July 2015 Archives

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NEW YORK, July 30, 2015—The Museum of Modern Art announces Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty, a major exhibition focusing on Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas's (1834-1917) extraordinary and rarely seen monotypes and their impact on his wider practice, on view March 26 through July 24, 2016. The first exhibition in the U.S. in nearly 50 years to examine these radical, innovative works—and MoMA's first monographic exhibition of the artist—Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty will feature approximately 130 monotypes along with some 50 related works, including paintings, drawings, pastels, sketchbooks, and prints. The exhibition is organized by Jodi Hauptman, Senior Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints, MoMA, with Richard Kendall, Curator-at-Large, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. MoMA is the sole venue for the exhibition. 

A towering figure in 19th-century art, Degas is best known as a painter and chronicler of the ballet. Yet his work as a printmaker reveals the true extent of his restless creativity, as he mixed techniques with abandon in his studio and shared recipes with colleagues for producing unconventional effects. In the 1870s, during an era of enthusiasm for experimental printmaking, the artist Ludovic Lepic likely introduced Degas to the monotype process—drawing in black ink on a metal plate that was then run through a press, typically resulting in a single print. Captivated by the medium's potential, Degas made more than 300 monotypes during two discrete bursts of activity, from the mid-1870s to the mid-1880s, and again during the early 1890s.

DALLAS—Collectors have access to top-shelf service across any mobile device now that Heritage Auctions, the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer, has relaunched its award-winning website HA.com to integrate Responsive Design, the firm announced July 28, 2015. The site provides seamless access to all Heritage online and live auctions from any mobile device. That includes instant research through more than 4.2 million auction records with prices, descriptions, and enlargeable images, industry-leading functionality for live bidding, and online collection tracking and valuation.

“Heritage Auctions invested millions of dollars and spent more than 18 months developing this new update for one reason: our bedrock belief that our clients deserve the very best access to their collections around the clock on whatever device they use,” said Heritage Co-Chairman James Halperin. “This relaunch brings the award-winning functionality of HA.com, already the world’s most popular and trafficked auction house website, to more buyers and sellers worldwide.”


As part of our 30th Anniversary celebration, Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) is proud to announce that the winner of the 2015 MCBA Prize is Ken Botnick, for his artist's book, "Diderot Project."

"I believe we make books in order to discover our subjects," Botnick remarks in his artist statement for the winning work. “Diderot Project” was inspired by a five-year-long investigation of the “Encyclopédie ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers” — a 150-page visual and textual narrative; a meditation on the nature of craft, the hand, work, tools, machines, dreams, the senses and the imagination. The book is letterpress printed in five colors and incorporates six different papers, including handmade and watermarked paper made by Botnick at Dieu Donne paper studio in New York.

STURBRIDGE, Massachusetts—Collectors of all types—young and old to experienced and amateur—have undeniably shaped the identities of many American museums and historic sites since the 19th century. Many of these special places, such as Bayou Bend, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, The Biltmore, The Henry Ford Museum, and Old Sturbridge Village began as private collections of objects, assembled by individuals passionate about art, furniture, automobiles, clocks or whatever their area of interest was. 

Presented in conjunction with the ongoing exhibition Kindred Spirits: A.B. Wells, C. Malcolm Watkins and the Origins of Old Sturbridge Village, the 2015 Collectors' Forum at Old Sturbridge Village on Saturday, October 24 will examine collecting in America, from its roots in the early 19th century through the present day. Participants will benefit from enriching lectures and workshops uncovering the origins of collecting, as well as the influences, trends, prominent personalities, and some of the challenges collectors face in today's market.

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ITHACA, NY—National Book Auctions, located in Ithaca, NY, announces the launch of their next auction catalog. 

This catalog features rare, antique and decorative books as well as select additions of ephemera, artwork and collectibles.  Of particular interest is a fine collection of antique ceramics.  This catalog also includes our second session from a large and impressive private collection of early engravings.  Dispersed among the many book lots is a large personal inventory of desirable antique titles dating back to the sixteenth century.

The 15th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival will offer, for the first time, a pavilion devoted exclusively to romance novels.

"Romance fiction is the second-best-selling genre in the publishing industry, generating more than $1 billion in publisher revenues in 2013," said Guy Lamolinara, the festival’s co-director.

"Romance accounts for 21 percent of the adult fiction market," added Marie Arana, the festival’s other co-director.

DALLAS—An outstandingly preserved hand-painted, double-sided jugate banner from the 1844 Presidential campaign of James K. Polk sold for $185,000 and claimed the world record as the most valuable piece of political memorabilia ever sold at public auction in Heritage Auctions’ June 27 presentation of the Merrill C. Berman Collection Part II. The banner took top lot honors amid more than 350 lots which realized $756,178 and recorded a sell-through rate exceeding 98 percent by value.

“Simply, this is the finest political banner known to exist and fully deserving of a new world record,” said Tom Slater, Director of Americana Auctions at Heritage Auctions. “Not only is this banner historically important to early American political campaigns, it is true work of art unique in the world of Americana memorabilia and American folk art.”

Composed over the course of sixteen years, John Cage’s Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse) is one of his most prescient and personal works. A repository of observations, anecdotes, proclivities, obsessions, jokes and koan-like stories, Diary registers Cage’s assessment of the times in which he lived as well as his often uncanny portents about the world we live in now.

With a great sense of play as well as purpose, Cage traverses vast territory, from the domestic minutiae of everyday life to ideas about how to feed the world. He contemplates the consequences of both unbridled capitalism and an infinite field of information. He excoriates the state and augurs ecological disaster while taking heart in the great capacity for human ingenuity and compassion. A page or two of entries (e.g., pages 112-113) brushes Zen Buddhism with the benefits of legumes, fishing rights with banking in Buttonhole, Ohio, anarchy and revolution with the receipt of a parking ticket, so that the world he is observing is simultaneously intimate and immense.

New York, NY, July 20, 2015—Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society, today announced the appointment of curator Margaret K. Hofer to the role of Vice President and Director of its Museum division. Ms. Hofer has contributed to or overseen New-York Historical’s decorative arts collections and exhibitions for over two decades, and spearheaded the groundbreaking 2007 exhibition and publication A New Light on Tiffany: Clara Driscoll and the Tiffany Girls, which revealed previously unrecognized achievements of Tiffany Studios’ women designers.

“New York’s first museum has been fortunate to have had Margaret K. Hofer as a leading decorative arts historian and curator. Her commitment and proven track record have led the New-York Historical Society’s Board of Trustees and me to elevate Margi to the helm of our museum division,” said Dr. Mirrer. “She has been an exceptional partner in developing a new Tiffany gallery and other permanent collection reinstallations, which will star alongside a new women’s history center when our Henry Luce III Center reopens in early 2017.”


YORK, Pa.—A hardcover first edition of Stride Toward Freedom which its author, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., signed and personally inscribed to Chief Justice Earl Warren, made a powerful statement of its own on July 14 when it sold for $49,335. The historically important book was the centerpiece of the political memorabilia section in a two-day Internet auction conducted by Hake’s Americana of York, Pennsylvania.

Competition for the book ran through the night and into the early hours of July 15th. When the last of 11 bids was accepted as final, the book had well surpassed its pre-sale estimate of $20,000-$35,000.

“Robert Seydel: The Eye in Matter” features a definitive selection of over one hundred collages, drawings and illuminated writings from the fictional archive of artist-poet Robert Seydel’s alter ego Ruth Greisman. 

Curated by Peter Gizzi, Richard Kraft and Lisa Pearson, the exhibition premiered at Smith College in Fall 2014, organized by the Mortimer Rare Book Room. The exhibition at the Queens Museum of Art will feature a substantially larger selection of framed works, as well as focus on Ruth’s “journal pages” and excerpts from Seydel’s “Knot-books.” There will also be special series of intertwined events at the museum (event listings at bottom).

WASHINGTON—The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) presents Pathmakers: Women in Art, Craft, and Design, Midcentury and Today, an exhibition that explores the lasting impact of women artists and designers on postwar Modernism. On view Oct. 30, 2015-Feb. 28, 2016, the show presents more than 80 objects including furniture, ceramics, textiles, jewelry and art. Reflecting the continuing popularity of midcentury design today, the exhibition also includes a selection of contemporary work that builds upon the accomplishments of an earlier generation.

In the 1950s and ’60s, an era when painting, sculpture and architecture were dominated by men, women had considerable impact with alternative materials such as textiles, ceramics and metals. Visionaries in these fields include Ruth Asawa, Edith Heath, Sheila Hicks, Karen Karnes, Dorothy Liebes, Alice Kagawa Parrott, Lenore Tawney and Eva Zeisel. This group came to maturity along with the emerging American modern craft movement and had influence as designers, artists and teachers.


DALLAS—A collector favorite—the coveted one sheet movie poster for the 1931 classic Cimarron (est. $50,000+), bursting with color and boasting provenance to the storied Berwick Discovery—could take top lot honors in Heritage Auctions’ Vintage Movie Posters Signature Auction July 25-26 in Dallas. The auction’s nearly 1,000 famous movie posters are punctuated by several fresh-to-market collections from around the globe.

“Our summer movie poster auctions are known for rarities, but this season we have several private collections that haven’t been seen in a generation or more,” said Grey Smith, Director of Vintage Posters at Heritage Auctions. “This is the perfect event for collectors to pick up classic posters—many of which are in surprisingly original, untouched condition.”

New York, NY, July 13, 2015—The Board of Trustees of the New York Society Library has approved the recommendation of its Search Committee to appoint Carolyn Waters Head Librarian as of August 1, 2015. The New York Society Library is the city’s oldest library, and its Head Librarian is the institution’s director and head of operations. Carolyn succeeds Mark Bartlett, Head Librarian from 2006 to 2015, who is moving to Toronto with his wife Sue Hunter to continue his career as a librarian in his home country. 

Carolyn joined the Library’s staff in 2007 and has held positions in the Circulation, Cataloging, Reference, and Acquisitions Departments. In 2008 she founded the Library’s Writer Services programming, providing daytime and evening events for the Library’s large and diverse community of member writers. She has been Assistant Head Librarian since December 2011.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania—July 10, 2015—The Library Company of Philadelphia will present over 200 years of fashion history in its newest exhibition, which opens July 20. Fashioning Philadelphia—The Style of the City, 1720-1940 tells the largely unheralded story of Philadelphia's contributions to the early fashion industry. Curated by Wendy Woloson (Assistant Professor of History, Rutgers University), Fashioning Philadelphia will feature prints, photographs, books, ephemera, and artifacts from the Library Company's premier collection of historical materials. The exhibition is on view through March 4, 2016.

The exhibition highlights Philadelphia's many important contributions to making clothing and shaping style over two centuries, which have largely been forgotten today. Home to modest Quakers, prosperous free blacks, well-heeled international transplants, and working classes of all sorts, Philadelphia was America's most cosmopolitan city from the late 18th through the 19th century. Chestnut Street in particular enjoyed a reputation for being as fashionable as the grand thoroughfares of Paris and London. In addition, Philadelphia was a manufacturing powerhouse that supported industries producing textiles, leather goods, and accessories. The city was also a major publishing center—women's magazines such as Godey's Lady's Book helped shape popular fashions and then disseminate them throughout the country. Philadelphia retailers, including Wanamaker and Strawbridge & Clothier, erected lavish department stores—dream palaces of consumption—in the heart of the city.

Brooklyn, NY—July 2015—Exhibitors from all parts of the country are heading to Brooklyn for the Brooklyn Books, Art, Photos and Design Expo (BAPD) on September 19 and 20, 2015.  The stunning, 40,000-square-foot Brooklyn Expo Center in historic Greenpoint, one of Brooklyn’s fastest-growing neighborhoods, will host the event for the second year featuring more than 130 dealers and an exciting range of books, art, ephemera, maps, prints, fine art and mid-century design.

The Expo is produced by Marvin Getman, founder of Impact Events Group, renowned for its well-attended book and antique fairs throughout the Northeast.  BAPD is a two-day “feast” for Brooklyn and Manhattan-ites alike who are known to spend hours browsing old book and antique stores.  Everything from rare books to collectible autographs to vintage photographs will be for sale at the Expo. The art and design row features dealers of fine art, prints and mid century design including fine vintage jewelry.

Miami, FL—Boxes, a comprehensive tool for organizing your belongings, buying and selling with others, announces the official launch of Boxes 2. Set to go live in the App Store in July 2015. Boxes 2 follows the steps of the original Boxes, while improving user experience with a brand new design. The app has been reengineered from the ground up for speed and has over 75 new features, including the ability for sellers to accept payments from right inside Boxes using a new proprietary payment system. 

Over 450,000 people have signed up since the beta began this February 2015, and the community has added over $100 million worth of items.

Western Manuscripts & Miniatures

Wednesday 8th July 2015

Ely House, 37 Dover Street, London

Sale Total £706,837

77 Lots sold

100 Lots offered

77% Sold by lot

Dr Timothy Bolton commented after the sale: “We’re delighted with today’s result and our growing department is eager to build on these foundations. Bidding from both the room and the internet was notably energetic, and proved the market in fragments and leaves to be as strong as that for illuminated and decorated books.”

BOSTON, MA—A typed letter from Jack Kerouac to his literary agent will be featured in an upcoming auction from Boston, based RR Auction.

The typed one-page letter signed twice, “Jack (over)” and “JK,” dated September 27, 1968. Letter to literary agent Sterling Lord in New York concerning the premise for his never-completed final book, the working title of which was Spotlight.


New York—Summer is in full swing and bright images are out in force for Swann Galleries’ largest August auction of Vintage Posters to date. 

    With almost 700 lots, the two-part auction scheduled for August 5 will feature several vivid and vivacious works by theatrical French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, including the iconic Salon des Cent, 1895 (estimate: $40,000 to $60,000), which depicts a young beauty who captured the artist’s attention on a summer boat trip from Le Havre to Bordeaux. Also in the sale are Confetti, 1894, ($30,000 to $40,000); La Revue Blanche, 1895, ($20,000-$30,000); and the intriguing Qui? / L’Artisan Moderne, 1896, ($20,000 to $30,000) among others.

New York, NY, July 6, 2015—In July 1918, Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) was serving as a volunteer with the Red Cross on the Italian Front during World War I when he was seriously wounded by mortar fire. He was just eighteen.
Later he would write, “When you go to war as a boy you have a great illusion of immortality. Other people get killed; not you ... Then when you are badly wounded the first time you lose that illusion and you know it can happen.”

Buyers from around the globe bid furiously for the chance to acquire rare Hebrew Manuscripts at Kestenbaum & Company’s Fine Judaica auction held on June 25th. Tremendous interest and competitive bidding drove hammer prices exponentially beyond their catalogue estimates. The stellar sale results were confidently expected considering the unique quality of the material on offer and the fact that almost one-third of these medieval and pre-modern Hebraic manuscripts remain unpublished. Indeed, for the week ending June 27th, Kestenbaum & Company earned the second highest total proceeds of all Book and Manuscripts auctions worldwide. 

Kestenbaum & Company was honored to have been awarded a singular consignment for auction on behalf of the public authorities of the State of Israel. Much planning went into the preparation of the sale including the hiring of specialist consultant Rabbi Dovid Kamenetsky of Jerusalem to assist with the scholarly research. 

LONDON, Maddox Street—Napoleonic and Georgian satire was in high demand and making top prices in Bloomsbury Auctions’ sale on Thursday 25th June. The packed-out Maddox Street saleroom saw competitive bidders pushing prices to new record heights, with 98% of the lots selling for a total of £320,000 ($500,000), over three times the low estimate.

All lots in Lord Baker of Dorking’s opening collection of Napoleonic Caricatures sold, with many achieving well over estimate. James Gillray’s iconic The Plumb-pudding in danger, showing Pitt and Napoleon carving up the globe, sold for £18,600 far exceeding its previous record of £11,950 set in London, 2002 [Lot 51].  Other record prices included Gillray’s set of six Egyptian Sketches, £10,416 [Lot 8], The Valley of the Shadow of Death, sold for £4,712 [Lot 68] and Fighting for the Dunghill, sold for £4,340 [Lot 6] both also by James Gillray.

A most remarkable item of historical importance is coming up on auction, particularly because of the 1916 Easter Rising commemorations which are planned for next year in Ireland.

Lot 2 - Casement, [Sir] Roger: Autograph letter in manuscript, signed by Roger Casement, expressing strong views on Irish language and independence

Roger David Casement (IrishRuairí Dáithí Mac Easmainn; 1 September 1864 - 3 August 1916)—known as Sir Roger Casement between 1911 and shortly before his execution for treason, when he was stripped of his knighthood[1]—was an Anglo-Irish diplomat for the United Kingdom, a humanitarian activist, Irish nationalist and a poet. Described as the "father of twentieth-century human rights investigations," he was awarded honours in 1905 for his report on the Congo and knighted in 1911 for his important investigations of human rights abuses in Peru. These achievements became overshadowed by his efforts during World War I to gain German collaboration for a 1916 armed uprising in Ireland to gain its independence.

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