May 2010 Archives

Maps & Atlases at Swann Galleries

New York -- On Thursday, June 17 Swann Galleries will conduct a two-part auction of Maps & Atlases, Books with Plates, Ephemera; and 19th & 20th Century Literature, Art & Illustrated Books, and Decorative Graphics.

The sale begins with a selection of atlases, which features a complete copy of Richard Blome’s A Geographical Description of the Four Parts of the World, with 25 engraved maps and an additional gouache frontispiece of a coat-of-arms, and a handwritten dedication from Blome, London, 1670 (estimate: $15,000 to $25,000).

The maps section includes three hand-colored double-page engraved maps by John Speed: A New and Accurat Map of the World, double-hemispheric world map, London, 1626 or later ($6,000 to $9,000), A New Description of Carolina, and A Map of Virginia and Maryland, both London, 1676 ($3,000 to $4,000 and $2,500 to $3,500 respectively).

Other map highlights are a first state of Henri Chatelain’s Carte de la Nouvelle France, Amsterdam, 1719 ($2,500 to $3,500); Matthaeus Seutter’s Accurata delineatio Ludovicianae vel Gallice Lousiane . . . fluminis Mississippi vel St. Louis, Augsburg, circa 1730 ($3,500 to $5,000); and Johann Michael Probst’s Nova Mappa Geographica Americae Septentrionalis, with inset details of New York, Boston, Havana and other locales, Augsburg, 1782 ($2,000 to $3,000).

Featured among the 100-plus books valued for their plates are many excellent botanical examples, such as J. Barbosa Rodrigues’s important work on palms, Sertum Palmarum Brasiliensium ou Relation des Palmiers Nouveaux du Brésil, two volumes with 174 color plates, Brussels, 1903 ($10,000 to $15,000); and more than a dozen works on orchids, including William Jackson Hooker’s A Century of Orchidaceous Plants selected from Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, with 100 hand-colored plates, London, 1849 ($5,000 to $7,500); James Bateman’s A Monograph of Odonoglossum, with 30 hand-colored plates, London, 1864-74 ($10,000 to $15,000); Robert Warner’s The Orchid Album, 11 volumes, with 527 hand-colored plates, London, 1882-97 ($10,000 to $15,000); Lindenia: Iconography of Orchids, with 312 plates, Ghent, 1891-97 ($7,000 to $10,000); and Florence H. Woolward’s The Genus Masdevallia, with 87 hand-colored plates, London, 1896 ($7,000 to $10,000).

Works on costume include one of 1250 sets of  Journal des Dames et des Modes on Holland paper, with 186 pochoir plates by Barbier, Iribe and others, Paris, 1912-14 ($7,000 to $10,000); and a wonderful selection of French pattern books containing cloth samples dating from the late 19th-century to the 1920s.

Also of note are one of the most elaborately produced English color plate books, Imitations of Original Drawings by Hans Holbein in the Collection of His Majesty, for the Portraits of Illustrious Persons of the Court of Henry VIII, London, 1792 ($5,000 to $7,500); a scarce copy of Humphrey Repton’s first work, Sketches and Hints on Landscape Gardening, London, 1794 ($15,000 to $25,000); and Gaspard Fossati’s Aya Sophia, Constantinople, as Recently Restored, a nearly complete album of chromolithographed views of the Byzantine church later transformed into a mosque, London, 1852 ($4,000 to $6,000).

The final section of the morning session, comprising printed ephemera, features more than 30 lots of diverse 19th and 20th century trade catalogues of both graphical and reference interest.
The afternoon session of the auction opens with a selection of 19th and 20th century literature, including sets and bindings and fore-edge paintings. Of special note among the 19th-century works are two books of poetry, Paul Verlaine’s scarce Les Amies, Sonnets par le licencié Pablo de Herlagnez, sapphic sonnets published under a pseudonym, one of 44 copies on Holland, from a total edition of 50, Brussels, 1868 ($4,000 to $6,000); and Emily Dickinson’s Poems, first edition of her first book, Boston, 1890 ($4,000 to $6,000).

There is a 30-volume set of Dickens’s Works . . . The Library Edition, uniformly bound in tan calf gilt, London, circa 1894, ($2,500 to $3,500). A beautiful signed Cosway binding of burgundy morocco with two portrait miniatures of the French royal family framed by elaborate gilt decorations contains a copy of Grace Dalrymple Elliott’s My Life During the French Revolution, London, 1859 ($5,000 to $7,500).

Twentieth-century first editions include F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby in an early dust jacket, New York, 1925 ($8,000 to $12,000); a scarce signed copy of Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, London, 1927 ($4,000 to $6,000); a signed and inscribed copy of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, New York, 1937 ($2,500 to $3,500); and two Hemingway works, an inscribed and signed copy of For Whom the Bell Tolls, New York, 1940 ($10,000 to $15,000); and one of 300 copies of the only edition of his first book, Three Stories and Ten Poems, Paris, 1923 ($12,000 to $18,000). Film buffs will be interested in a copy of the scarce movie edition of John Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Lyme Regis, 1981, signed by the author, screenwriter Harold Pinter, actors Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons, and other members of the creative team ($4,000 to $6,000).

The art and illustrated books section offers works on architecture, modern and  private press books, livres d’artiste, art journals and works on decorative and applied art. Among highlights are a fine set of Falbalas et Fanfreluches, Almanach des modes présentes, passées, et futures, five volumes, with 60 pochoir plates by George Barbier, Paris, 1922-26 ($7,000 to $10,000); Staatliches Bauhaus Weimar 1919-1923, edited by Walter Gropius, one of 2000 in German, first edition, Munich, 1923 ($3,000 to $4,000); a complete portfolio of sheet music for songs composed by Dihau illustrated by Lautrec, one of only 20 printed in green ink on China paper, Paris, 1935 ($4,000 to $6,000); the scarce special issue of Cahiers d’Art devoted to surrealism and the object, in original Duchamp wrappers, Paris, 1936 ($1,200 to $1,800); J.M. Richards and Eric Ravilious’s High Street, first edition, London, 1938 ($2,000 to $3,000); as well as one of only two artist’s proof copies of the Cheloniidae Press’s Trout & Bass: A Collection of Prose and Poetry from Four Centuries, with a signed watercolor, Easthampton, 1993 ($2,500 to $3,500); and an original gouache, watercolor and ink illustration by Laurent de Brunhoff for Babar’s Spanish Lessons, circa 1965 ($1,200 to $1,800).

The sale concludes with a selection of individual decorative graphics depicting costume, maritime and natural history subjects, railroads and more.

The morning session of the auction will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, June 17, and the afternoon session will start at 2:30 p.m. The works will be on public exhibition Saturday, June 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, June 14 through Wednesday, June 16, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

An illustrated catalogue with information on bidding by mail or fax is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at

For further information, and to arrange in advance to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Gary Garland at (212) 254-4710, extension 17, or via email at Live online bidding is also available via

PHONE: 212.254.4710 ext. 23
FAX: 212.979.1017

Pakistan Picasso

Picture by Pakistan’s ‘Picasso’ Who Illustrated Camus Novel, in Bonhams Middle East & South Asian Art Sale

A painting by Sadequain (Pakistan, 1937-1987) titled ‘Three sitting figures’, is estimated to sell for£23,000-28,000 at Bonhams Modern and Contemporary Middle Eastern & South Asian Art on 2nd June 2010.

Sadequain was one of the first modern artists from the Indian Subcontinent to achieve international fame and at the relatively early age of thirty-one. Whilst living in Paris in the 1960s he was chosen to illustrate the novel, The Stranger by Albert Camus, a significant achievement for the artist. He was also awarded the 'Laureate Biennale de Paris' for his painting titled The Last Supper.

That Sadequain can be compared to Picasso by the French establishment shows how his innate talent was accepted as a reflection of their own great and revered master, Pablo Picasso.

By 1964 Sadequain had firmly established his footing in French art circles. 'Le Monde et Lavie' in Paris reported in its April edition, "The multiplicity of Sadequain's gifts is reminiscent of Picasso." A comparison of a young Asian artist to an important figure such as Picasso was a triumph indeed. Sadequain never looked back, and while shuttling between Europe and Asia during the mid 1960s created a significant body of work over a period of seven years that in isolation could place him amongst the most significant artists of the era.

This particular painting was done during the artist's prolific and progressive 'Blue and Ochre' period. Sadequain was living in between Paris and Karachi for most of the sixties and he painted a number of these mystic images during this transient period.

Three Sitting Figures is a study of abstract figurative forms and was painted in Karachi in March 1963. The artist possibly saw it as an important and rare work as it was deemed significant enough for it to be brought with the artist to Paris. It consequently formed part of the Jean Forges collection in Paris until acquired by the present owner.

Bonhams second dedicated London sale of Modern & Contemporary Middle Eastern & South Asian art will feature an interesting selection of works of art by some of the most important artists from these regions.

Offered for sale are two works from Farhad Moshiri’s Jar series, one executed in soft golden brown hues, the other in a vivid turquoise-blue against a gold background. Taking his influence from traditional Iranian culture, Moshiri’s jars are fantastic examples of the artist’s skill in rendering conventional, everyday Iranian forms and visuals in an entirely contemporary medium (estimates £40,000-60,000). These are offered alongside an important work by Iranian artist Nasrollah Afjehei (SiahMashgh £40,000-60,000) and pieces by Faramarz Pilaram, Pouran Jinchi and Afshin Pirhashemi. Three important works by artists Jehangir Sabavala, Dia Azzawi and Issam El-Said which were exhibited at their first one-man shows are also to be offered for sale.

`Flower study’ by the Indian artist Jehangir Sabavala was sold at his first solo exhibition, in April 1951 at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Bombay. The colourful impressionist inspired depiction of a vase of flowers on a dressing table was painted inParis in 1950 and bought to India for the exhibition and has been part of a private British collection for over twenty years (est. £20,000-30,000).

One of the most important Arab and Iraqi artists, Dia Azzawi’s `Untitled’ (£4,000-6,000) was sold at his first solo exhibition at the Wasiti Gallery Baghdad in 1964. It was acquired by the architect Gordon Jones who lived in the Middle East between the mid 1950s and the late 1970s. Along with his artist wife he was part of the local social scene in Beirut in the 60s and acquired numerous works by other important Arab artists such as Fateh Moudarres, Paul Guiragossian and Saleh Al-Jumaei which are also offered for sale.

The Iraqi artist and scholar Issam El-Said’s work `We made every living thing of water’, was exhibited at the artist’s first one man exhibition at the Woodstock Gallery inLondon in 1962. It was gifted to the current owner’s mother who knew the artist in Iraqand the UK and had expressed a liking for the work at the exhibition. It was whilst studying in London that he held his first exhibition, aided by Princess Fahrelnissa Zeid, who helped by printing the exhibition catalogue and writing a forward for the exhibition in which she described the artist’s works as ‘a beautiful prayer of a young and talented artist.’ (£8,000-12,000).

An important work by the South Asian artist Sadequain is offered alongside other highlights by the foremost Pakistani painters A.R. Chughtai, Bashir Mirza and Jamil Naqsh. ‘Three sitting figures’ was painted by Sadequain in Karachi in 1963 and is from the artist’s ‘blue and ochre’ period. Before it was acquired by a private UK collector it formed part of the collection of Jean Forges, who along with A. Fried was the artist’s Parisian dealer in the 1960s.

Two works by Indian artist’s Maqbol Fida Husain along with an interesting work by Bhupen Khakhar titled `Republic Day’ are to be offered alongside high quality pieces by Indian artists such as Nandalal Bose, Jamini Roy, Syed Haider Raza, B. Prabha and Sadanand Bakre.

Artists from the Arab regions are well represented in the auction. Works by important Arab artists Moustafa Farroukh, Paul Guiragossian, Suad Al-Attar and Faisal Samra are offered alongside an early oil on canvas by the foremost Egyptian artist Mahmoud Said.

`Laundry at Kobba’ was painted in 1920 and it is clear that at the time Said was still heavily under the influence of the work of the impressionist painters he would have studied in Paris. The work is from an important Egyptian collection is offered with an estimate of £20,000-30,000. This is accompanied by works by fellow countrymen Mohammad Naghi, Seif Wanly, Adam Henein and Adel El-Siwi.

For further press information please contact Julian Roup on 0207 468 8259 or

Antique Map Catalogue

May 10th 2010 -- Antique Map Dealer Publishes Catalogue Of The World's Printed Antique Maps, From The Year 1472 To 1850. For auction houses, valuers, antique dealers, collectors.


Trying to find information on printed antique maps can be frustrating.  Collectors like reference works to list maps of a particular region and parts of that region in publication date order. Such a work exists for antique maps of North America ... but it only goes up to the year 1700. What about the period 1701 to 1850? Other regions may not have reference works at all, or if they do, they may not include maps of parts of the region concerned, or may be selective in other ways. Antique map information is full of black holes, which is why some potential collectors may decide to give antique maps a miss. However, Map World’s new catalogue in CD format contains 25000 maps of all parts of the world, which are listed by region and sub-region and in date order to the year 1850. Included are titles, sizes and some illustrations.


Map World’s new catalogue is important in another way. Virtually no reference works give current replacement values. Most antique maps can be replaced because more than one map was printed, and sometimes a few thousand were printed … although around 80 per cent of all antique maps have been destroyed. Map World’s catalogue lets you see what the replacement costs of individual antique maps are likely to be in 2010 and hopefully future editions will keep the collector up to date. 


The catalogue costs £45 ($70). Map World’s website is Map World was established in 1982, had a shop in the famous Burlington Arcade, Piccadilly, London, UK for 17 years until 2009, when the owner decided to trade in cyberspace.



Major Gift to Library of Congress

David M. Rubenstein, co-founder and managing director of The Carlyle Group, announced today his donation of $5 million ($1 million per year for the next five years) to support the Library of Congress’s National Book Festival, which this year is celebrating its 10th anniversary, “A Decade of Words and Wonder.”

Thornwillow Press to Vassar

The Archives and Special Collections Library of Vassar College Libraries has become an official repository of the publications of Thornwillow Press.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY— The Archives and Special Collections Library of Vassar College Libraries has become an official repository of the publications of Thornwillow Press, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. This collection, from the Newburgh, New York-based company, will join other major collections of Hudson Valley-based publishers in the Special Collections Library, including those relating to the Women’s Studio Workshop in Rosendale, NY, and The Village Press, founded by the famous type-designer Frederic W. Goudy who for many years worked in Marlboro, NY.

Founded in 1985 by Luke Ives Pontifell, Thornwillow Press is a printer and publisher of handmade, limited edition books, with titles that vary widely, from President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address, to a collection of George Washington’s documents compiled by W.W. Abbott, to a volume of short stories by John Updike. Their goal is to present the author’s words in a manner that enhances the relationship between the reader and the text by adding an aesthetic dimension. Thornwillow Press endeavors to make books a powerful and enduring means of communicating ideas.

Thornwillow’s books are now in the permanent collections of The White House, The Library of Congress, the Bibliotheque Nationale, the Federal Reserve Bank, the Beinecke Library, and Houghton Library, among many others. However only in the Special Collections and Archives Library of the Vassar College Libraries will the entire oeuvre of Thornwillow Press be represented.

“In a world of increasingly disposable and ephemeral communications, I feel it is exceedingly relevant to have books,” explained Pontifell. “Books provide a tactile quality just as hearing music live provides a very different auditory sensation than listening to the same work on CD. An Ebook cannot convey the same sensory pleasures—the feel of leather or cloth covering, the scent of paper and ink—as the printed book.”

Pontifell stressed that his press uses the most modern design techniques melded with the traditional art of the hand press. It is through this merging of the contemporary with the traditional that he hopes will inspire generations of future students, just as Pontifell was himself inspired.

Ronald Patkus, head of Special Collections at Vassar, noted his hope is that “undergraduates will be moved by these volumes, and that they’ll want to touch them and open them, and will be drawn by their beautiful design.” He hopes that in the future students at Vassar will also create their own volumes on a Vandercook press at the college, finding their inspiration in typography and design from these volumes.

In addition to establishing the Thornwillow Press collection, Pontifell and Patkus have envisioned an ongoing collaboration that will engage students in the art of the handmade book joined with modern technologies. They are currently accepting applications from college-age students for semester and summer internships, with the possibility of residence, and eventually they hope to form a residential academy at the Press.

In addition, Patkus has begun to research, compile, and write a definitive bibliography of Thornwillow Press and will present an exhibition centered around Thornwillow Press this fall in the Vassar College Libraries.

About Luke Ives Pontifell and Thornwillow Press

Inspired by a course in printing and binding and the old books in his parents’ library, Luke Ives Pontifell founded Thornwillow while still in high school. At that time he printed his first book, a children’s story by a family friend (Barbara England’s Hello Sun), and bound the edition on the kitchen table.

During his summer vacations from arvard College, Pontifell continued to print and bind books. He brought the finished editions to bookstores, slowly building a small following of collectors. After graduating from Harvard with four titles on his list, he found that what had started as a labor of love had evolved into a small business.

Over the last two decades, he established operations related to the different aspects of book making in New York City, West Stockbridge (Massachusetts), Prague (Czech Republic), and Pensacola (Florida).

In 2004 he set up workshops in Newburgh (NY) in a complex of 19th-century factory buildings dedicated to perpetuating the crafts of traditional hand engraving and letterpress printing, paper making, illumination and hand lettering, leather bookbinding, and fine press publishing.

Pontifell is a trustee and secretary of the board of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, a member of The American Antiquarian Society, The Boston Athenaeum, and a fellow of The J.P. Morgan Library. He is also a trustee of The Newburgh Institute.

For additional information about Thornwillow Press, see

About Archives and Special Collections

The Catherine Pelton Durrell '25 Archives and Special Collections Library is the principal repository of the College's noteworthy collections of rare books, manuscripts, archival records of Vassar College, and other special materials.

Works in Archives and Special Collections are accessible for research and review. To make an appointment, call (845) 437-5799 or email For additional information about Archives and Special Collections, see

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by College Relations Monday, May 3, 2010
Auction Guide