Courtesy of Rennert's Gallery

Femina, artist anonymous. Estimate: $4,000-5,000

New York — The 81st auction from Poster Auctions International on Tuesday, July 21st presents numerous never-before-seen designs, including 43 Spanish Art Nouveau posters, 16 hand-painted posters from North Vietnam and important works from Cappiello, Chéret, Loupot, Mucha, Toulouse-Lautrec and other renowned artists.

The Rare Posters Auction will be on view to the public from July 6th through the 20th. The auction will be held live in PAI’s gallery at 26 West 17th Street in New York City and online at posterauctions.com. The auction will begin promptly at 11 am Eastern time.

Jack Rennert, president of Poster Auctions International, Inc., said, “Despite the setbacks of a global pandemic, we are eager to continue our dedicated work with posters. Our 81st Rare Posters Auction will include not only the high-quality works that our collectors expect, but will also feature notable works that we have never had at auction before.”

The auction will kick off with a collection of posters from Spain, many of which are seen here for the first time. Largely from the Modernisme era, these designs herald the revival of Catalan culture and promote the democratization and integration of the arts, blending influences from Pre-Raphaelite painting, Japanese woodblock prints, and Belgian lithography. Highlights include Alejandro de Riquer’s 1900 The Four Seasons (est. $7,000-$9,000); Femina, by an anonymous artist (est. $4,000-$5,000); and Carlos Verger Fioretti’s 1911 Barcelona / Ciudad de Invierno (est. $4,000-$5,000).

Hand-painted posters from North Vietnam will also be available for the first time. These images, from the collection of Deborah Salter, express the struggles of the Vietnam War and hope for a better future. Artists responded to the sense of urgency by hand-painting—rather than printing—their posters for quicker dissemination to the vast rural population. Works of particular note include Thanh’s ca. 1960 All Working Together to Improve the Collective Economy (est. $2,500-$3,000) and Kho’s 1975 North and South We Are One (est. $3,000-$4,000).

As always, transport posters for bicycles, aviation, and automobiles are featured. Highlights include Penfield’s ca. 1900 The Northampton Cycle Co. (est. $12,000-$15,000), Livemont’s 1902 Automobile Club de France / 5me Salon (est. $6,000-$7,000), Bellery-Desfontaines 1905 Automobiles Georges Richard (est. $12,000-$14,000), Mazza’s 1910 Verona Concorsi Aerei (est. $14,000-$17,000) and Anonymous’ 1909 G.N.R. / Doncaster (est. $3,000-$4,000). Eight posters from the Tour de France are included, two of which are hand-signed by Greg LeMond.

Collectors of Art Nouveau have a plethora of heralded images to choose from. Bonnard’s 1896 Salon des Cent is always a must for collectors (est. $7,000-$9,000). Several images from Bouisset are sure to charm, including two versions of his iconic Chocolat Menier (est. $3,000-$4,000). Classic designs from Chéret include his larger-than-life 1894 Palais de Glace (est. $5,000-$6,000)—but the showstopper is his ca. 1905 Project pour Palais des Rois de Sardaigne : Painting (est. $17,000-$20,000), a joyous preliminary work for his mural in the palace’s gallery, which is visible to this day. From Malerba, a large-scale 1910 design, Mele & Ci. / Mode Novità, is sure to impress—as is Roubille’s charming ca. 1909 poster, Spratt’s Patent Ltd. (both est. $10,000-$12,000).

Of course, the pinnacle of Art Nouveau is Alphonse Mucha. 25 of his greatest works will be on offer, including La Dame aux Camelias (est. $25,000-$30,000) and Lorenzzacio (est. $14,000-$17,000), both from 1896. The artist’s decorative panels for the seasons remain classics of design, and several iterations will be available: his iconic 1896 The Seasons (est. $40,000-$50,000), the second variation of The Seasons from 1897 (est. $12,000-$15,000), and a rare 1900 variant of The Seasons with the imprint of L. Brancher and the complete titles and descriptions (est. $45,000-$55,000). Further works include his 1896 Job (est. $15,000-$20,000) and his 1899 Moët & Chandon (est. $30,000-$35,000).

The Belle Epoque continues to enthrall with Toulouse-Lautrec, who chronicled the gritty and enticing night life of Paris. Tour de force works include his 1894 Eldorado / Aristide Bruant (est. $70,000-$90,000), the 1893 Caudieux (est. $35,000-$40,000), and the 1893 Jane Avril (est. $70,000-$90,000). Most notably, his stupendous 1896 La Chaîne Simpson will be available for the first time in nine years (est. $70,000-$90,000).

Offerings from the Art Deco era are similarly robust. 39 works from the legendary Cappiello trace his career from 1900 to 1938, and include Pneumatiques Torrilhon (est. $7,000-$9,000); a spirited 1919 signed gouache maquette, Le Printemps (est. $14,000-$17,000); the playful 1928 Porto Pitters (est. $8,000-$10,000); and his enchanting ca. 1907 Cognac Gautier Frères (est. $7,000-$9,000).

From Charles Loupot, Art Deco classics include the 1925 Huile Raoul Citroën (est. $14,000-$17,000) and the 1930 Cointreau (est. $6,000-$7,000). Most notably, two impressive maquettes will be on offer: the ca. 1917 L’Impartial (est. $7,000-$9,000) and a full-size St. Raphaël drawing from 1947 (est. $40,000-$50,000).

Public viewings will be held daily from July 6-20. For more information and to download the digital catalogue, visit www.posterauctions.com. You may call the gallery at (212) 787-4000.

Jack Rennert, president of Rennert’s Gallery / PAI, is the world’s foremost authority on rare original poster art, and is the author of over a dozen books on the subject, including the catalogue raisonée for the “father” of modern French poster art, Leonetto Cappiello.

Category
Courtesy of Hindman Auctions

A remarkable archive of 203 signed documents from 16 Chief and 93 Associate Justices of the United States Supreme Court from 1789-2017 sold for $25,000.

Chicago – Hindman’s auction of Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts including Americana realized $461,725, achieving strong sell-through rates of 94% by lot and 113% by value. Following the success of a record-setting 2019 for the Books and Manuscripts department, Hindman’s first Fine Books and Manuscripts including Americana auction of the year once again exceeded expectations. Strong presale interest and competitive bidding across multiple telephones and four online auction platforms drove the result past the presale estimate of $327,600 to a total $461,725 and sold a remarkable 94% of lots.

The outstanding results of this week’s sale confirms that our strategy of offering works of the highest quality and rarity continues to resonate with the market. We were particularly honored to hold the sale of books from the collection of Rhoda H. Clark and the Monastery Hill Bindery, and were pleased with the result of the miniature of John Fleming’s 57th Street Library and Gallery.

The auction’s top lot, a remarkable archive of 203 signed documents from 16 Chief and 93 Associate Justices of the United States Supreme Court from 1789-2017 (Lot 287), sold for $25,000. The most complete collection of Justice’s signatures to ever be offered at auction, the collection included the signatures of every justice from John Jay through William Rehnquist, and featured excellent examples of even the rarest justices, including James Iredell, Alfred Moore, Robert Trimble, John Catron, John McKinley and Peter V. Daniel. The lot also included examples from three judges that were nominated but never confirmed to the Court: Robert Hanson Harrison, Ebenezer R. Hoar, and George H. Williams.

The auction also featured the historic Collection of Rhoda H. Clark and the Monastery Hill Bindery, which realized over $88,000 against a presale estimate of $69,750. Monastery Hill Bindery, one of the oldest businesses in Chicago, was founded by Clark’s great-grandfather in 1868. Enthusiastic bidding sent many lots from the collection well past their presale estimates. The top lot from the collection was Lossing’s The Pictorial Field-Book of the Revolution (Lot 282). The eight-volume set bound with additional original documents and correspondence from several Founding Fathers sold for $10,625 against a presale estimate of $4,000-6,000. Additionally, a copy of William Lloyd Garrison’s biography (Lot 252), also bound with several original documents from notable political figures and abolitionists, sold for $6,875 against a presale estimate of $4,000-6,000.

Among the many highlights in the sale was a miniature of John Fleming’s 57th Street Library and Gallery (Lot 205), selling for $11,250, almost 8 times the presale estimate of $1,500-2,500. The miniature of the gallery of one of the most important antiquarian booksellers in the United States in the 20th-century, contained an array of meticulously crafted accoutrements including six miniature books, numerous miniature "book" models, miniature furnishings and silver.

Far exceeding expectations, a rare Kelmscott Press pamphlet entitled When Adam Delved and Eve Span..., together with 3 draft prospectuses with holograph corrections vaulted past its pre-sale estimate of $500-700, selling for $6,000.

The Fine Books and Manuscripts Including Americana auction was held at Hindman’s Chicago saleroom on June 23, 2020 with all bidders participating remotely. As has been the trend throughout the spring and early summer, online bidding largely drove the action, accounting for over 46% of the sale’s total.

Hindman is now welcoming consignments for the next Fine Books and Manuscripts auction to be held in November. For more details and to see full results for the auction, please visit HindmanAuctions.com.

Category

New York — Swann Galleries announces Deborah Rogal as the new Director of the Photographs & Photobooks department, as longtime Swann Vice President and Photo Director Daile Kaplan steps down after 30 years with the house.

Deborah Rogal joined the Swann Galleries’ Photographs & Photobooks department in 2006, and has served as its Associate Director since 2014. She has presided over numerous sales of private collections of photobooks and rare photographs, including the 2012 sale of Edward S. Curtis' North American Indian, the first million-dollar lot at Swann ($1,440,000 in October of 2012). Rogal has contributed to the burgeoning vernacular photography market, which was spearheaded by Kaplan, and has introduced and contextualized never-before-seen imagery uniquely offered at Swann. “I have had the pleasure of working with Daile for most of my professional career, and I could not have asked for a better mentor and colleague. I am thrilled and honored to be stepping into the role of Director now, and look forward to continuing Swann’s long relationship with the photographic medium,” Rogal commented.

Rogal has lectured about collecting, and in the last two years has made several appearances on the PBS television show Antiques Roadshow as an appraiser. She has a wide-ranging expertise, but holds special interest in Depression-era photography, the Photo-Secession, and photobooks from all periods. Rogal’s alma mater is Smith College (’05).

Daile Kaplan joined the team at Swann in 1990. Over the intervening years Kaplan has helped transform the vintage photography auction market. Among the innovations she has brought to the industry were the introduction of photobooks to the auction canon, and transforming vernacular photography from a past time into an international pursuit. Of the transition Kaplan remarked, “I am moving on from Swann with a sense of gratitude and expectation that, with the promotion of Deborah Rogal to Director, the department is in great hands.”

Swann is currently accepting consignments for the fall 2020 season. For more information visit swanngalleries.com or download the Swann Galleries App.

Category

New York — When the pandemic caused a virtual halt to Marvin Getman’s Antiquarian Book Fair Business in early March, he put pencil to paper, or more appropriately, mouse to computer and started designing a concept he had thought about often but never had time to pursue. He teamed up with Paul Mills of Antiquarian Auctions to develop and host the site in South Africa and hired a designer on the west coast. The result, Getman’s Virtual Book and Paper Fair was rolled out in early May. By all accounts it was a huge success! About 5,000 people visited the site with many “entering” the minute it opened at noon on Tuesday June 2. “I was holding my breath at 11:59 a.m. hoping that the system wouldn’t crash. That was the first big test of the reliability of the servers in the cloud. As we have seen at other virtual fairs, servers have a way of breaking down when many people click on a site at the same time. Thankfully, ours did not”.  108 dealers signed up for the first fair largely on the reputation Getman has developed over his years as a producer who puts his dealers first and promotes heavily to attract an audience. Getman’s live fairs have taken place in Boston, Manhattan, Brooklyn and Greenwich, CT.

There was a 28% sell-through of the listings at the first fair. A percentage that would be unheard of at a live fair. The average sale was in the mid $500’s as the sales ranged from $6800 down to $40. He allows dealers to list up to 15 items and his rental pricing structure allows dealers to list items in all price ranges while not breaking the bank with high rents. And, of course, the fact that dealers do not have the stress of traveling to and setting up for a live fair is a big plus. Getman looks forward to the day when live fairs return post-Covid, but realistically, does not see that happening anytime soon. We are all hoping for a vaccine but no-one knows when that will happen

Getman plans to run the virtual fair on the first Tuesday of each month to get people in the habit of looking forward to seeing dealers’ best and newest inventory. When asked why he limits the dealers to fifteen items, he explains that the purpose of the site is to feature dealers’ best and freshest items and he foresees that over time, dealers will save those items to feature on the next monthly fair. For now, the fairs are limited to 150 dealers but as demand increases, Getman is open to the possibility of increasing the frequency.

There will also be some special productions. The popular Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair is expected to  be virtual this year on its traditional weekend after Labor Day. That fair will include many special features, including an exhibit centered around the Beach Boys as well as seminars on a wide range of subjects.  Getman hopes that these events will bring in a diverse audience similar to his live Brooklyn fairs.  And, with the market now expanded worldwide, a whole new audience can join the fun.

Other book fair producers have made note of Getman’s virtual fair with its clean design and ease of use for both buyer and seller with requests for licensing arrangements. In fact, Rare Books LA has reached an agreement with Getman to host their book fair scheduled for October on his virtual fair platform. In an announcement to her exhibitors, Jen Johnson stated “We have entered into an agreement with Impact Events Group (IEG), producers of Getman Virtual fairs, to use their customized platform for our virtual book fair. IEG combines a dynamic, searchable, and visual shopping experience for customers with an easy to use and intuitive backend system for exhibitors to load their materials. We will use all of our marketing and promotional know how to make Rare Books LA Virtual a huge success for all participants.

The next two Getman’s Virtual Book and Paper Fairs are scheduled to begin on July 7th and August 4th. For additional information about exhibiting at one of Getman’s Virtual fairs, contact him at getmansvirtual@gmail.com.

Category
Courtesy of Swann Galleries

Johann Baptist Homann and Heirs, Atlas Mapparum Geographicarum Generalium & Specialium Centum Foliis, Nuremberg, circa 1750s. Estimate $12,000 to $15,000

New York — Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books comet to auction at Swann Galleries on Thursday, July 9. American cartography and atlases that span the globe and the centuries, as well as noteworthy treasures by John James Audubon feature in the sale.

Maps of America include the important John White and Theodor de Bry map of Virginia—the first showing in accurate detail any part of what is now the United States ($8,000-12,000); and a rare 1755 edition of the Fry & Jefferson map of the Most Inhabited Part of Virginia Containing the Whole Province of Maryland with part of Pensilvania, New Jersey and North Carolina ($12,000-18,000). Several Johannes van Keulen circa 1700 charts are in the sale, including the Carolina and Georgia coast ($2,500-3,500) and New England from Manhattan to Nantucket ($3,000-5,000).

Further maps of note include manuscript plats compiled by the Separatist Society of Zoar, Ohio, that were intended for the organization of a new communal village in 1882 ($500-750); a rare first edition, first state of Braddock Mead’s Map of the Most Inhabited Part of New England, 1755 ($10,000-15,000); a circa 1814–16 “schoolgirl map” of east coast of the United States by Catharine Beecher—a major figure in early nineteenth-century American women’s education—made as a young student herself ($1,500-2,500); California as a massive island in Nicolas Sanson’s Le Nouveau Mexique et la Floride, 1656 ($3,000-5,000); and German editions of Captain John Smith’s maps of New England and Virginia ($4,000-6,000, apiece).

Atlases include first editions of all the volumes of Henri Chatelain’s Atlas Historique, 1705–20 ($15,000-20,000); Heirs of Homann’s mid-eighteenth century Atlas Mapparum Georgraphicarum Generalium & Specialium Centum Foliis; and eighteenth-century charts of American waters in The English Pilot, Fourth Book, 1789 ($12,000-18,000). Samuel N. Gaston’s The Campaign Atlas for 1861, a small Civil War atlas never before seen at auction ($1,000-1,500), and another unusual item with no previous auction records: United States Coast Survey topographical engineer Joseph Enthoffer’s 1869 atlas of templates designed to teach topographical drawing to Army officers ($1,500-2,500). Also included is a 1676 revision of the Mercator Hondius Atlas Minor expanded to include 24 more maps than the previous edition ($8,000-12,000).

Color plate books feature John James Audubon’s first octavo edition of The Birds of America, 1840–44, signed and inscribed to the Baltimore author and original subscriber of this work, Brantz Mayer ($18,000-22,000). Additional works by Audubon include Robert Havell editions, featuring his masterful Great Blue Heron, plate CCXI, 1834 ($40,000-60,000), and a pristine example of the Golden Winged Woodpecker, plate XXXVII, 1828 ($4,000-6,000). A massive collection of over 750 mostly American bookplates and ownership labels from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries ($2,000-3,000), and exquisite Art Nouveau botanical plates from Eugène Grasset’s La Plante et Ses Applications Ornementales, 1896 ($4,000-6,000), also feature.

Historical prints and drawings feature an unusual painting on cobweb fibers of a Tyrolean peasant couple, circa 1870s, for the Swiss tourist trade ($400-600); a group of plates from 1841 including imposing portraits of Native Americans by Karl Bodmer ($3,000-4,000); and an effective circa 1885-90 watercolor of an owl by Scottish painter Archibald Thorburn ($3,000-5,000).

Limited previewing (by appointment only) will be available from July 6 through July 8. Swann Galleries staff will prepare condition reports and provide additional photographs of material on request. Advance order bids can be placed directly 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 www.swanngalleries.com and on the Swann Galleries App.

Category
Courtesy of Christie's

London – Open for bidding from today until 16 July, Eureka! is a journey through the scientific and technological breakthroughs that have formed the modern world, and the brilliant minds that lay behind them. From Thomas Edison’s pioneering design for the lightbulb to Crick and Watson’s celebrated discovery of the structure of DNA, from a Second World War Enigma Machine to the invention of in vitro fertilisation, from Albert Einstein to Stephen Hawking, this online auction provides collectors with an opportunity to acquire a slice of history that has shaped the world we live in.

Among the highlight lots offered is the Nobel Prize Medal awarded to British Scientist Sir Robert Edwards in 2010, for the development of human in vitro fertilisation (IVF) therapy (illustrated right, estimate: £500,000-800,000). Edwards’ pioneering research, alongside his two collaborators Patrick Steptoe and Jean Purdy, eventually led to the birth of Louise Brown on 25 July 1978, marking the first conception and birth by IVF. In the years that followed, procedures were undertaken in Australia and the USA, then across the world.

Following Christie’s successful sale of personal items from the estate of Professor Stephen Hawking in 2018’s inaugural online auction On the Shoulders of Giants which were 100% sold, bidders will also have the opportunity to purchase a number of unique items directly offered from the late physicist’s estate. Highlights include a rare Hawking portrait by Anton Corbijn, the creative director best known for the visual output of Depeche Mode and U2 (estimate: £1,000-1,500), and a Simpsons figurine of him made by Playmates Toys (illustrated left, estimate: £500-800). These rare items provide a remarkable insight into the cultural interests, personality and sense of fun of this extraordinary man.

Continuing the theme of pioneers and life-changing discoveries, the sale also offers seven autographed and annotated design drawings by American inventor Thomas Edison for his lightbulb and related innovations (illustrated below left, estimate: £60,000-90,000). Each sketch testifies to Edison’s continued work on the electric lamp throughout the 1880s, as well as offering an example of the related inventions that filled his design notebooks. The online sale also features an extraordinary collection of 50 patents from famous inventor Nikola Tesla’s most fruitful period, comprising almost half of all the patents granted to him. The collection includes Tesla’s patent for the invention of the radio, one of the key technological discoveries of the last century; for the ‘Tesla coil’, which was the basis of his method of wireless power transmission; for remote-controlled devices, which anticipated robotics; and those for his systems of power transmission, AC motors, generators, incandescent arc-lighting, transformers, etc. (illustrated below right, estimate: £120,000-160,000). These patents are the originals issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Eureka! will also feature one of the rarest and hardest to decrypt Enigma Machines, a four-rotor (“M4”) used by the German Navy's U-boat fleet to send encrypted messages during WWII, which Allied efforts tried to break under the leadership of Alan Turning at Bletchey Park and of Joe Desch in Dayton, Ohio. It is thought that fewer than 100 M4 Enigmas survived the war as they were produced in much smaller quantities than the 3-rotor machines (illustrated right, estimate: £200,000-300,000).

Sophie Hopkins, Christie’s Specialist in Manuscripts and Archives, London, comments, “The Christie’s Books & Manuscripts department has hit upon a winning formula with our online science sales, which routinely attract hundreds of buyers and bidders from across the globe – many of them new to the auction world and to book collecting – all drawn by a carefully curated selection of autograph material, printed books, photographs and association objects from the most brilliant scientific minds of the modern age. For this sixth iteration in our hugely successful series, we are delighted to offer rare items from revolutionary thinkers of the 20th century – from Albert Einstein to Richard Feynman and another engaging tranche of material from the personal collection of Professor Stephen Hawking, this sale is a rare opportunity to acquire a range of unique items chronicling brilliant minds’ lives and their visionary work.”

Category

London — Ronald H. Spector’s definitive history of World War II in the Pacific, Eagle Agaisnt the Sun, is new from The Folio Society, published to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VJ Day.

Courtesy of the Folio Society

From the opening account of the raid on Pearl Harbor to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Eagle Against the Sun chronicles the American war against Japan. This striking edition includes entirely new hand-drawn maps and 32 pages of carefully curated black and white photographs, offering readers a stunning visual companion to Spector’s dazzling, balanced and complete account.

Since its initial publication in 1985, Eagle Against the Sun has become established as the most comprehensive single-volume work on the Pacific war, and was awarded the Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Prize for Naval History in 1986. It is so acclaimed that it is compulsory reading for cadet-officers at the United States military academy, West Point.

As a veteran of the US Marines in Vietnam, Spector could draw upon first-hand experience of an active warzone in the Far East. He writes powerfully about the contribution of African American troops at a time when the US military remained segregated, and the participation of women in the armed forces.

This edition includes a specially commissioned foreword by Paul Kennedy who is a Dilworth Professor of History at Yale University. Complete with a striking binding that is emblematic of the conflict, this edition is a tribute to Spector’s staggering account of one of the most horrific theatres of war in human history.

Product information

Bound in blocked three-quarter cloth with a cloth front board. Binding screen-printed and blocked with a design by Neil Gower. 33 pages of black & white plates, 3 maps. 688 pages. Set in Quadraat Pro Printed map endpapers. Pictorial slipcase. 10 ̋ x 63/4 ̋. UK £75 US $115 Can $145 Aus $165

Courtesy of Heritage Auctions

The splash page Jack Kirby's X-Men No. 4 (1964).

Dallas – Most of them are here, their creations spread far and wide among the more than 500 pieces of original comic-strip and comic-book art found in Heritage Auction’s July 9-12 Comics & Comic Art event -- the greats, as well as The Greatest Who Ever Was.

The estimable roll call includes The Pioneers: Krazy Kat creator George Herriman, Wally Wood, Dick Tracy’s Chester Gould, Charlie Brown’s father Charles Schulz, Will Eisner, Harvey Kurtzman. The Revolutionaries: Moebius, Frank Miller, Todd McFarlane, Chris Ware. The Freaks: Robert Crumb, Gilbert Shelton, Zippy’s Bill Griffith and Peter Bagge. The Icons: Frank Frazetta, Joe Kubert, Curt Swan, Neal Adams, John Buscema.

And Jim Davis, who has unleashed more than two dozen Garfield strips that until now have never been out of his sight.

That’s to name but a few of the many artists here who breathed life into superheroes, gave flight to writers’ fancies and continue to inspire, awe and delight generations of readers.

In the summer event, there are original pages from groundbreaking titles and breakthrough issues, including Brian Bolland’s work on writer Alan Moore’s Batman: The Killing Joke, which served as inspiration for Todd Phillips’ big-screen Joker. And it’s not just comics: One of the myriad centerpieces of this art event is a Frazetta oil painting of Battlestar Galactica’s crew made for TV Guide in 1978.

“In the 1970s, people like Clint Eastwood, Sylvester Stallone, George Lucas, Dino De Laurentiis and others endeavored to get Frazetta to paint their promotional pieces – with varying degrees of success,” Heritage Auctions Vice President Barry Sandoval said. “Battlestar Galactica’s producers sealed the deal, and this stunning original resulted from that.”

This auction contains enough covers to stuff full a spinner rack with childhood memories and milestone moments, including Dave McKean’s haunting cover piece, which is more collage than painting for Neil Gaiman’s Sandman No. 6 and stuns when seen in person; Tim Sale’s striking silhouettes of Batman and Cat woman for The Long Halloween No. 10; and Ross Andru, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano’s iconic back cover for the first DC-Marvel team-up Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man. That image of a grinning Man of Steel standing back-to-back with the Web-Slinger was thumbtacked to countless walls in 1976.

We’re but a fraction of a fraction through this event, and still we have yet to even mention the one who hovers over it all:

Jack Kirby. The King.

His name appears on 19 of the original pieces found in this event, including the splash page to X-Men No. 4 in 1963 – the only page from this early-days issue to hit the auction block. That alone, coupled with its inclusion of Professor X and the X-Men’s founding five, makes it remarkable, desirable, worth every cent and beyond of the $100,000-and-up estimate.

But on the back there’s even more Marvel Age history: Kirby’s handwritten brainstorm during which he struggled to name a character who would make her debut in that issue alongside the other members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Kirby tried numerous monikers, among them Jinx, Siren, Evil Eye, the Sorceress and variations on The Witch, Witch Woman, Witch Lady, Lady Witch and Miss Witch. In the end, he settled on Scarlet Witch.

“We have at least three major trophy pieces by Kirby in this event,” Sandoval says. “In addition to this early X-Men splash page, there’s the two-page recap of the Fantastic Four’s origin told during the Human Torch’s first solo story in Strange Tales No. 101 and the Fantastic Four No. 95 cover featuring the entire team.”

And more and more still on top of that, including:
    •    A pin-up of Alicia Masters, Ben Grimm’s girlfriend, from Fantastic Four Annual No. 2
    •    The Thing’s first appearance outside of a Fantastic Four issue, featured alongside the Human Torch in pages from that same issue of Strange Tales No. 101
    •    And a self-portrait of Kirby, done with Joe Sinnott, featuring several of his most famous creations, The Thing and Doctor Doom and the Red Skull

The moniker “The King of Comics” was bestowed upon Kirby because of the iconic characters he created, the dozens of titles he worked on, the inescapable impact he left on the industry he helped launch. His imprint, his influence, can be felt throughout this auction in works by peers and pupils, even on the pieces far afield from his own work.

That would even include the work of Chris Ware, who began his career in the back pages of the University of Texas at Austin’s newspaper in the late 1980s and became the first comics artist asked to exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art biennial exhibition. In 2011 The Comics Journal linked Kirby and Ware through content and comment – as artists who hide themselves inside their own works to explore sweeping existential themes usually ignored by the medium.

There are two Ware pieces in this event, including the complete one-page story “Rusty Brown” from Acme Novelty Library No. 15. An early, heartbreaking piece by the master of the genre.

But there is room enough in this sale for those who had no great connection to or affinity for Kirby – mythic underground creator Robert Crumb, for instance, who once said he had “zero interest in Kirby.” But Crumb did admire the man, “the tough guy who grew up in New York City in some tough neighborhood.”

Crumb is represented in this sale with his own single-page story, "Kosmik Kapers,” which appeared in Zap Comix No. 0 in 1968 – the issue meant to be Zap’s official bow, had some artwork not wound up (accidentally) traveling to India for a brief respite.

“The last 100-plus years of comic strips are also represented in this sale,” Sandoval said. “There’s everything from a Peanuts Sunday strip with a baseball theme, a Tarzan Sunday strip hand-colored by the great Burne Hogarth and, from 1937, one of the few Thimble Theatre dailies by E.C. Segar featuring Popeye, The Jeep and the Sea Hag known to exist.”

These are some of the holy grails of collecting, the rare, raw singular renderings of geniuses before they were mass-produced for newspapers and spinner racks and comic-shop shelves. Some were made by a king. But all are deserving of their place in the citadel.

Category
Courtesy of Main Street Arts

Barbara McFadyen's Grief Came Knocking, Enamel on steel, laser-etched paper.

Clifton Springs, NY — Despite the pandemic, exhibition programming was never paused at Main Street Arts. Exhibitions were installed in the gallery and opened to online audiences in an interactive format on April 1. The pandemic did, however, create uncertainty for the likelihood of holding the scheduled national juried exhibition, Biblio Spectaculum. Originally scheduled to open in May, this exhibition opens to the public on Saturday, June 27.

Biblio Spectaculum is a national juried exhibition of artist books and text-based visual works juried by Rochester, NY artist, designer, and educator Scott McCarney. This exhibition features 33 artists from 12 states and includes artist books, painting, drawing, printmaking, ceramics, video, and mixed media pieces. A full list of artists can be found on the gallery's website.

“While the idea for this juried exhibition started as a show of artist books, we are pleasantly surprised by the range in media, materials, and execution of the selected artwork.”—Bradley Butler, executive director and curator

There won’t be an opening reception for this exhibition, as the gallery is open by appointment only. Visitors can book appointments on the gallery's website for Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays between the hours of 11am and 6pm. Main Street Arts is open by appointment and started operating in this way during phase 2 of New York state's re-opening.

“The criteria I used in selecting these works was drawn from the overall themes of “book” and ”text” presented in the prospectus for Biblio Spectaculum. This includes work that investigates formal representations of letterforms, the meaning of words, as well as conventional and unconventional uses of language. The variety of media employed, from ink on paper to pixels on screen, illustrate the multiple uses of text in contemporary art practice. Text operates on so many different levels, the selections follow suit: some cut and burn; inform or instruct; shape, mold and color; trick and entertain — the common factor being they all make you think.”—Scott McCarney, exhibition juror

About the exhibition juror
Scott McCarney is an artist, designer, and educator based in Rochester, NY. He received formal design training at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA in the 1970s, and earned an advanced degree in photography from the University at Buffalo/Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, NY in the 1980s. His primary art practice has been in book form since 1980 and spans many media, from offset and digital printing to sculptural and site-specific installation. His works are widely distributed and can be found in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Victoria & Albert Museum, London; and Yale University Art Gallery, among others.

Category
Courtesy of Nate D. Sanders Auctions

Los Angeles – A document signed by Peter Paul Rubens confirming the payment of 1,800 guilders from St. Pieters Church- likely for a commissioned painting- will be auctioned by Nate D. Sanders Auctions on June 25, 2020.

The Peter Paul Rubens autograph note was signed March 1624. During this span, Rubens was completing work on the Marie de' Medici Cycle, the 24 paintings commissioned by Marie de' Medici to hang in the Luxembourg Palace in Paris. They are now currently displayed at the Louvre. The note is an acknowledgement of funds received from ''My lord the Pastor of St. Pieters'' of 1,800 guilders, a large sum of approximately $100,000 in today's value. Given the amount and recipient, the receipt is almost certainly regarding payment for artwork, as various churches commissioned Rubens to paint artworks to be hung in their churches. The note in Dutch is dated March 12, 1624 and is signed ''Pietro Pauolo Rubens'.'

Rubens' signatures are very scarce, with only a handful appearing at auction over the last 50 years, none related to a commission price for his paintings.

Bidding for the document begins at $100,000.

Additional information on Rubens’ note can be found at https://natedsanders.com/Scarce_Peter_Paul_Rubens_Autograph_Note_Signed_Fro-LOT58178.aspx

Category