Fine Art Books, Design Rarities Among Highlights at Swann Galleries’ May 9 Auction


New York—Bidders competed for fine examples of Modern Art books, exquisitely illustrated volumes and scarce graphic design and typography titles at Swann Galleries’ May 9 auction of Art, Press & Illustrated Books.

Christine von der Linn, Swann’s Art Book specialist said, “We were thrilled at the response to the exhibition and participation in the sale. The interest in graphic arts and the appreciation of masters of design, both American and foreign, has consistently grown and continues to gain more followers. We are pleased Swann could present this desirable material, including several unique and never-before-seen items, to eager collectors.”

The sale’s top lot was Fernand Crommelynck, Le Cocu Magnifique, with 12 original hors-texte engravings after Pablo Picasso, signed by both Crommelynck and Picasso, Paris, 1968, at $12,000*.

Other modern art highlights included a presentation album gifted to Frederick J. Suhr, President of the Art Directors’ Club, with works by Martin Lewis, Tony Sarg, Harry Marx and others, many inscribed and signed to Suhr, New York, 1924, $7,800; George Grosz, Gedichte und Gesänge [1916-1917], signed and numbered and then additionally signed inscribed to Grosz’s friend, American art critic and author Thomas Craven, 1932, $6,960; and Dieter Roth, Book AC, with 24 black-and-white paper die cuts, signed and numbered, New Haven, 1958-64, $6,480.


There was much interest in George Barbier’s tour-de-force of art, fashion and theater design, Le Bonheur du Jour ou, les Graces à la Mode, with 16 plates colored in pochoir by Henri Reidel, Paris, 1924, $10,800.

Two record-setting works of remarkable beauty were a first edition of the Catalogue of the Morgan Collection of Chinese Porcelains, two volumes containing 158 chromolithographed plates, New York, 1904-11, $8,400; and Hsiang Yüan-Pien, Noted Porcelains of Successive Dynasties, with 83 color plates, Peking, 1931, $4,560.

Noted examples among the design and graphics material from the inventory of late book dealer Irving Oaklander included Selections from A.C. Swinburne, with a binding by Sybil Pye, London, 1919, $4,320; Vladimir Mayakovsky and El Lissitzky, Dlia Golosa, ex-collection the avant-garde Russian painter Mikhail Larionov, Moscow and Berlin, 1923, $9,000; and a group of more than 50 designs by Robert Michel for The Kahl Company, Frankfurt, mostly 1927-30, $4,560.

Among illustration highlights were the Limited Editions Club edition of Oscar Wilde’s The Ballad of Reading Gaol, illustrated and signed by Zhenya Gay, and bound by Roger Powell, New York, 1937, $4,080; and Leonard Baskin’s Irises, A Book of Etchings, one of only 35 copies, signed, Leeds, Massachusetts, 1988, $6,000.

For complete results of the auction, an illustrated catalogue, with prices realized on request, is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, and may be viewed online at

For further information, and to propose consignments to upcoming auctions of Art, Press & Illustrated Books, please contact Christine von der Linn at (212) 254-4710 ext. 20, or via email at

First image: Fernand Crommelynck, Le Cocu Magnifique, with 12 engravings after Pablo Picasso, signed by both, Paris, 1968. $12,000 (including buyer's premium).

Second image: George Barbier, Le Bonheur du Jour ou, les Graces a la Mode, Paris, 1924. $10,800 (including buyer's premium).

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