Potter & Potter to Feature 600+ Books, Historical Documents, and Manuscripts

Courtesy of Potter & Potter Auctions

Magisterium naturae, et artis. Opus physico-mathematicum. Estimate $4,000-6,000.

Chicago — Potter & Potter Auctions is pleased to announce its upcoming Books, Manuscripts, and Fine Art Sale to be held on Friday, October 18th, 2019 starting at 10am at the company's gallery, located at 3759 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, IL 60613. All lots from this can’t-miss sale are on display and available for public preview on Wednesday, October 16th and Thursday, October 17th from 10:00am to 5:00pm in the Potter & Potter facility.

Rare and outstanding pre-20th century books represent many of the top selections in this signature Potter & Potter event. Highlights include:

•    Lot #211, architect Charles Etienne Briseux’s L’Art de Batir des Maisons de Campagne, is estimated at $6,000-8,000. This remarkable two volume set, published in Paris by Prault Pere in 1743, is bound in contemporary full marbled calf and elaborately decorated with the arms of Le Chancelier Henri Francois D’Auguesseau of France (1668 – 1751), gilt, and marbled endpapers. It is illustrated with 261 plates; its text documents French Rococo architecture, interiors, decoration, and formulae for various varnishes and painterly treatments. This first edition is from the library of Henri Francois d’Aguesseau, the Chancellor of France (1717-1750), whom Voltaire described to be “the most learned magistrate France ever possessed.”

•    Lot #230, Francesco Lana Terzi’s Magisterium naturae, et artis. Opus physico-mathematicum, is estimated at $4,000-6,000. This breathtaking, three volume set - published in the 1684-1692 time frame - is an encyclopedic work of the physical sciences and natural philosophies. Terzi (Italian, 1631-1687) was a priest, mathematician, and founder of aeronautical sciences amongst other transformative contributions. This very rare publication – seldom including its third volume – retains its 18th century bookplates from the library of Thomae Vargas Macciucca.

•    Lot #154, William James’ The Principles of Psychology, is estimated at $3,000-5,000. This two volume, first edition set was published in New York by Henry Holt in 1890. This astonishing offering includes a three page, hand written and signed note dated Dec. 16, 1890 from James (American, 1842 –1910) to the set’s previous owner, James G. Croswell. In it, James responds to Crosswell’s favorable review of this work. William James is considered the founder of modern American psychology because of his monumental work that influenced experimental psychology and introduced the term and concept of “stream of consciousness.”

Additional book highlights reflect the best of legacy authors and artists from the United States. Lot #236,  a 1938 copy of Roland Clark’s Etchings, is estimated at $3,500-4,500. Published in New York by the Derrydale Press and bound by Jas. Macdonald, this example is number 29 of 50 of a deluxe edition.  This handsome publication is signed by the author, and includes two original, signed etchings titled “Bluebird Weather” and “The Morning Flight.” Clark (1874–1957) was an artist and author best known for his wildlife and hunting works. Lot #50, a first edition of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, is estimated at $2,000-3,000. This modern rarity, published in New York by Holt, Rinehart and Winston in 1970, includes its original, unclipped first state jacket. And lot #74, a first edition, first printing of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, is estimated at $800-1,200. This very attractive copy was published in New York in 1939 by Viking Press. This copy includes its original pictorial oatmeal cloth and later unclipped dust jacket displaying the book’s debut price of $2.75.   

Letters, manuscripts, and documents in the hand of authors, performers, artists, and witnesses to history are well represented in this sale. These original records offer front row insight and perspective to remarkable happenings from years gone by. Lot #483, an autographed letter by composer Franz Liszt (Hungarian, 1811–1886) is estimated at $2,000-3,000. This three page, undated note is written in French.  Lot #488, a boldly signed musical quotation by composer Giacomo Puccini (Italian, 1858-1924), is estimated at $1,500-2,500. This elegantly framed presentation includes a bar of music from La Boheme on an off-white partial postcard with the signature housed between a halftone portrait of Puccini and an engraved plaque labeling the piece.  Lot #469, an autographed pair of full page, friendly letters from modernist painter Andrew Dasburg (American 1887–1979) to artist Ralph M. Pearson (American, 1883-1958), is estimated at $1,000-1,500. And lot #513, a Civil War-era diary from William Stewart of the PA 83rd Regiment, Union Army, is estimated at $400-600. This leather-bound pocket diary includes about 100 pages with entries, most dated 1865, some later. Its rear folder contains an 1880s sheet of stationery from Putnam & Dewey, furniture makers, with “particular attention paid to undertaking,” and an 1874 receipt signed by a D.A. Davis. This intimate and well written diary is worthy of further research and study.

This sale offers time-capsule quality ephemeral items, including postcards, photographs, posters, and advertising, that literally bring the past to life. Lot #473, an original gelatin silver print photograph of Native American artist Maria Martinez (1887-1980) by photographer Laura Gilpin (American, 1891–1979), is estimated at $2,000-3,000.  This c. 1940 photo is signed by Gilpin and features Maria, her son, Eleanor Brownell, and Alice Howland. This photo is included in a first edition copy of Susan Peterson’s The Living Tradition of Maria Martinez from 1977; this book is signed by Peterson, Anita Martinez, Maria Martinez (as “Maria Poveka”), Clara Montoya, Adam Martinez, and Santana Martinez. Lot #316, a Join the Army Air Service / Be An American Eagle! recruitment poster for the Army Air Service, is estimated at $900-1,300. Illustrated by Charles Livingston Bull (American, 1874-1932) this striking linen backed color lithograph personifies eagles as aerial combatants in World War I. And lot #580, a collection of 115 Josephine Baker (American, 1906-1975) European trade and tobacco cards from the 1920s/30s is estimated at $400-600. Baker, an entertainer, activist, and French Resistance agent, is well known for her iconic, and topless, banana costume.

Premier selections of fine and illustration art frame this exciting sale in the best possible way. Lot #531, Mad Magazine Issue No. 2 original ink illustration art by Harvey Kurtzman and Jack Davis, is estimated at $2,500-3,500. This 1952 rarity, which has its Bill Gaines copyright stamp on verso, is the final page of an 8-page story titled Hex which was written by Kurtzman and drawn by Davis.  Lot #560, Seth Arca Whipple’s 1893 painting, Lumber Boat on the Detroit River, is estimated at $3,000-5,000. This handsome and realistic work features a cargo vessel passing through the Detroit river, with Sandwich (now Windsor), Ontario on one side, and the city of Detroit on the other, and a steamer in the distance. Whipple (1855—1901), of Detroit, MI, painted Great Lakes sailing vessels in the era of transition from wind to steam power. And lot #553, Harry Wickey’s bronze bust of his father, is estimated at $1,200-2,000.  This c. 1941, life sized sculpture is signed by the artist and includes a cabinet photo of the subject and a studio photograph of sculptor. Wickey (American, 1892—1968) was a noted illustrator, etcher and sculptor. Starting in the mid-1930s, he found his artistic expression in sculpture. The recipient of multiple honors and prizes, his work can be found in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution, The Whitney Museum of Modern Art, the National Academy of Design, and many others.  

This auction closes the loop with carefully curated selections of antiques, maps, images, and other rarities that defy traditional categories.  Lot #360, a c. 1790s/1800s Eglomise reverse painted silhouette portrait bust of George Washington on glass, is estimated at $5,000-7,000. This very fine profile example, backed on period paper, is from the collection of Violet Virginia Jirousek (1902-1996), a well-known antique dealer from Chicago. Lot #349, a rare, 1860s pre-Great Chicago Fire original tinted lithograph of downtown - featuring a view from the corner of Madison St. and Michigan Ave. - is estimated at $2,000-3,000. This framed and matted example originates from Whitfield’s Views of Chicago and was printed by Charles Shober. And lot #285, an 1846 map of the US and Mexico, Including Oregon, Texas and the Californias, is estimated at $800-1,200. This hand-colored promotional map, printed in New York by Haven & Emerson, shows the “Route of Oregon Emigrants” surrounded by an ornamental border, and includes 30 official state seal with two columns of statistical information regarding each state.

According to Gabe Fajuri, President at Potter & Potter Auctions, "I'm pleased with the work our team has done to bring together such a diverse offering -- from the ridiculous original artwork of MAD Magazine to the heady philosophical textbooks of yesteryear. As an avid book collector myself and someone who appreciates mid-century design, I am particularly fond of our selection of modern first editions, many in the original attractive dust jackets."