Auctions | December 7, 2011

Results from Swann's Art, Press & Illustrated Auction

New York—Scarce items made their auction debut, while original illustrations and signed first editions of notable titles drew interest at Swann Galleries’ auction of Art, Press & Illustrated Books; and 19th & 20th Century Literature on November 8.

Christine von der Linn, Swann’s art book and modern literature specialist, said, “I was happy to see activity in all sections of the sale; for every successfully sold item, there were numerous under bidders. The exhibition was jam-packed with collectors and also dealers en route to the Boston Book fair.”

The top lot was a wonderful association copy of Andy Warhol’s 25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy, with 18 lithographs, New York, 1954, which sold for $45,600*. This copy—one of fewer than 150 produced—was signed and inscribed “Merry Christmas” by Warhol to Bob Cato, the award-winning graphic designer who worked with Warhol at Harper’s Bazaar, where Cato was Alexey Brodovitch’s assistant.

Other modern art highlights included a signed copy of David Hockney’s Paper Pools, with a lithograph, London, 1980, $10,800; Lysistrata with six etched plates by Picasso, and signed by the artist, New York, 1934, $6,480; and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, with an etched frontispiece and 12 colored plates by Salvador Dalí, one of 2500 numbered and signed copies, New York, 1969, $5,280.

An original ink and watercolor drawing by Beatrix Potter also sold well, bringing a record $14,400. The image, Mrs. Rabbit with basket and umbrella in the forest, was a redrawing of the illustration published in The Tale of Peter Rabbit, signed and dated August 1927.

Appearing for the first time at auction were The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, hand-illuminated and calligraphed manuscript by Alberto Sangorski, London, 1905, $6,480; and an original pen-and-ink drawing of a nude by Austrian illustrator Frans von Bayros, circa 1915, $6,000, which was one of approximately 20 items in a section of curiosa.

Selling on the 55th anniversary of the year it was published was a review copy of the first edition of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems, signed by Ginsberg on the title-page and again on the publisher’s review slip, San Francisco, 1956, $5,760—a record for a signed copy. Also marking a milestone anniversary was a signed and inscribed first edition of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, New York, 1961, $5,280.

Other 20th century literary classics included number 349 of 750 copies of James Joyce’s Ulysses, on handmade paper, Paris, 1922, which, despite condition issues, brought $14,400; a first edition of William Faulkner’s first novel, Soldier’s Pay, New York, 1926, $7,200, and his better known The Sound and the Fury, first edition, New York, 1929, $5,040.

From the 19th century were a complete set of Charles Dickens’s Christmas Books, five volumes including A Christmas Carol, first editions, London, 1843-48, $6,480; as well as a set of Emily Dickinson first editions: Poems, Poems Second Series, and Poems Third Series, Boston, 1890-96, $10,200.

For complete results, an illustrated auction catalogue, with prices realized on request, is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at www.swanngalleries.com.

For further information, and to consign items to Swann’s upcoming auctions of Art, Press & Illustrated Books, and 19th & 20th Century Literature, please contact Christine von der Linn at 212-254-4710, extension 20, or via e-mail at [email protected]