait by Vannerson, one of two taken for use by 19th-century artist E.V. Valentine as models for his sculpture. The offered image was printed from Vannerson’s original negative after he entered into a partnership with Jones.

·         Robert E. Lee: Unpublished, Boldly Signed Carte-de-Visite [CDV] is a vignette bust of Lee, taken during fall and/or winter of 1865-66 by Isaac N. White and Joseph Kelley, who took one outdoor view of Lee atop Traveller, Lee’s most famous horse during the American Civil War, and two indoor shots. It has a cancelled two-cent stamp on verso, and is inscribed “White & Kelley.” The offered CDV was kept by the Alexander family in Stuart’s Draft, Augusta County, Virginia from 1866-2013. It descended through the family and was found secured in the Alexander library inside a copy of General Lee: Great Commander Series by Fitzhugh Lee.

Other diverse categories strongly represented in the auction include political and presidential collectibles, Old West artifacts, items from the early days of the Woman’s  Suffrage movement, and antique advertising.  A rare Punch Cigar Store Advertising Figure Cast in Zinc, Circa 1885. Fashioned in the form of one half of the Punch and Judy puppet show, the Punch figurine remains the most elusive for collectors, and rarely comes to the auction market in such exceptional condition. Depicting Punchinello, the Lord of Misrule, with cigars in his right hand, the figure has “Wm. Demuth & Co. Manufacturers New York” cast in the base. A notorious distributor of pipes and cigar store trade figures, Demuth entered into a partnership in 1863 with Brooklyn-based foundry operator Moritz Seelig, to produce cast metal trade figures to sell through Demuth’s catalog.

In addition, General George Washington’s “Christmas Miracle” Crossing the Delaware and the Stunning Victory at Trenton is one of what is believed to be only three known copies of this exceptionally rare broadside hand-bill, titled “Fresh Advices from the Westward…” from the office of The Providence Gazette. American newspapers traditionally did not print Sunday editions in the 18th century because of the Sabbath, but the magnitude of the news in this rarity justified an exception to the rule. The only two other known copies are housed in the Rhode Island Historical Society and at the American Antiquarian Society. This is believed to be the only copy ever to sell publicly, having appeared in the American Art Association’s 1921 sale, “Americana Rarissima: A Notable Selection of Books, Broadsides, Letters.”

Other noteworthy offerings include:

Henry Clay: A Marvelous Rare and Highly Distinctive 1844 Campaign Flag Banner is the first example of this flag seen other the one pictured in Threads of History, which now resides in an institutional collection. The flag features a unique “folk art” portrait of Clay, and each corner of the canton contains part of the slogan “A Natural Currency / Revenue and Protection / Encouragement to Agriculture / Manufactures and Commerce.”

James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok: Perhaps the Most Important Known Autograph Letter Signed from this Old West Legend set a world record when it was purchased for $190,400 at auction by the consignor in 2003. Hickok wrote the letter to his wife, Agnes, in June 1876 at Omaha, Nebraska, where he was trying to put together a prospecting expedition to the Black Hills. He wrote the letter just a month before he was fatally shot by Jack McCall while playing poker, as he held a hand - aces and eights - that became known as the “dead man’s hand.”

John A. Sutter: A Superb Engraved Sword Presented to this Famous California Gold Rush Figure by the Sutter Rifles Militia Group is one of the great early California relics, having sold in 2008 for $172,000. Sutter owned the mill where James Marshall first discovered gold in 1848, and rose quickly to prominence, becoming one of the faces of the California Gold Rush and then becoming a (perhaps honorary) general in the California state militia. A unit known as the Sutter Rifles presented him with this sword, the scabbard of which was engraved with “Presented to Major General John A. Sutter / by Captn / A. Andrews / Sacramento City 1853.”

Zachary Taylor: Only Known Example Campaign Banner for the 1848 Whig Candidate and 12th President is in the style of campaign banners that attained extreme popularity in the 1840 and 1844 political seasons, but many seemed to disappear during the following two presidential elections. They enjoyed a resurgence in 1856 and rode the new wave of popularity through the remainder of the 19th century. This is the only example that Heritage Auctions ever has seen, in private or public collections, making this one of the most important political flags ever to reach the auction market. The flag is emblazoned with “Brave Old Zach” on the front, and “He protected the children” on the back - almost certainly a reference to the first event which brought Taylor national attention - as an officer in his first battle in the War of 1812, he commanded Fort Harrison, which came under attack by Indians who were siding with the British. Taylor rallied the troops, fending off the attack while allowing no harm to the women and children.

Among the 995 lots in the auction are more than three dozen Texana lots, including:

·         William Barret Travis: Legal Document Signed "W B Travis"

·         G. Woolworth Colton. Colton's New Map of the State of Texas

·         Texas: Circa 1840 Map by George Conclin

·         Sam Houston: Receipt Signed as President of the Republic of Texas

·         Texas and Rio Grande Land Grant Certificate

In the  Woman’s Suffrage category, the auction features the widely respected collection of Jeannine Coup of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the founder and editor of The Political Bandwagon, which reports on activity in the world of political items collecting. Highlights include:

·         Boldly Colored Trumpeter Button

·         Angelic Trumpeter Slogan Button

·         Rare Enamel Brooch

·         Susan B. Anthony Birthday Teaspoon

·         Billowing Pennant Enamel Brooch

Other top lots include, but are not limited to:

·         Cox & Roosevelt: An Almost Certainly Unique Black and White Variant of the Customarily Brown Whitehead and Hoag 7/8" Jugate

·         Jordan B. Noble: African American Drummer in the War of 1812 Personally Owned Snare Drum

·         George Washington: A Superb, Large, Signed Oil on Canvas Portrait by Philadelphia Artist Robert Street

·         U. S. Flags: Circa 1845 27-Star Flag

·         Sam Houston: Fabulous Life-Size Pastel Portrait by Harriet Anderson Stubbs Murphy

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New Photobook Documents the Notorious Burning Man

Compass of the Ephemeral, aerial photograph by Will Roger.jpgSmallworks Press, an independent publishing company specializing in limited edition, exquisitely-printed books focusing on contemporary art and culture, has announced it is producing and distributing the highly-anticipated Compass of the Ephemeral: Aerial Photography of Black Rock City through the Lens of Will Roger, the first book of aerial and drone photography by cultural co-founder of Burning Man, Will Roger.

Compass of the Ephemeral includes a collection of Will Roger’s photographs chronicling the ever-changing cityscape and transformation of Black Rock City, home to Burning Man and one of the harshest climates in the continental U.S. The book traces the history and transition of Black Rock City from a few thousand people in the late 1990s to the growing metropolis required to support over 70,000 citizens today.

As the first Director of Operations of the Burning Man event,Will Roger worked alongside the other five founding board members and all others involved to ensure that Black Rock City becomes a reality each year and then vanishes without a trace. He was instrumental in creating numerous foundations for the event, including: established the Department of Public Works (DPW), a workforce of volunteers dedicated to building and deconstructing the physical infrastructure of Black Rock City; actualized an FAA approved airport, and conceived traditions such as the Gold Spike Ceremony, a pre-event commemoration for the builders of Black Rock City, as the first stake is placed in the ground to survey and build the future city.

Roger says: “Burning Man is a blank canvas for people to come and create on. Burning Man creates a human empathy, then serendipity and creativity happens. Burning Man is the real world; everything else is the default world. People come away with changed lives and a changed culture because at Burning Man, everyone is human . . . there is no class, no color. You become family: human family, world family, global family.”

Compass of the Ephemeral also includes interpretive essays by William L. Fox, director of the Nevada Museum of Art’s Center for Art + Environment; Alexei Vranich, American archeologist at the University of California, Berkley; Tony “Coyote” Perez-Banuet, city superintendent of Black Rock City; Crimson Rose, cultural co-founder of Burning Man; and an introduction by Harley K. DuBois, cultural co-founder of Burning Man. Each essay explores the physical, cultural and artistic context and impact of the Burning Man event.

A preview of the book will take place at the Nevada Museum of Art on May 23, 2019, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in Reno, Nevada. Will Roger,William L. Fox and Crimson Rose will discuss aspects of the book with the panel moderated by Smallworks Press publisher, James Stanford.

Stanford comments, “I could not be more delighted that Will Roger chose Smallworks Press as his official publisher. Since 2006, Smallworks Press has been producing exceptional visual and interpretive works that reflect the interconnectivity of art and community, a vision that Roger has made tangible each year for the past 14 years, by visually documenting the uniqueness of Burning Man and Black Rock City and by his involvement and contributions to the Burning Man culture and infrastructure.” The book is scheduled for release June 18, 2019.

About Smallworks Press

Founded in 2006, Smallworks Press specializes in arts and culture publications and treats each book with a commitment to impeccable production, design and marketing. With more than 100 years of collective experience, the Smallworks Press team has enjoyed collaborating with a wide-spectrum of artists, authors and talent to create works with beautiful chromatic illustrations and stimulating interpretation with the finest print quality. Smallworks Press has international fulfillment through IPG and Gazelle, subsidiaries of Ingram Content Group.

For information, visit www.smallworkspress.com, email info@smallworkspress.com or call 702-577-6592.

ImageCompass of the Ephemeral: Aerial Photography of Black Rock City through the Lens of Will Roger, the first book of aerial and drone photography by cultural co-founder of Burning Man, Will Roger

"Cuban Caricature and Culture" Opens at the Wolfsonian-FIU in June 2019

Life magazine copy.jpgMiami Beach, FL — In a focused installation, The Wolfsonian-Florida International University will highlight the transnational legacy of Cuban graphic designer, illustrator, publisher, and caricaturist Conrado Walter Massaguer—a leading voice in shaping early 20th-century Cuban culture who is often credited for bringing modernism to the island nation. Cuban Caricature and Culture: The Art of Massaguer, on view June 8, 2019 through February 2, 2020, presents selections from a new gift of Massaguer material from collector Vicki Gold Levi in addition to loans and other Wolfsonian collection objects. Featuring magazine covers, advertisements, original paintings, rare sketches and personal letters, and caricatures of famous figures from Hollywood stars to royalty and presidents, the nearly 100 works on view call attention to Massaguer’s profound influence on design in both Cuba and the U.S. over his 40-year career.

“Conrado Massaguer’s art left an indelible mark on Cuba, helping to define not only what Cubans considered ‘in vogue,’ but also informing day-to-day culture and politics,” said Frank Luca, Wolfsonian chief librarian and the installation’s curator. “Though he won his international acclaim a century ago, his style remains fresh and imaginative in a way that still feels incredibly modern to us today.”

Added Gold Levi, “I first discovered Massaguer through his magazine Social when I began research for Cuba Style, a book I wrote with Steve Heller—I was immediately captivated! As I continued studying, collecting, and traveling to Cuba over the years, I only fell deeper in love with Massaguer’s witty graphics and simple, pure, evocative lines. I’m honored to collaborate with The Wolfsonian on raising awareness about such a versatile, talented artist.”

Born in the Cuban city of Cárdenas, Massaguer (1889-1965) was educated in both Cuba and America and frequently traveled back and forth, simultaneously building his reputation as a premier artist and art director in Havana and New York City. Over the course of four decades—and particularly during a brief exile in the U.S. during Gerardo Machado’s dictatorship—Massaguer became a prominent trendsetter in America by designing covers and illustrations for many of the leading magazines of the time, including Vanity Fair, Collier’s, Cosmopolitan, and Literary Digest. While he took many cues from American publications and artists for these commissions, Massaguer put a distinctly Cuban stamp on a 1931 exhibition of his work at Delphic Studios, a New York gallery. There, Massaguer’s impressions of his native country were placed front and center, with a uniquely Cuban flavor evident in the style and themes.

Back in his homeland, Massaguer likewise cemented his role in publishing by founding and art directing his own lifestyle magazine, Social, in which he nurtured the careers of numerous Cuban illustrators and caricaturists. From the 1920s into the 1950s, Social set the tone for Cuban values and taste, heavily publicizing the idea of the liberated and sexualized “new woman” (or flapper) and incorporating a bold Art Deco aesthetic. Massaguer was also central to Cuba’s tourism campaigns, creating striking advertising art that packaged Cuba as a product and sought to lure Americans south through vibrant visions of a tropical playground. His status in Cuban society brought him in close proximity to foreign dignitaries, politicians, and visiting celebrities, many of whom he parodied in his signature, New Yorker-esque caricatures.

Key works in Cuban Caricature and Culture are:

  • A humorous self-caricature used by Massaguer to announce his arrival in New York in the 1920s and introduce himself to the American art scene;
  • A sketch of Walt Disney paired with a photograph of Massaguer and Disney;
  • Several illustrations of the artist’s “Massa-girl” types, fashionable women with bobbed hairstyles that popularized the “new woman” ideal in Cuba;
  • Come to Cuba, a vibrant, early-1950s brochure produced for the Cuban Tourism Commission that touts the various attractions (dancing, beach-going, gambling, and horse racing) of “the loveliest land that human eyes have ever seen”;
  • A Social cover showing a Deco-style evolution of the “new woman”; and
  • A Christmas holiday advertisement for Esso made in the aftermath of the Allies’ victory in the Second World War, with caricatures of Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Charles de Gaulle, Chiang Kai-shek, and Santa Claus.

Massaguer’s immense popularity is reflected in a robust market for fakes that Cuban Caricature and Culture will address through a counterfeit illustration of Albert Einstein. By displaying this fraudulent piece beside a genuine version, The Wolfsonian will reveal the forger’s tactics for, and missteps in, mimicking the designer’s trademark flair.

The installation coincides with the publication of Promising Paradise: Cuban Allure, American Seduction, a new companion book to a 2016 Wolfsonian exhibition of the same name also drawn from Vicki Gold Levi’s gifts. Touching upon many of Massaguer’s groundbreaking works, the book is the culmination of twenty years of Gold Levi’s interest in Cuban memorabilia and photography, and a capstone to almost two decades of Wolfsonian support and ongoing gifts.

“The Wolfsonian’s collection is renowned for its examples of graphic design, yet until Vicki’s gifts just a fraction demonstrated the mammoth impact of Cuban culture on its northern neighbor,” said Wolfsonian director Tim Rodgers. “This new material marks an exciting addition that proves how our cultural exchange was indeed a two-way street paved in large part by Cuban artists and tastemakers. Sharing Massaguer’s story right here in Miami—the gateway to Latin America—is remarkably fitting.”

Image: Magazine, Life, January 19, 1928. Conrado W. Massaguer (Cuban, 1889-1965), cover illustrator The Wolfsonian-FIU, The Vicki Gold Levi Collection 

 

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2019 New England Society Book Awards Finalists Announced

WHAT: The New England Society in the City of New York (NES) is pleased to announce the finalists, or the “shortlist,” for the 2019 New England Society Book Awards, which recognize books of merit that celebrate New England and its culture. The NES Book Awards are presented annually to authors of books published in the previous year. Following tradition, the winning authors will be selected from this shortlist and announced to the membership at the annual Founders’ Day Celebration on May 15. The winners will then be lauded at a special evening at the National Arts Club on  June 27.  “Given the remarkable roster of Finalists and the broad range of categories and subjects explored by them, we look forward to naming the Winners of the 2019 New England Society Book Awards,” said Roland Foster Miller, the committee co-chair. “They will be stellar.” 

THE FINALISTS:  

ART & PHOTOGRAPHY

  • The Art of Curating: Paul J. Sachs and the Museum Course at Harvard
    by Sally Ann Duncan and Andrew McLellan (Getty Publications)
  • Winslow Homer and the Camera: Photography and the Art of Painting
    by Dan E. Byrd and Frank H. Goodyear III (Yale University Press)

FICTION

  • Still Life With Monkey by Katharine Weber (Paul Dry Books)
  • The Maze at Windermere by Gregory Blake Smith (Penguin Random House, Viking)
  • The Late Bloomers' Club by Louise Miller (Penguin Random House, Viking)  

CONTEMPORARY NONFICTION/BIOGRAPHY

  • Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine by Alan Lightman (Pantheon Books)
  • Eunice: The Kennedy Who Changed the World by Eileen McNamara (Simon & Schuster)

HISTORICAL NONFICTION

  • After Emily: Two Remarkable Women and the Legacy of America's Greatest Poet
    by Julie Dobrow (W.W. Norton & Company)
  • Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip's War by Lisa Brooks (Yale University Press)

SPECIALTY TITLE

  • Seaweed Chronicles by Susan Hand Shetterly (Algonquin Books)
  • A Naturalist at Large by Bernd Heinrich (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

WHERE & WHEN: The June 27 event is open to the public, offering all NES members and literary enthusiasts a chance to mingle with winners. This year’s event will be held at New York’s venerable National Arts Club and include a panel discussion with the winning authors, book signings and the awards ceremony. To purchase tickets, visit www.nesnyc.org/upcomingevents or call 212.297.2194.

WHO: Founded in 1805, The New England Society in the City of New York is one of the oldest social, charitable and cultural organizations in the United States. For more than 100 years, prominent writers such as Mark Twain, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louis Auchincloss, William F. Buckley Jr., David McCullough, Dominick Dunne and Nathaniel Philbrick have been honored by NES. The New England Society Book Awards carry on these literary connections and recognize books of merit that celebrate New England and its culture.

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Wolfson History Prize 2019 Shortlist Revealed

Wolfson copy.jpgLondon — The shortlist for the Wolfson History Prize 2019 is revealed today, celebrating the best new historical non-fiction books in the UK.

From a major new biography of Oscar Wilde, to an entirely fresh take on Queen Victoria as Empress of India, and from a history of the human impact of the Holocaust, to an exploration of the role of birds in the Ancient World, the books shortlisted for the most prestigious history prize, and most valuable non-fiction prize in the UK, each combine excellence in historical research with readability.

The Wolfson History Prize 2019 shortlist is:

  • Building Anglo-Saxon England by John Blair
  • Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi Persecution and the Quest for Justice by Mary Fulbrook
  • Trading in War: London's Maritime World in the Age of Cook and Nelson by Margarette Lincoln
  • Birds in the Ancient World: Winged Words by Jeremy Mynott
  • Oscar: A Life by Matthew Sturgis
  • Empress: Queen Victoria and India by Miles Taylor

Chair of the judges and President of the British Academy, David Cannadine, commented: “The great strength and depth of history writing in the UK is demonstrated by this year’s shortlist. It brings together a range of authors, writing very different types of history across many periods and from divergent perspectives. The unifying element is a commitment to share their meticulous research and passion for their subject with as wide an audience as possible. The task of the judges - although difficult - was a delightful one, and it is with great enthusiasm that we announce the shortlist for 2019.” 

Paul Ramsbottom, chief executive at the Wolfson Foundation, which awards the Prize, said: “The Wolfson Foundation awards the Wolfson History Prize to make a public statement about the importance of history writing to society. The Prize celebrates wonderful books - books that break new ground in understanding the past and which are written in an engaging and accessible style, attributes which each of this year’s shortlisted works skilfully demonstrate.”

Individual and personal histories feature prominently in this year’s shortlist, which includes works offering fresh insights into influential historical figures Oscar Wilde and Queen Victoria, and books exploring the impact of global conflict on ordinary people.

Oscar: A Life by Matthew Sturgis - the only work by a non-academic historian to be shortlisted - is the first major biography of Oscar Wilde in thirty years. Offering a wealth of new material to create a rich and moving portrait of Wilde and the era in which he lived, Oscar: A Life demonstrates why Wilde is as relevant today as ever and presents him as an inspiration to all those who seek to challenge convention. Empress: Queen Victoria and India by Miles Taylor is an entirely original account of Queen Victoria’s relationship with India, highlighting not only her cultural, political and diplomatic influence on India, but also how passionately involved with the country she was throughout her reign.

Two of the shortlisted works examine the impact of war, persecution and conflict on an individual, human level, bringing untold and forgotten histories to the fore. Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi Persecution and the Quest for Justice by Mary Fulbrook explores the lives of both the victims and the perpetrators of the Holocaust, illuminating the stories of those who have previously remained outside the media spotlight, while exposing official myths about dealing with the past, and the extent to which the vast majority of Nazi perpetrators evaded justice. Trading in War: London's Maritime World in the Age of Cook and Nelson by Margarette Lincoln is a vivid account of the forgotten citizens of maritime London who sustained Britain during the Revolutionary Wars, harnessing little-known archival and archaeological sources to highlight the pervasive impact of war.

Offering fresh perspectives on ancient history and exploring humankind’s relationship with nature, Birds in the Ancient World: Winged Words by ornithologist Jeremy Mynott, uses representations of birds in Ancient Greece and Rome as a prism through which to explore the similarities and differences between ancient conceptions of nature and our own. Meanwhile, Building Anglo-Saxon England by John Blair is a radical rethinking of the Anglo-Saxon world that presents the latest archaeological discoveries to reappraise the origins of towns, villages and castles, highlighting how the natural landscape was modified for human activity.

Judges’ Comments on the Wolfson History Prize 2019 Shortlist:

On Building Anglo-Saxon England by John Blair: “A guide to a world now almost utterly lost and wholly unrecognisable. Drawing on decades of research and richly illustrated, Blair's book provides us with a panoramic view and a startling new interpretation of the Anglo-Saxon world.”

On Reckonings: Legacies of Nazi Persecution and the Quest for Justice by Mary Fulbrook: “Quoting many moving accounts from victims of the extreme cruelty perpetrated by the Nazis, Fulbrook moves through the generations to trace the legacy of Nazi persecution in postwar Germany. A masterly work which explores the shifting boundaries and structures of memory.”

On Trading in War: London's Maritime World in the Age of Cook and Nelson by Margarette Lincoln: “Covering crime and punishment, shipbuilding and repair, smuggling and much more, this lively account recovers the forgotten people of maritime London, the commercial centre which sustained a global empire.”

On Birds in the Ancient World: Winged Words by Jeremy Mynott: “Charming, quirky, and lavishly detailed, this beautifully illustrated book helps us to understand ancient cultures from the unfamiliar angle of the ornithologist.”

On Oscar: A Life by Matthew Sturgis: “An authoritative and tremendously readable biography of Oscar Wilde by an author who brings to life a man whose anarchic genius never fades. A superb, original and balanced study.”

On Empress: Queen Victoria and India by Miles Taylor: “It is hard to write something new and original about Queen Victoria, but Miles Taylor succeeds triumphantly. An engaging and impeccably researched account that throws fresh light onto the British Raj. Victoria will never seem the same after this.”

The winner of the Wolfson History Prize 2019 will be named at a ceremony at Claridge’s Hotel, London, on Tuesday 11 June. The winner will be awarded £40,000, with each shortlisted author receiving £4,000.

The Wolfson History Prize is run and awarded by the Wolfson Foundation, an independent charity that awards grants in the fields of science, health, education, arts & humanities.

The Wolfson History Prize 2019 Shortlist will be showcased at a live recording of BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking, hosted at the British Academy in London, on Tuesday 7 May. Chaired by Professor Rana Mitter, the 2019 shortlisted authors will debate history writing and offer an insight into each of their books. Tickets can be purchased at: https://www.thebritishacademy.ac.uk/events/wolfson-history-prize-2019-shortlist

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Books & Manuscripts from Aviation to Exploration at Hindman LLC on May 1  

654_397_1 copy.jpgChicago — Hindman LLC announces the May 1 Fine Books and Manuscripts auction, featuring significant collections of presidential and first lady free frank covers, important aviation manuscripts, and a selection of science and medical books. These sessions, along with additional items in the categories of literature, including a collection of works by Dickens, artist’s books, travel and exploration, and other exceptional Americana, books and manuscripts will be offered in the auction and on preview in Chicago from April 26 to April 30. 

The collection of free frank covers most significantly features notes from George and Martha Washington. The free frank note from Mrs. Washington (estimated at $30,000 - $40,000) is exceptionally rare, as she died shortly after her franking privileges were granted. This example is one of only four of her franking signatures that are known to exist. The cover from George Washington dates to the year 1779, when he was serving as commander of the Continental Army, and has a presale estimate at $4,000 - $6,000. Additional franking signatures from James Monroe, Dwight Eisenhower, Jacqueline Kennedy, Julia Grant, and Sarah Polk will be offered in the sale.

Significant aviation materials to be featured include a signed photograph of Orville and Wilbur Wright and the certificate of incorporation for the Wright Company. The signed photograph of Orville Wright in flight is one of only three known examples with the signatures of both Orville and Wilbur to appear at auction in the last 40 years (estimated at $8,000 - $12,000). It was taken at Fort Myer, Virginia, in 1908, while Orville Wright completed the first ever hour-long flight. The certificate of incorporation for the Wright Company, a founding document in the history of aviation signed by Orville and Wilbur Wright and their business partners, will also be offered at an estimate of $20,000 - $30,000.

Highlights from the session of science and medical books include an early edition of Galileo’s Systema cosmicum, and a rare copy of Alhazen’s OpticaeThesaurus...eiusdem liber de Crepusculis & Nubium ascensionibus, a foundational work in the fields of optics and vision (estimate $18,000 - $25,000).

“Our May 1 Fine Books and Manuscripts auction includes a number of fine objects representing a strong cross-section of the books, manuscripts and Americana markets, and we’re honored to bring these highlights to market,” said Gretchen Hause, Director of Fine Books and Manuscripts at Hindman LLC.

The May 1 auction follows a successful series of sales for the department. The department opened their 2019 season in March with Part II of The Adventure & Exploration Library of Steve Fossett, during which several department records were broken. The auction was the second part of the single-owner sale of the library belonging to the record setting explorer, known for his achievements in aeronautics, mountaineering, racing and boating. The March 15 sale achieved a sell-through rate of 100%.The library as a whole realized over $890,000, making it the most valuable collection the Fine Books and Manuscripts department has handled.

Hindman conducts over 100 auctions annually and appraises thousands of objects throughout the year in addition to handling major single-owner collections. The firm is currently accepting consignments for summer, fall and winter sales. To contact the Chicago office of Hindman LLC, visit lesliehindman.com/chicago or call 312.280.1212.

Image: Photograph signed “Orville Wright” and “Wilbur Wright” taken for Collier’s Weekly by James H. Hare. 1908. Estimate $8,000-12,000.

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Rockwell & Wyeth Illustration Art at Heritage Auctions on May 3  

Wyeth Launcelot copy.jpgDallas, TX - A pair of paintings by the patriarch of arguably the greatest family of American artists could produce seven-figure results in Heritage Auctions’ American Art auction May 3 in Dallas, Texas.

Known initially for his depictions of cowboys, pioneers and Native Americans from the Old West, Newell Convers Wyeth started imaging medieval tales of romance and adventure in the 1910s. In 1917, he executed 17 works for the latest edition of Sidney Lanier’s The Boy’s King Arthur. This version printed with Wyeth’s illustrations became an instant classic and led to numerous other commissions for the artist, including Robinson Crusoe, Last of the Mohicans, and Robin Hood.

“This auction may be considered a syllabus on the history of Golden Age Illustration,” Heritage Auctions Vice President and American Art Director Aviva Lehmann said. “Alongside masterworks by blue-chip artists N.C. Wyeth, Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish and Joseph Christian Leyendecker, we also offer prime examples by lesser-known geniuses from this watershed moment of American Art--John Falter, Francis Xavier Leyendecker, Amos Sewell and more. This auction gives both seasoned and new collectors a rare opportunity to acquire fabulous examples of American Illustration at virtually every price point.”

Newell Convers Wyeth "I am Sir Launcelot du Lake, King Ban's son of Benwick, and knight of the Round Table," The Boy's King Arthur: Sir Thomas Malory's History of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table interior book illustration, 1917 (estimate: $800,000-1,200,000) is a magnificent illustration depicting the pivotal moment at which, after hours of battle, Sir Launcelot reveals his identity to Sir Turquine, thereby necessitating a fight to the death. Wyeth, who studied in the early 1900s with Howard Pyle, sought historical authenticity and collected props and costumes like the medieval armor seen here. This particular illustration, with its heightened emotion and Neo-Impressionist palette and brushwork, is a true star of the Andrew J. Sordoni Collection, 12 highlights of which are featured in this auction. The Sordoni Collection, one of the finest of Illustration Art, comes the Sordoni family and their beloved Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Also from the Sordoni Collection is a second masterwork from Newell Convers Wyeth. "Mr. Cassidy ... Saw a Crimson Rider Sweep Down Upon Him ... Heralded by a Blazing .41," Bar-20 Range Yards, Part VII - Cassidy at Cactus, The Outing Magazine interior illustration, December 1906 (estimate: $700,000-1,000,000) harkens back to Wyeth’s roots painting cowboys and Western pioneers and is significant as one of the earliest illustrations of the story of Hopalong Cassidy, the fictional cowboy created in 1904 by author Clarence E. Mulford. Here, vigilante Slim Travennes, having been caught horse rustling, desperately wields his .41-caliber pistol and flees town on horseback as Cassidy and his Bar-20 gang pursue not far behind. A 20th-century cultural icon, Hopalong Cassidy is one of collector Andrew Sordoni’s favorite subjects, variously appearing in this auction in paintings by Maynard Dixon, Frank Schoonover, and George Gross.

Norman Rockwell The Night Before Christmas (Santa Peering over Chair at Sleeping Child), Literary Digest magazine cover, December 22, 1923 (estimate $500,000-700,000) is one of 16 Rockwell works in the auction, 11 of which are from the Collection of Jack and Martha Campbell of Houston, Texas. Capturing in dramatic lighting a sleeping child and dog on Christmas Eve, with a jubilant Santa Claus peeping out from the shadows, this evocative and tender scene was featured on the cover of the Dec. 23, 1923 issue of Literary Digest and was Rockwell’s fifth and final cover illustration for the magazine. Executed between 1923 and 1968, the Rockwell works from the Campbell Collection represent a microcosm of the artist’s career and include important magazine covers, interior stories, book illustrations, and advertisements.

Frederic Remington The Broncho Buster #73, March 25, 1908 (estimate: $250,000-350,000) is the artist’s first and most popular bronze sculpture, which evolved into a symbol of the spirit of the American West. Revered for his two-dimensional narrative scenes of cowboys on the Western plain, Remington here focuses on the vigorous, muscular movements of the rider and horse without any extraneous background setting. The Rough Riders (a nickname given to the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry) gave one of the casts to Theodore Roosevelt in 1898; a different cast, presented to Jimmy Carter during his presidency, has remained in the White House ever since.

Maxfield Parrish A Man of Letters [The Mudball], Life Magazine cover, January 5, 1921 (estimate: $200,000-300,000) from the Sordoni Collection, exemplifies the artist’s winning combination of precise draftsmanship, strong graphic design, and amusing characters, making him one of the most celebrated early 20th-century magazine illustrators. Spotlighting Parrish’s whimsical self-portrait character of the artist or “seer,” the illustration shows a sign painter sitting precariously on a board, meticulously rendering the title letters on the Life  magazine cover as he is assaulted by a mudball wrecking his craftsmanship.

Joseph Christian Leyendecker New Year's Baby 1919, The Saturday Evening Post cover, December 28, 1918 ($100,000-150,000) resonates exactly 100 years after it appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post commemorating the Nov. 11, 1918 Armistice ending World War I. A twinkly-eyed, towheaded cherub, symbol of fresh beginnings, releases a dove of peace. This lot ranks among Leyendecker’s most famous Post covers, not merely by referencing a momentous historical event, but also by featuring his most iconic magazine character, the New Year’s baby.

Other top lots include, but are not limited to:

·         Frederick Carl Frieseke En Promenade, 1908 ($300,000-500,000)

·         Norman Rockwell Man with Fishing Rod and Bottle of Ale, Ballantine ale advertisement, circa 1950 ($70,000-100,000)

·         Frank Earle Schoonover “Skinny Dragged Him Over to a Crack and Settled Down for Another Try," Bar-20 Yarns, The Outing Magazine interior illustration, April 1906 ($70,000-100,000)

·         Thomas Moran Venice ($70,000-100,000)

·         Thomas Worthington Whittredge Flood on the Delaware, 1880 ($60,000-80,000)

·         Thomas Doughty Two Fisherman, 1828 ($50,000-70,000)

The Sordoni Collection comes from the family and Wilkes University, where generations of Sordonis have been involved with the university — the family donated a gallery to the university — and its art collection. This auction includes 12 lots from the Sordoni Collection.

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Autographs of Declaration Signers on Offer at University Archives' May 15 Auction

Declaration signers.jpgWestport, CT - Anyone looking to start, add to or complete their collection of signers of the Declaration of Independence will have that opportunity in University Archives’ next online-only auction, set for Wednesday, May 15th, starting at 10:30 am Eastern time. All but one of the Declaration’s 56 signers will be offered as individual lots - not as a set - many for the first time.

“Rarely do you see a nearly complete set of Declaration signers come up for bid, especially as single lots,” said John Reznikoff, president of University Archives. “Some of these signatures have been off the market for a hundred years. This is a rare opportunity for collectors to own a piece of American history, or more than one piece if they’re filling in spaces in their collections.” 

Mr. Reznikoff is no stranger to Declaration signers. Twice before he’s sold several complete sets once for well over one million dollars. “That was one of the finest sets in existence,” he remarked, “and the buyer was more than happy to pay that much.” Reznikoff added he’s probably sold more Declaration signer material than any other auction house or dealer alive.

Button Gwinnett - the only signer not in the auction - was a British-born American Founding Father and Georgia’s representative to the Continental Congress. He also served briefly as Georgia’s provisional president. The reason his signature is so rare is that he was killed in a duel by rival Lachlan McIntosh following a dispute after a failed invasion of East Florida, in 1777.

But the rest of the signers - from John Hancock to John Adams to Benjamin Franklin to Samuel Adams to George Wythe - are all in the sale, to include George Taylor (Opening Bid: $8,500); Arthur Middleton (OB: $7,000); Thomas Lynch (OB: $5,000); and Francis Lightfoot Lee (OB: $3,000). The Declaration announced and explained the United States’ separation from England.

Live bidding for the auction will be posted by April 25th. That’s when the full catalog will be available for view, at. www.UniversityArchives.com.  As with all University Archives auctions, it will be loaded with rare, highly collectible autographed documents, manuscripts, books, photos and relics. Internet bidding will also be available via Invaluable.com and LiveAuctioneers.com.

In addition to the Declaration signers, other noteworthy consignments include four items signed by Abraham Lincoln and two items signed by George Washington (with possibly more of each on the way); a large aviation archive; a letter written and signed by Founding Father and political theorist Thomas Paine; plus the usual smattering of scarce, curated and highly collectible items.

As with all University Archives online auctions, this one will be packed with important, rare and collectible signed documents and other items relating to some of the most famous names in all of history. The firm has become world-renowned as a go-to source for rare material of this nature.

University Archives is currently seeking quality material for future auctions. The deadline to consign for the May 15th sale has technically passed, but if anyone has an item or collection that might complement the trove of Declaration signers or other material pertaining to U.S. history, they may contact John Reznikoff, at (203) 454-0111, or john@universityarchives.com.

“We can offer up to a 100 percent cash advance and a highly competitive commission structure,” Reznikoff said. “We’re only able to do this owing to our position in the industry as the premier auction house for signed historical documents, letters and manuscripts. Our reputation is rock-solid worldwide and has been earned over a period of four decades. People respect us globally.”

University Archives was founded in 1979, as a division of University Stamp Company, by John Reznikoff, who started collecting stamps and coins in 1968, while in the third grade. Industry-wide, Reznikoff is considered the leading authenticity expert for manuscripts and documents. He consults with law enforcement, dealers, auction houses and both major authentication companies.

For more information about University Archives and the Wednesday, May 15th Internet-only auction, please visit www.universityarchives.com. For phone bidding, please call 800-237-5692.

Image: All but one of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence will be offered as individual lots in University Archives’ online auction slated for Wednesday, May 15th.

 

 

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