May 2018 Archives

blobid3_1527759979782.pngLondon--The Wassenaar Zoo: a Dutch Private Library sale at Bonhams in London on 30 May 2018 realised £1,723,075 with 227 of the 234 lots sold.

Highlights of the sale included:

  • A world record of £102,500 for a first edition of the five volume Birds of New Guinea and the Adjacent Papuan Islands by John Gould and Richard Sharpe.  This was Gould final work completed after his death in 1881 by Sharpe and published between 1875-1888.  
  • A first edition of the seven-volume Birds of Australia (1840-1869), by John Gould. The result of his own tour of the continent during which he named 300 new species of birds, the edition sold for £187,500 having been estimated at £100,000-150,000.
  • llustrations of the Family of Psittacidae or Parrots by Edward Lear which made £90,000 against its pre-sale estimate of £40,000-60,000.
  • Histoire naturelle des oiseaux de paradis (1806) by the French explorer, zoological collector, and noted ornithologist François Levaillant. Estimated at £20,000-30,000, it sold for £65,000.

Bonhams Head of Fine Books and Manuscripts, Matthew Haley said: “This was a spectacular result for what was one of the finest collections of historical ornithological books still in private hands. I was not surprised that collectors took full advantage of this rare opportunity to acquire some of the most eagerly sought after examples of this beautiful genre.”    

To read more about the collection, click here to read Simon Barnes’ article in Bonhams magazine.

Image: Red and Yellow Macaw from Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae or Parrots by Edward Lear. Sold for £90,000

NBF18-Poster_May copy.jpgU.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will launch her first children’s book, along with a young readers adaptation of her memoir, as part of the Main Stage lineup of authors at the 2018 National Book Festival, the Library of Congress announced today. Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden will interview Sotomayor about her new book, “Turning Pages: My Life Story,” which tells about her childhood and her lifelong love of books.

This year’s festival will be held Saturday, Sept. 1, with doors opening at 8:30 a.m. and presentations beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 7:30 p.m., at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The festival will include presentations on a wide range of books, including fiction, mysteries and fantasy, graphic novels, history and biography, contemporary subjects and science, poetry and prose, and books for children and teens.

The 2018 festival also will offer visitors a chance to engage with the new PBS series “The Great American Read,” an initiative that celebrates the joy of reading and the most beloved books. The series, which premiered May 22, will introduce viewers to America’s 100 favorite novels and will culminate in a national vote to choose “America’s Best-Loved Novel.” Visitors will be able to cast their votes at the National Book Festival, as well as online and through social media.

This year’s Main Stage lineup includes a mix of authors and genres.

Main Stage Presenters

  • U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will discuss her new book, “Turning Pages: My Life Story,” written for children ages 4 to 8 and illustrated by artist Lulu Delacre. In the book, the first Latina Supreme Court justice tells her own story for young readers for the first time, including how books inspired her and helped her connect with family in New York and in Puerto Rico, to cope with her father’s death and to dream of a brighter future. Sotomayor also will launch “The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor,” the young readers adaptation of her memoir “My Beloved World,” in conversation with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.
  • Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will present her new book, “Fascism: A Warning,” a history of fascism in the 20th century and how its legacy shapes the world.
  • Author Isabel Allende will discuss her novel “In the Midst of Winter.” The story is about an academic who rear-ends a car driven by an undocumented immigrant and the adventure that unfolds.
  • Presenting his new book, “The Monk of Mokha,” novelist Dave Eggers will tell the true story of a young Yemeni American who set out to resurrect the ancient art of Yemeni coffee but was trapped in a raging civil war. Eggers will appear with Mokhtar Alkhanshali, the hero of the book.
  • Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin will launch her new book, “Leadership: In Turbulent Times,” an examination of the art of leadership based on four presidents she has studied most closely.
  • Historian Jon Meacham will present his latest book, “The Soul of America,” about critical times in our history when hope overcame fear and division.
  • Best-selling author Amy Tan will discuss her new memoir, “Where the Past Begins,” delving into memories of her traumatic childhood, the inspiration behind her fiction and the way she thinks as a writer.

Additional authors will be announced in the coming months. More information and updates will be available on the National Book Festival website at

The Library also recently unveiled the 2018 National Book Festival poster with original art by Gaby D’Alessandro, a Dominican illustrator based in New York City. The poster depicts a whimsical hot air balloon carrying a young reader into space.

The National Book Festival is made possible by the generous support of private- and public-sector sponsors who share the Library’s commitment to reading and literacy, led by National Book Festival Co-Chairman David M. Rubenstein. Sponsors include Charter sponsors the Institute of Museum and Library Services, The Washington Post and Wells Fargo; Patron sponsors the James Madison Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities; Champion-level sponsor PBS; Contributor-level sponsors National Geographic and Scholastic Inc.; and, in the Friends category, AARP, Booklovers Circle members, Bookshare - a Benetech initiative, Marshall B. Coyne Foundation Inc., Dollar General Literacy Foundation, Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction administered by The University of Alabama School of Law, The Hay-Adams, The Junior League of Washington, Library of Congress Federal Credit Union, J.J. Medveckis Foundation, Timothy and Diane Naughton, Reading Is Fundamental, Small Press Expo (SPX) and the Whittle School & Studios. Those interested in supporting the National Book Festival can contact the Library at

Later this summer, the National Book Festival app will be updated with complete presenter, schedule and wayfinding information for iOS or Android smartphones. Follow the festival on Twitter @librarycongress with hashtag #NatBookFest.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at, and register creative works of authorship at

Image: Original art for the 2018 National Book Festival poster was created by Gaby D’Alessandro, a Dominican illustrator based in New York City.


Letters About Literature, a Library of Congress national writing competition, has announced its winners for 2018. The national program, now in its 26th year, asks young people in grades 4-12 to write to an author about how his or her work affected their lives.

More than 46,800 young readers from across the country participated in the annual initiative, which aims to instill a lifelong love of reading in the nation’s youth and to engage and nurture their passion for literature. The contest is promoted by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress through its affiliated state centers, state libraries, state humanities councils and other organizations.

“Letters About Literature provides an authentic writing experience for students to reflect on their own reading and connect with an author,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “As a librarian, I know first-hand how important the link is between reading and writing. Children who read will write better and children who write will read more.”

This year, more than 1,500 educators and 1,200 schools implemented the Letters About Literature program in their classrooms. The contest reached students in 70 percent of U.S. congressional districts.

This year’s winners come from all parts of the country. They wrote to authors as diverse as Margot Lee Shetterly, Rick Riordan, Helen Keller, Tim Howard and Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Top letter-writers are chosen for each state and in each of three levels: Level 1 (grades 4-6), Level 2 (grades 7-8) and Level 3 (grades 9-12). For each level, a National Prize winner and two National Honor winners are chosen.

Following are this year’s winners:

Level 1 National Prize

Akosua Haynes of Chicago, Illinois, wrote to Margot Lee Shetterly, author of “Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race.”

Level 1 National Honor Award

Ainsley Carr of Parker, Colorado, wrote to Gill Lewis, author of “White Dolphin.”

Adam Kesselman of Addison, Texas, wrote to Tim Howard, author of “The Keeper: The Unguarded Story of Tim Howard.”

Level 2 National Prize

Rylee Paige Johnson of Hoffman Estates, Illinois, wrote to Gabrielle Zevin, author of “Elsewhere.”

Level 2 National Honor Award

Riya Sharma of Redmond, Washington, wrote to Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, authors of “The Confidence Code for Girls.”

Baxter Lowrimore of Austin, Texas, wrote to Rick Riordan, author of “Percy Jackson and the Olympians.”

Level 3 National Prize

Malavika Kannan of Oviedo, Florida, wrote to Kurt Vonnegut Jr., author of “Slaughter-House Five.”

Level 3 National Honor Award

Maya Mau of Plainsboro, New Jersey, wrote to Helen Keller, author of “The Story of My Life.”

Sukanya Barman of Memphis, Tennessee, wrote to Laurie Halse Anderson, author of “Catalyst.”

The national program is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book.

Letters About Literature is a dynamic educational program that promotes lifelong readers and helps develop successful writers. It is the Library’s signature national outreach program to young people. More than 1 million students have participated in the writing contest since it began a quarter of a century ago.

An online teaching guide uses proven strategies for improving reading and writing proficiency and is aligned with the learning objectives recommended by the National Council of Teachers of English and the International Literacy Association. Learn more about the contest and read current and past winning letters at

The Library’s Center for the Book, established by Congress in 1977 to stimulate public interest in books and reading, is a national force for reading and literacy promotion. A public-private partnership, it sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages through its affiliated state centers, collaborations with nonprofit reading-promotion partners and through its Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress. For more information, visit

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs. Plan a visit at, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at and register creative works of authorship at


Geppi.jpgWashington--The Library of Congress announced today that collector and entrepreneur Stephen A. Geppi has donated to the nation’s library more than 3,000 items from his phenomenal and vast personal collection of comic books and popular art, including the original storyboards that document the creation of Mickey Mouse.  This multimillion-dollar gift includes comic books, original art, photos, posters, newspapers, buttons, pins, badges and related materials, and select items will be on display beginning this summer.  

The Stephen A. Geppi Collection of Comics and Graphic Arts has been on public display in Baltimore, Maryland, for the past decade and is a remarkable and comprehensive assemblage of popular art.  It includes a wide range of rare comics and represents the best of the Golden (1938-1956), Silver (1956-1970) and Bronze (1970-1985) ages of comic books.  The mint-condition collection is also noted for its racially and socially diverse content as well as the distinctive creative styles of each era.  

The collection also includes motion picture posters and objects showcasing how music, comic book characters, cultural icons and politicians were popularized in the consumer marketplace.  Among these are Beatles memorabilia, a collection of flicker rings popularizing comic book characters and political figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Richard Outcault’s The Yellow Kid printing blocks and the No. 2 Brownie camera model F from Eastman Kodak Company.

One signature item in the collection represents the birth of one of animation’s most iconic characters. Six rare storyboards detail the story layout and action for Walt Disney’s 1928 animated film, “Plane Crazy.”  It was the first Mickey Mouse cartoon produced, but the third to be released, after sound was added, in 1929.  “Steamboat Willie” was the first Mickey Mouse cartoon to be theatrically released, on Nov. 18, 1928, which marks its 90th anniversary this year. 

“The Library of Congress is home to the nation’s largest collection of comic books, cartoon art and related ephemera and we celebrate this generous donation to the American people that greatly enhances our existing holdings,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “The appeal of comic books is universal, and we are thrilled that this new addition to the collections will make them even more accessible to people worldwide.” 

“When I began collecting comic books as a young boy and then in earnest in 1972, I would have never dreamed that a major portion of my collection would find a home at the Library of Congress, alongside the papers of 23 presidents, the Gutenberg Bible and Thomas Jefferson’s library,” said Geppi.  “This gift will help celebrate the history of comics and pop culture and their role in promoting literacy.”

Geppi is the owner and CEO of Diamond Comic Distributors, based in Baltimore.  A fan of comic books as a child, he later began seriously collecting them and turned his passion into a series of pop culture businesses.  Over the years, Geppi amassed one of the largest individual collections of vintage comic books and pop culture artifacts in the world.    

Geppi will continue to be an active collector and will be considering other donations to the Library of Congress in the future.  “I view this newly established connection to the Library of Congress as the beginning of a long-term relationship,” said Geppi.   

The Library holds more than 140,000 issues of about 13,000 comic book titles, dating back to the 1930s.  The collection includes many firsts and some of the most important comics in history, including the first comic book sold on newsstands; the first series featuring Batman and other iconic characters; and All Star Comics #8, which introduced fans to Wonder Woman.  The Library also holds a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15, which tells the origin story of Spider-Man, and the original artwork that Steve Ditko created for that issue. The Geppi Collection expands and enriches this strong foundation and fills gaps in specific issues. 

The Serial and Government Publications Division maintains one of the most extensive newspaper collections in the world. It is exceptionally strong in United States newspapers, with 9,000 titles covering the past three centuries. With more than 25,000 non-U.S. titles, it is the largest collection of international newspapers in the world. Beyond its newspaper holdings, the division also has extensive collections of current periodicals (40,000 titles), comic books (13,000 titles) and government publications (1 million items). The collection of comic books is available for research use by scholars, collectors and other researchers in the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room.  More information can be found at

The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division holds more than 15 million photographs, drawings and prints from the 15th century to the present day.  International in scope, these visual collections represent a rich array of human experience, knowledge, creativity and achievement, touching on almost every realm of endeavor—science, art, invention, government and political struggle, and the recording of history.  More information can be found at

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.  Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at and register creative works of authorship at

Image: Entrepreneur Stephen A. Geppi with some of his most treasured comic books, including (front, far left) Action Comics No. 1 featuring the first appearance of Superman. Courtesy of The Library of Congress


p1ceo8uv6n35a1gg41krm9kdlc15.002.jpegWomen artists, photography, prints and vintage posters are all potential growth areas in the art market to watch, according to Barnebys, the worlds largest auction search engine, as it launches its 2018 Art Market Report today.

Titled Tomorrow - the view from today, the search engine’s report mines data from over 65 million lots sold at auction by more than 3,000 auction houses globally, as well as almost 16.4 million user sessions relating to nearly 5 million items coming up for sale.

Barnebys’ co-founder and head of content Pontus Silfverstolpe - a leading authority on the art and antiques market in his native Sweden - made the predictions after noting significant growth in auction sales within certain price ranges, combined with demographic profiles of the search engine’s users, which point to new audiences joining what has largely been an art, antiques and collectibles market until now.

“We observe the rising importance of women artists”, says Silfverstolpe. “History offered fewer opportunities for women to dedicate their lives to careers in art and design, so there is simply less art by recognised female talent around, with the result that the market for art by women has traditionally been far less developed than that by men.” But this is changing now.

He identifies the following women artists to keep track of - Jenny Saville, Cecily Brown, Georgia O’Keeffe, Joan Mitchell, Nathalie Djurberg, Petra Cortright, Cady Noland, Agnes Martin, Laura Owens, Yayoi Kusama,  Njideka Akunyili Crosby and Barbara Kreuger.

“Much more focus is now rightly being given to female talent that has either been unsung or overshadowed for political and social reasons in the past. Just look at the profile now being given to the likes of Frida Kahlo in London and Mary Cassatt in Paris in major retrospectives; this attention will filter through to the market and sales online will flourish as buyers try to snap up the best art by women before prices rocket.”

Silfverstolpe also identifies photography, prints and vintage posters as the front-runner for growing interest and investment. Images like the ones below of Bowie, Marilyn Monroe and Faye Dunaway are increasingly collectable.

“All of these fields have growing prices, but still offer a lot of bang for your money at the lower end, with starting prices at under €100 - the level that these buyers are already spending at. Visually, these types of collectibles have instant appeal and also crossover appeal, attracting everyone from home decorators to those with an interest in graphic design, as well as specialist areas like history, entertainment and travel.

“This exactly matches the profile of many of our typical users across the various markets we focus on. All these factors point to powerful growth potential.”

”We see that many people want art from names such as Picasso, Koons and Banksy, three of the most common keywords in Barnebys´s search engine. These are artists whom they know and whose art they have seen, but whose original paintings they cannot afford. Yet.”

Silfverstolpe also sees these collecting fields as paths to greater investment in art and collectibles as buyers grow in confidence and are prepared to commit more money to each purchase.

“As that interest and commitment grows, so theystart to look around further and notice more expensive items that attract their interest, such as drawings, paintings and designer furniture. This is how markets develop. If the skill, artistic inspiration and accomplished craftsmanship is there, you will attract buyers.”

Image: Cecily Brown - The Girl Who Had Everything - Sold for £1.2m.


Collins.pngNew York - The Center for Book Arts will feature Bethany Collins as a part of the Feature Artist Project series through a series of seven works. The medium of book arts serves as the vessel for Collins exploration of evolving ideals held by the American People as well as observation of the isolation of manipulated language.

As a part of the Feature Artist Project, Collins has gathered 100 verses of Rev. Samuel E. Smith’s My Country ‘Tis of Thee, all of which were written over a two century period. Each lyric erases a previous and highlights a newfound cause passionately held by the American People. Alongside America: A Hymnal are works from her Contronym series, altered dictionaries and encyclopedias, each refusing in its own way a singularity of meaning. With seven total works in the exhibition, Collins showcases herself as a bold addition to the Featured Artist Project Series.

Bethany Collins is a multidisciplinary artist whose conceptually driven work is fueled by a critical exploration of how race and language interact. Her works have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions nationwide. Collins has been recognized as an Artist-in-Residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the MacDowell Colony, the Bemis Center and the Hyde Park Art Center among others. In 2015, she was awarded the Hudgens Prize.

Occasional Verse will be on display at The Center for Book Arts in New York until June 30, 2018 and an artist talk and reception will be held June 8, 6:30 pm.

Freud.pngNew York—The Center for Book Arts along with Susanne Padberg will feature a collection of works based around concepts and theories of psychoanalysis developed by Sigmund Freud through the medium of contemporary  book art. Curated by Padberg, her beliefs that the many psychoanalytic techniques Freud developed are aspects in the analytic process as well as potent inspirations for artistic throughout each of the works within the exhibition.

In a group exhibition, Freud on the Couch - Psyche in the Book, organized by Susanne Padberg, 30 artists’ works have been chosen to exhibit some of the psychoanalytic concepts by Freud through direct or indirect reference. With source material ranging from much of his cultural work, like the ego, memory, the unconscious and so on, each work proves to be another example of Freud’s many concepts and techniques being held important to the analytic process that serves as inspiration to the forces shaping artistic work. Padberg believes “We are surrounded by the issues Freud named and analyzed, and we are also moved by them.”

Artists Include: Thorsten Baensch, Sarah Bryant, Ken Campbell, Crystal Cawley, Maureen Cummins, Anne Deguelle, Gerhild Ebel, Stefan Gunnesch, Karen Hanmer, Anna Helm, Susan Johanknecht, Kurt Johannessen, Janosch Kaden, Burgi Kühnemann, M. M. Lum, Jule Claudia Mahn, Patrizia Meinert, Simon & Christine Morris, Didier Mutel, Susanne Nickel, Yasutomo Ota, Waltraud Palme, Marian St. Laurent, Veronika Schäpers, Robbin Ami Silverberg, Herbert Stattler, Ines von Ketelhodt, Carola Willbrand & Mark Met, and Sam Winston.

Since 1994 Susanne Padberg has been proprietor of Galerie Druck & Buch, Vienna, which specializes in international contemporary book art. As curator she has organized numerous exhibitions, and conferences at galleries, museums, libraries, and art spaces in Frankfurt, Vienna, Seoul, Berlin, and Aix-en-Provence. 

Freud on the Couch - Psyche in the Book will be on display at The Center for Book Arts in New York until June 30, 2018

Screen Shot 2018-05-29 at 8.37.24 AM.pngDaniel Crouch Rare Books (DCRB) is teaming up with Les Enluminures for their stand at Masterpiece this summer. Taking inspiration from the recent exhibition on medieval time at the Morgan Library, their joint display will explore methods of marking and keeping time throughout history.

Telling time

The exhibition begins with telling the time: with a Book of Hours from Les Enluminures, which takes its name from the prayers recited eight times a day, marking the hours of devotion. DCRB will show a sixteenth century calendar that allows the user to mark the length of a day, the days of the month, and the zodiac.

Historical time

Trying to fix events in history was a powerful motive for marking time. DCRB’s work by Petrus Apianus contains lavish paper instruments, enabling the reader to trace historical astronomical phenomena, like the eclipse that supposedly happened during the Crucifixion. Les Enluminures’ illuminated manuscript roll covering the history of the genealogy of Christ, the only recorded pre-1300 roll in private hands, aims to present the Bible as a narrative describing real people by juxtaposing sacred and secular events.

Eternal time

Another astronomical work from DCRB, by Andreas Cellarius, shows the planetary and zodiac systems of different cultures, and the different methods by which eternity was understood. A second Book of Hours from Les Enluminures contains wonderfully decorated miniatures of sacred scenes, including the Last Judgement, encouraging the reader to reflect on the eternity of sacred time.

Memento mori

But although time might be eternal, life is not, as Les Enluminures’ memento mori skull pendant reminds the viewer. Containing the relics of three saints, it would have prompted the owner to greater piety in anticipation of the afterlife. DCRB’s globe of Mars by Emmy Ingeborg Brun shows a different approach: Brun believed Mars could be repurposed as a socialist utopia when mankind’s time on earth ran out.

Paris - This eclectic sale brought together works from very different fields. Buyers were responsive to this original selection, as witness the high proportion of lots sold: 80%, a record rate for the second time running in France's book market. With a total of €1.9 million, this sale of books and manuscripts was a resounding success, rewarding a bold approach by Sotheby’s France. 

The outstanding lot in the antique section of the first sale, Les relations des Jésuites au Canada au XVIIe siècle (a very rare collection of 17 letters) multiplied its low estimate by ten, at €125,000 (lot 6). Humboldt, another piece of Americana with its extraordinary journey through South America, largely exceeded its high estimate when it garnered €25,000 (lot 29). 

The highest price went to one of Marc Chagall's most dazzling books, illustrated with 42 vibrantly fresh original lithographs: Daphnis & Chloé, Tériade, 1961, driven up to €140,000 (lot 81). 

Another highly popular lot, five of Antonin Artaud's unpublished sketchbooks, was pre- empted at €68,750 by the Bibliothèque nationale de France (lot 65). These fascinating sketchbooks from one of Artaud's most creative periods provide remarkable documentation on the author's life and dramatic philosophy. 

Three love letters from Guillaume Apollinaire to Lou, two containing autograph poems and one where he illustrates himself with her, inspired some splendid bidding battles, selling for €20,000, €35,000 and €25,000 respectively (lots 52 to 54). 

In the second part, Sotheby’s was delighted to sell books and manuscripts from Marcel Proust's library, subsequently enlarged by his niece Suzy Mante-Proust. Audiences were riveted from the very beginning, as was obvious during the talk opening the exhibition by Proust expert Jean-Yves Tadié. 

The highest price went to one of the most important lots in the sale: a very early draft of one of the finest passages from Côté de chez Swann, describing the hero's walk along the Vivonne (lot 160, €132,500). 

One of the great discoveries of this collection was the striking personality of Reynaldo Hahn, Marcel Proust's great love and lifelong friend, seen through their amusing correspondence. One letter describes Proust's day (lot 140, €6,875), while a touching series, almost entirely unpublished, illustrates the strong bond between the two men (lot 141, €19,375) and a beautiful melancholic letter full of feeling speaks of the death of Mallarmé (lot 145, €4,500). 

One of the most fought-over lots was a pencil portrait of Marcel Proust on his deathbed by Jean-Bernard Eschemann, which finally fetched €45,000 (lot 196). 

The session was also rich with lots illustrating Proust's daily life, including a 1911 note from the Grand Hôtel in Cabourg, the town on which he based Balbec (lot 169, €9,000). 


Lot 65 

Antonin Artaud 




Pre-empted by the Bibliothèque nationale de France 

Lot 181 

Marcel Proust 


Manuscript galley, 1914-1918 


Pre-empted by the Musée Marcel Proust in lliers-Combray 


blobid6_1527248108353.pngThe definitive draft of Robert Frost’s poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening - one of the most famous and popular poems of the 20th century - is to be offered for sale at Bonhams Fine Books and Manuscripts sale in London on Wednesday 20 June.  It is estimated at £20,000-30,000.

It appears in a letter dated 28th January 1923 sent by Frost to his friend in England, Jack Haines. Frost wrote, “I shall be sending you some poetry in MS again before long", adding as an afterthought, "I believe I'll copy a bit here and now." The ‘bit’ turned out to be the final, four-verse, version of Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening word for word as it was subsequently published.

The only other surviving pre-publication draft of the poem consisted of three verses only. Frost added this fourth verse at the beginning to set the scene:

“Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.”

Bonhams Head of Fine Books Matthew Haley said: “Almost all of Frost’s correspondence is well documented, so it was a great surprise to discover this unpublished letter with Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening written out for the very first time, exactly as we know it today. The discovery allows us to date Frost’s composition of the extra verse and, therefore, the completed work.

“The addition of a new first verse rebalances the poem and creates a much more vivid picture than the three-verse version.  And, of course, the words “stopping… woods… snow” echo more fully the title of the poem. The work is wonderfully song-like, especially with the final repetition, and somehow thoroughly American in its mood of the lonely pioneer and the great American landscape.”

Haines and Frost met in early 1914 when the American poet, who had travelled to the UK in 1912 to restart his literary career, moved to Gloucestershire where Haines was a local solicitor. The two men became close and life-long friends. Haines, a poetry enthusiast, acted as the hub for a group of poets some of whom, including Frost, lived in the village of Dymock.  Among the other Dymock Poets, as they became known, were Rupert Brooke, Edward Thomas and John Drinkwater.

There are 30 letters from Frost to Haines in the sale, mainly written after Frost’s return to the USA in 1915. They are full of literary gossip and family news; his deep affection for Gloucestershire and the friends he left behind, the progress of his work and his growing fame. He also reflects on the devastation of the First World War, in which Brooke and Thomas died.

Of Brooke’s death in April 1915, Frost writes: ʻI was struck sad for Rupert... how much the war had done to make him a better poet. The war saved him only to kill him.' The letter is dated 15 May 1915, and is estimated at £2,000-3,000.

The death of Edward Thomas hit Frost harder. Their friendship had been particularly intense. Frost’s first book of poetry, A Boy’s Will, was published in 1913, and was largely ignored until praised by Thomas - a prominent literary critic. In return, Frost encouraged Thomas to abandon literary journalism, which he found both stressful and demanding, and to embrace poetry.

Thomas was killed on 9 April 1917 on the first day of the Battle of Arras. Frost, who was later to describe Thomas as ‘the only brother I ever had’, wrote to Haines on 29 April, “I haven’t written for a long time because there was nothing to write except that I was sick at heart.’ The letter is estimated at £3,000-4,000.

The sale also features Edward Thomas’s newly discovered poetry notebook containing the only hand-written compositional drafts of his poems The Mountain Chapel and The Birds' Nests. It is estimated at £30,000-40,000.

Image: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost (right). Estimate: £20,000-30,000

moore-mask_500.jpgSan Marino, CA— An exhibition focused on the surprising diversity of styles and subject matter found in the graphic art made by Henry Moore (1898-1986), the most prominent British sculptor of the 20th-century, will go on view at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens on June 16. “Spirit and Essence, Line and Form: The Graphic Work of Henry Moore” celebrates the Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation’s gift to The Huntington of 337 of Moore’s works on paper with a display of 28 prints selected to highlight the range of intricate, often delicate works that explore the same universal themes found in Moore’s sculpture: the roots of creation, the body, life, and death. The exhibition runs through Oct. 1, 2018.

“One of the most exciting things about the Berman Collection is the great variety of work it represents,” said Melinda McCurdy, associate curator of British art and curator of the exhibition. “This exhibition gives visitors a chance to see how Moore’s exploration of the interrelationship of shape and mass we know from his sculptural work is put to work on paper—with subjects ranging from massive rocks at Stonehenge to the angles and depths of an elephant skull, then on to the complexity of a mother-child relationship. The Berman gift really allows us to represent one of the most influential British modernists in the broadest possible way.”

Famous for his monumental biomorphic sculptures, which are enjoyed by millions in museums and public spaces worldwide, Moore is less well known for his work as a graphic artist who produced drawings as well as prints—more than 700 over his career. Moore used prints to explore universal themes, but also to express topics that were deeply personal, reacting to the political and social climate of his time and to his own preoccupations.

The exhibition is organized along thematic lines. 

Moore experienced Stonehenge for the first time in 1921, at age 23. He took the train from London and arrived at a nearby hotel late in the evening. Impatient to see the prehistoric monument, he visited the site alone by moonlight and never forgot the impression it made on him. Decades later, when discussing his 1973 series of 18 lithographs, he recalled the moment. “Moonlight, as you know, enlarges everything,” he said, “and the mysterious depths and distances made [Stonehenge] seem enormous.”

“Many of Moore’s Stonehenge lithographs reinforce this sense of enormity,” said McCurdy. “A number of his prints offer close-up, partial views of the monoliths, as if it were impossible for him to capture them completely. This enhances their sublimity, creating a sense of vastness that provokes feelings of vulnerability, or of agelessness that reminds us of our own impermanence.”

Elephant Skull
Juxtaposing the study of Stonehenge’s enormity with one that focuses on the minute details of an individual object, the next section in the installation explores Moore’s interest in a single elephant skull. Naturalist Sir Julian Huxley gave Moore the object in the late 1960s. It became the subject of the artist’s near obsession with its angles, depths, and forms. Moore’s studies of the object developed into the Elephant Skull album, a portfolio of 45 etchings produced between 1969 and 1970. The prints explore the skull from a distance and extremely close up. Moore’s captions for the etchings indicate that he regarded the skull as an adaptable metaphor, one that recalled his own sculptural work, architectural elements, or features of the landscape.

Also part of this section of the exhibition is a later lithograph that reveals Moore’s continuing fascination with the elephant. “Unlike in his more abstract work, in this image it seems as though he revels in the living animal’s distinctive appearance, rendering the texture of its wrinkled skin in almost photographic detail,” said McCurdy.

While these two sections concentrate on particular portfolios of work, two other sections present individual prints with a broad range of themes.

Balancing Classical and Romantic sensibilities
Moore wrote, “When it’s all classic, it’s too obvious and cold and deadly perfect; when it’s all romantic, it’s too loose, uncontrolled, wildly chaotic, and shapeless.” He described his art as a balance of the Classical—rational, symmetrical, static, and geometric—and the Romantic—emotional, asymmetric, dynamic, and organic—and he responded to works of art that he believed exhibited these characteristics. Mesoamerican sculpture, for example, had what he felt was a “largeness of scale and a grim, sublime, austerity,” qualities that appear in his lithograph Mexican Mask (1974). He also admired the work of 18th-century Italian artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi, whose series of engraved Imaginary Prisons, showing strange labyrinthine subterranean vaults, inspired the setting for Reclining Figure Piranesi Background II (1979). Even when depicting architectural elements, Moore imbues the geometric structures with a sense of mystery by skewing their angles or enhancing their shadows.

An Artist’s Obsessions

While a number of works in the exhibition may seem uncharacteristic of Moore’s well-known style, several objects on view are more readily recognizable. For example, the softly rounded bodies in Five Reclining Figures (1979) are reminiscent of his large-scale bronze pieces, but in graphic form, utilizing two dimensions to explore the relationship between mass and volume at play in the artist’s sculptural work. “And they make you wonder, are these primordial icons, suggesting fertility, creation, or life itself?” said McCurdy. “Or do they represent the anxieties of the modern world, evoking such themes as sexuality, repression, and isolation?”

Another of Moore’s most repeated subjects, the mother and child, reveals the complexity of that relationship. One lithograph of a mother and child in “Spirit and Essence” recalls the sober image of a Renaissance Madonna and Child, while another shows a sculpture-like figure reaching tenderly for her baby. 

“Moore was quite aware of his tendency for ‘obsession,’ and that attribute is part of what makes his graphic work so fascinating,” said McCurdy. “In print after print we are able to see the deep exploration of single subjects that occupied Moore over the course of his career and across media.” 

Support for this exhibition is provided by Heather and Paul Haaga and the Susan and Stephen Chandler Exhibition Endowment.

Image: Henry Moore, Mexican Mask, 1974, lithograph, 26 x 19 in. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Gift of Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation. © The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017 /


Cuzco copy.jpgDallas, Texas - A powerful image by American photographer Irving Penn could bring as much as $150,000 in Heritage Auctions’ Photographs Auction June 5 in New York.

“This auction has an exceptional array of works by outstanding photographers,” Heritage Auctions Photographs Director Nigel Russell said. “The sale features masterworks from the Sato Collection by Penn, Avedon, Newton, Herb Ritts and others. Several of the lots are rare images from limited editions that rarely appear at auction, making them even more appealing to serious collectors.”

Irving Penn Cuzco Children, Peru, December, 1948 (est. $100,000-150,000) is a platinum-palladium image, flush-mounted to aluminum. It is signed, titled, dated and editioned “40/60” with a “1428” notation in pencil with the Penn Condé Nast copyright credit reproduction limitation stamp, and stamped “In addition to 60 numbered prints of this image in platinum metals, unnumbered, but signed silver prints not exceeding a total of 30 may exist” on verso. The 60-year-old image of two children from the city in the Peruvian Andes Mountains measures 19-1/2 by 20-1/4 inches. 

Helmut Newton Saddle I, Paris (at the Hotel Lancaster), 1976 (est. $50,000-70,000) is a striking work by German-Australian fashion photographer Helmut Newton, who was known for erotically charged black and white photos that were featured frequently in numerous publications. The 12-by-18-1/4-inch gelatin silver image is signed by the photographer and printer, and titled and dated in pencil with the photographer’s copyright stamp on verso.

Another image expected to fare well in the auction is Irving Penn Guedras in the Wind, Morocco, 1971 (est. $30,000-50,000). Penn’s 40-year-old platinum-palladium image is signed, titled, dated, annotated and editioned “18/32” in pencil with the photographer’s copyright stamp on verso.

Already drawing significant pre-auction interest is Richard Avedon Dovima with Elephants, Evening Dress by Dior, Cirque d'Hiver, Paris, 1955 (est. $30,000-50,000). This stunning 8-by-10-inch gelatin silver contact print of the elegant woman standing between two pachyderms is signed and editioned “46/100” in pencil with the photographer’s copyright stamp on verso. 

Ansel Adams Clearing Winter Storm, Yosemite National Park, 1937 (est. $25,000-35,000) is a breathtaking photo by Adams, the renowned American photographer and environmentalist whose black-and-white landscape photographs of the American West, especially Yosemite, have enjoyed massive success when reproduced in books, on posters and calendars, and on the internet. This gelatin silver image is signed in pencil mount recto and titled in ink in the photographer’s stamp mount verso.

Other top lots include, but are not limited to:

·         David Yarrow Mankind, Yirol, South Sudan, 2014: est. $20,000-30,000

·         Julia Margaret Cameron Paul and Virginia, circa 1865: $20,000-30,000

·         Herb Ritts Floating Torso, St. Barthélemy, 1987: $15,000-25,000

·         Robert Mapplethorpe Poppy, 1988: $15,000-25,000

·         Lewis Carroll Study of Alexandra 'Xie' Kitchin, 1874: est. $15,000-25,000

·         Helmut Newton Tied-up Torso, Ramatuelle, 1980: est. $15,000-25,000

The auction also includes the largest group of Jerry Uelsmann photographs to appear at auction. The collection of 56 images by Uelsmann, a photomontage pioneer who mastered the art of merging multiple photos into stunning single images where the combinations are so seamless that his works have been referred to as “Photoshop before there was Photoshop.” Among the top Uelsmann images in the auction:

·         Jerry Uelsmann Untitled (Philosopher's Desk), 1976 (est. $2,500-3,500)

·         Jerry Uelsmann Apocalypse II, 1967 (est. $2,000-3,000)

·         Untitled (Nude and river), 1992 (est. $2,000-3,000)

·         Untitled (House and roots), 1982 (est. $2,000-3,000)

·         Animal Dream, 1978 ($1,500-2,500)

·         Untitled (Woman in cloth), 1991 (est. $1,500-2,500)

·         Untitled (Kadzu), 1982 (est. $1,500-2,500)

·         Untitled (Roman tile), 1993 (est. $1,500-2,500)

139_1.jpgChicago — Collectors hit the jackpot at Potter & Potter's recent gambling memorabilia sale. When the frenzied bidding finally came to an end, 31 lots realized between $1,000-1,999; 37 lots realized between $2,000-$9,999; and three lots exceeded the five-figure mark, in a most impressive way!  Prices noted include the company's 20% buyer's premium. 

Enthusiasts from the four corners of the globe took notice of this sale's phenomenal collection of antique gambling books.  The odds-on favorite for the auction's top sale - lot #151, Alfred Trumble's Faro Exposed; or The Gambler and his Prey. Being a Complete Explanation of the Famous Game, its Origin and Development, and how its Skins are Worked - did not disappoint.  This extraordinarily rare 1882 publication dealing with the subject of advantage play made $24,000; a possible new world's record for a gambling book.  Collectors also anted up to lot #126, F.R. Ritter's Advantage Card Playing and Draw Poker. This book from 1905, featuring the first photograph of a Jacob's Ladder-style holdout ever printed, Ritter’s 20 rules for playing poker, and images of cards marked with "blockout" work, more than doubled its low estimate to sell for $14,400.  

This exciting auction also featured a number of additional best sellers in its book category. Lot #7, John Blackbridge's 1875 The Complete Poker Player, realized $2,640 on its $500-750 estimate. And lot #139, an original, first edition copy of R.A. Smith's Poker to Win from 1925 made $1,800 on its $300-500 estimate.  The book included a treatise on card sharping, including false shuffles, false deals, cons, tricks, and other sleight-of-hand poker dodges. 

Collectors didn't keep things close to the vest in regards to the spectacular dice, cards, and chips on offer through this sale.  Lot #455, a crooked dice making jig with a pair of dice, rolled to $1,140 on its $100-200 estimate.  Good things came in threes with lot #467, a trio of scrimshawed ivory mustang dice which more than tripled it high estimate to make $1,560. Lot #325, a deck of Steamboat No. 1999 playing cards made $660 on a $100-200 estimate.  This exceptional deck, which was made by the Dorrity Card Manufacturing Company of New York, featured a very rare joker. 

You can bet your bottom dollar that this auction presented a breathtaking array of gambling accessories and devices.  Lot #254, an adjustable brass card edge notcher with a turned wooden handle was estimated at $1,200-2,000 and sold for $5,760. This c. 1890 tool was used to prepare cards for four-pin dealing boxes.  And lot #260, a Shiner ring and instruction sheet, ran circles around its $100-200 estimate to make $1,320.  This reflective piece of jewelry was used to read cards as they were dealt off the top of the deck. 

Will & Finck's cheating devices, game accessories, and company ephemera remain the "gold standard" amongst gambling memorabilia collectors today. All eyes were on lot #249, a c. 1880 Jacob's Ladder style brass sleeve holdout mounted on a porcelain display hand.  Estimated at $3,000-5,000, it quadrupled its low estimate to realize $12,000. Lot #262, a particularly petite, c. 1880 ivory handled brass card trimmer in its original wooden packing crate, was estimated at $3,000-4,000 but shuffled its way to $9,600. And lot #207, a Will & Finck gambling catalog in its original mailing envelope and a small archive of related company ephemera from 1894 sold for $6,000 on its $2,500-3,500 estimate. It was the only known original Will & Finck gambling supply catalog in private hands. 

This Gambling Memorabilia sale came full circle with museum quality selections of photos, coin-op machines, and other rarities.  Lot #488, a c. 1880 traveling roulette wheel in a wooden crate spun to $7,200 - more than seven times its low estimate.  The clock was ticking on lot #297, a photograph of crowd at a casino in Goldfield, NV on October 1, 1910 at midnight.  It made $1,020 on its $50-100 estimate.  And what made the subject matter of this black and white moment so appealing? Gambling became illegal in the state of Nevada after midnight that day. And finally, bidders took aim at lot #497, a Gambler's palm pistol with pearl grips that made $9,600 - more than twice its high estimate.  It was made by the Chicago Fire Arms Co., in 1893 and was accompanied by its original box, a box of 50 cartridges, and three manufacturer's parts sheets with prices.  

According to Gabe Fajuri, President at Potter & Potter Auctions, "Strong participation in all categories made for a spirited, lively, and profitable auction on Saturday. Highlights included cheating books - including the $24,000 sale of Faro Exposed, possibly a record for a book on gambling at auction - as well as gambling devices, poker chips, and rare playing cards. Uncommon trade catalogs also fared well. This was our most successful gambling memorabilia sale to date." 

Potter and Potter, founded in 2007, is a Chicago area auction house specializing in paper Americana, vintage advertising, rare books, playing cards, gambling memorabilia, posters, fine prints, vintage toys, and magicana - antiques and collectibles related to magic and magicians. For more information on their May 19th, 2018 Gambling Memorabilia Sale and Potter & Potter Auctions, please see 

Image: Poker to Win. Sold for $1,800.

256.jpgChicago — Potter & Potter Auctions is pleased to announce the 435 lot David Baldwin Magic Collection II sale to be held on Saturday, June 16th, 2018 starting at 10am at the company's gallery, located at 3759 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, IL 60613. David M. Baldwin (1928 - 2014) had a lifelong passion for magic and a remarkable eye for the extraordinary.  Professionally, he worked in New York real estate with Harry Helmsley.  Baldwin assembled one of the most important and finely curated collections of antique magic apparatus and memorabilia in the world. All lots from this upcoming sale from are on display and available for public preview on Wednesday, June 13th, Thursday, June 14th, and Friday, June 15th from 10:00am to 5:00pm in the Potter & Potter facility. 

Baldwin was keenly interested in mystery clocks, especially those made or inspired by 19th-century French magician and clockmaker Jean Eugene Robert-Houdin.  Robert-Houdin was the "father of modern magic" and the inspiration behind Harry Houdini's professional name. This sale features several examples of these mind-bending timekeepers. 

All eyes will be on lot #28, a Robert-Houdin glass column mystery clock, estimated at $40,000-60,000.  This lavishly decorated rarity tells the time via a single arrow-shaped hand, which is set against a gilt-brass framed glass dial with Roman numerals. The clock is handsomely detailed with a glass column supported by four griffins, a velvet-covered platform, and a gilt wooden and ebonized base. Lot #30, a marked, two handled Robert-Houdin square dial mystery clock is estimated at $30,000-50,000.  This gilt-framed example features a beveled dial with Roman and Arabic numerals and a dotted minute track, a marble platform, and two decorative swans.  And it's the best of all worlds with lot #32, a c. 1860 French magician automaton mantel clock, estimated at $10,000-20,000.  This utterly amazing and entertaining timepiece features a magician who on the hour - or at will - turns his head and produces and transposes objects from his table.  Two other figures peek out from the containers at his side.  This masterpiece, with provenance to Sotheby’s London, has a rectangular wooden case with gilt-brass and beaded moldings, a four-inch enamel Roman numeral dial, serpent hands, and a signed Vincenti movement. 

This sale also features a full spectrum of old to new magic apparatus, with several breathtaking examples from legacy manufacturers. Many of the antique selections were also owned and used by The Great Raymond (Maurice Francois Raymond, 1877-1948.) Lot #239, The Great Raymond’s Matter Through Matter device, is estimated at $4,000-6,000.  This 1908 Asian inspired piece is marked and was made in New York by Okito.  It was featured in William V. Rauscher's The Great Raymond on page 295. Lot #12, a spirit bell and clock dial combination, is estimated at $5,000-7,000. It was made around 1900 in Germany by Carl Willmann. And lot #1, a c. 1890 European card bouquet, formerly owned by the proprietors of the Petrie-Lewis (P&L) magic company of New Haven, CT, is estimated at $6,000-8,000. This mechanically complex device is believed to be the only known example of this effect.

More modern apparatus includes lot #175, an elegant, gold trimmed Hofzinser 52 Card Rise Box. Estimated at $8,000-12,000, it enables any card specified to rise from top of the box.  This example, one of three made, was produced in Cincinnati by Joseph Young in 1999. The original Hofzinser card rise was constructed in the 1840's for the master magician, Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser. Hofzinser’s version is now in the Library of Congress. And lot #178, an unusual c. 1970's red tooled leather over machined brass coin casket made by Charles Kalish in New York, is estimated at $1,500-2,000.    

Now let's focus on another key category in this sake, magic-themed photography.  Several important images of Harry Houdini take the spotlight here.  Lot #307, a 1925 glossy silver print of Houdini with eight of Teddy Roosevelt’s grandchildren, is estimated at $500-700. Lot #317, a 1920 banquet photo taken at a dinner given by The Magicians’ Club in London is estimated at $600-900. The Houdinis are shown standing beside the chairman of the dinner, Maurice Raymond.  And lot #315, a silver print of Houdini performing outside The Oregonian Building in Portland, OR, is estimated at $600-900.  It depicts a large crowd witnessing Houdini free himself from a straitjacket while suspended high above the street. 

There is certain to be more than a passing interest in this auction's phenomenal offerings of magic related ephemera.  Lot #256, an archive of Great Raymond materials including scrapbooks and photographs, is estimated at $2,000-3,000. This career-spanning collection is a treasure trove of unpublished and candid images and scarce printed matter. It includes clippings and programs, as well as illusion, backstage, performance, snapshot, travel, friends, and family photos spanning the 1900-1940 timeframe.  Lot #377, Hartz’s 1873 Illustrated Descriptive Catalogue of Conjuring and Magical Apparatus, is estimated at $500-700. This time capsule is illustrated with apparatus available at the Hartz Magical Repository, located at 850 Broadway in New York.  It is believed that Hartz, which opened in 1870, was the first American magic store. Lot #306, a set of two bound volumes of Conjurers’ Monthly Magazine from 1906-1908 in a custom drop-spine box, is estimated at $1,500-2,500.  Both front flyleaves are inscribed and signed “Best wishes from/Harry Houdini." And lot #304, a German letterpress theatre program dated October 4, 1903 billing Houdini as the "Handcuff King" is estimated at $1,800-2,600.  This performance was held at the Central Theater in Dresden and also featured other acts.  

This sale's selections of stunning, linen-backed broadsides are certain to cast a spell over magic enthusiasts.  Lot #359, an eight-sheet color lithograph The World’s Greatest Psychic Sensation. Samri S. and Miss Baldwin in Oriental Hypnotic Dream Visions is estimated at $3,000-5,000.  This large, c. 1895 graphic pictures Miss Baldwin - blindfolded and empowered with second sight by magical forces - sitting and surrounded by red imps rushing to her with questions.  Lot #281, The Weird Witches Cabinet, is estimated at $1,500-2,000. This c. 1910 half sheet color lithograph features The Great Raymond and a cacophony of spirits, ghosts, a witch, and binocular toting imps.  And lot #285, simply titled Enchantress, is estimated at $1,000-1,500.  This c. 1920, six-sheet color lithograph poster is illustrated with a mystical looking woman whose form appears from the flames of a pedestal and question slips at her feet.

This sale comes full circle with museum-quality selections of books, tricks, props, and other rarities. Lot #36, a c. 1900 magician musical automaton from the Parisian firm Leopold Lambert, is estimated at $8,000-12,000.  As his music box plays, the magician - blinking his eyes and turning his head - raises the cup that he holds in each hand and objects vanish, appear, and transpose underneath them.  And lot #382, a first edition of the two volume La Magie de Robert-Houdin. Secrets et Souvenirs de Soirées Fantastiques from 2005 is estimated at $600-900. The first book describes the secrets of Robert-Houdin’s tricks; the second is a faux tome containing recreated Robert-Houdin souvenirs, including booklets, bank notes, and a DVD. 

According to Gabe Fajuri, President at Potter & Potter Auctions, "We are thrilled to offer the second installment of the David Baldwin Magic collection. His mystery clocks are so appealing and clearly a highlight in this upcoming sale.  Although they can sell for a pretty penny - one went for $60,000 in the first sale - we also have recreated versions for those "on a budget" at this event.  The Great Raymond merchandise is also important, and I wonder what secrets will emerge from his unpublished archives. David Baldwin, after buying half of the Raymond/Gibson collection, sponsored the publication of a book on Raymond. Many of the items in our June auction are included in this book. Others, which we sold in the October, 2016 auction, set truly astonishing prices.  With any luck, we'll repeat our previous success this time around."

Potter & Potter, founded in 2007, is a Chicago area auction house specializing in paper Americana, vintage advertising, rare books, playing cards, gambling memorabilia, posters, fine prints, vintage toys, and magicana - antiques and collectibles related to magic and magicians. For more information on this sale and Potter & Potter Auctions, please see If you can't make the auction in person, bids for these extraordinary offerings can be placed directly on the company's website, by phone by arrangement, or via an absentee bid form, which can be accessed by clicking here.

Image: The Great Raymond’s Own Ephemera Scrapbooks and Photographs. Estimate $2,000-3,000.

NYTimes-FREEDOMS-sm-400x400.jpgDallas, Texas - Heritage Auctions (, the largest auction house founded in the United States, announced this week it is has committed to a two-year major sponsorship of the Norman Rockwell Museum’s traveling exhibition Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms. It is the first comprehensive exhibition of the artist’s iconic 1943 depictions of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s wartime defense of humanity’s fundamental human rights.

Considered among the most indelible images in the history of American art, Rockwell’s Freedom of Speech, Freedom from Want, Freedom from Fear and Freedom of Worship will embark on a seven-city tour across the United States and to Normandy, France. The two-year, international exhibition opens May 25 in New York City at the New York Historical Society, with a companion presentation, Reimagining the Four Freedoms, on view concurrently across town at Roosevelt House.

“Sponsoring this groundbreaking, educational exhibition means supporting the ideals that people of all nations deserve universal human rights,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions. “Rockwell’s artistic interpretation of these rights sparked a national movement in America and abroad, inspiring generations for the last 75 years” 

Enduring Ideals: Rockwell, Roosevelt & the Four Freedoms includes a range of artwork in addition to Rockwell’s celebrated images of the Four Freedoms. These include paintings, illustrations, prints and more by both Rockwell and a broad range of his contemporaries, from J.C. Leyendecker and Mead Schaeffer to Arthur Szyk, Ben Shahn and Dorothea Lange, among others. The era is brought to life through a number of channels, including historical documents, photographs, videos, interactive digital displays, immersive settings and artifacts. 

“The exhibition will show how Rockwell’s aspirational paintings shifted American attitudes towards engagement in World War II in defense of the free world, and, ultimately, helped to make the case for universal human rights,” said Norman Rockwell Museum Director Laurie Norton Moffatt. “In highlighting Rockwell’s and his generation’s response to the call for unity in support of these fundamental freedoms, the exhibition resonates powerfully with our own time.” 

To date, the 2018 exhibition tour comprises The New-York Historical Society, New York City, New York, May 25-Sept. 2, 2018 and The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan, Oct. 13, 2018-Jan. 13, 2019. The exhibition is on display at The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, Washington, D.C., Feb. 9-May 6, 2019, Mémorial de Caen, Normandy, France, June 4-Oct. 27, 2019. It returns to the United States through 2020, beginning at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, Dec. 15, 2019-March 22, 2020; and Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, in fall 2020.


Gilda Columbia, 1946. U.S. one sheet poster, copy.jpgNew York—Bonhams and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) today announced Bonhams and TCM Present ... A Celebration of Robert Osborne, an auction of more than 400 posters and memorabilia from the estate of the beloved Turner Classic Movies host. The sale - which will take place June 13 at Bonhams New York - features Bette Davis’ personal Sarah Siddons award, rare one-sheet posters and other items from the host’s vast movie memorabilia collection. Highlights from the collection will be on preview at Bonhams New York on Madison Avenue on June 11 and a two-week online-only sale of additional lots from the estate will follow beginning on June 14. TCM will donate its proceeds from the sale to The Film Foundation while proceeds from the sale of the posters will benefit the Gingold Theatrical Group. 

Highlights from the collection include:

  • Bette Davis' personal Sarah Siddons award (estimate: $10,000-15,000)
  • Working script pages from Gone With the Wind (estimate: $1,000-2000)
  • A rare one-sheet poster of Gilda (estimate: $20,000-30,000), the very first poster Osborne ever bought
  • A pristine one-sheet of Preston Sturges’ Sullivan's Travels (estimate: $8,000-12,000)
  • A one sheet of Rebecca (estimate: $4,000-5000) featuring haunting portraits of Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine
  • A one sheet of Laura (estimate: $6,000-7000)

Osborne's collection also reflects his interest in Broadway theatre. He was an avid collector of Hirschfeld prints, with many of his pieces featuring warm inscriptions from their celebrity subjects including Lauren Bacall, Stephen Sondheim and Lucille Ball.  The sale also includes fine art paintings that hung in Osborne’s apartment and personal items such as a pair of Van Cleef and Arpels cuff links, a Cartier watch and his tuxedo.

“For more than 22 years, Robert was the heart and soul of TCM, and was seen as the connective link between our fans and the classic films they love,” said Jennifer Dorian, General Manger TCM. “With the sale of Robert’s beloved posters and iconic film memorabilia, fans have the opportunity to once again connect with our beloved host and share a piece of his personal passion for classic film.” 

Dr. Catherine Williamson, director of Entertainment Memorabilia at Bonhams, worked with Osborne in 2014 when he consigned 50 posters from his collection to that year's TCM auction, There's No Place Like Hollywood. She commented: “He loved the directness, the clarity of a vintage Hollywood poster. You knew what you were getting when you looked at a one sheet from Hollywood's Golden Age, whether it was a comedy, a musical, a romance, or a western.” As they went through his collection together, he told her of browsing the Hollywood poster shops religiously during his early years in Hollywood, never paying more than $25 for a poster, and often spending less than $1.

In addition to the Osborne estate, the June auction also features classic Hollywood memorabilia from other sources, including a collection of Rudoph Valentino letters and photographs, a life portrait of actress Loretta Young by Hollywood portraitist Tino Costas, and a large selection of animation art.

Image: Gilda, Columbia, 1946. U.S. one sheet poster, style B, framed (estimate: $20,000-30,000)

fe513c0a0081e03592f34992b8d83ecf4959e4c7.jpegBoston—An important Albert Einstein handwritten manuscript will be auctioned by Boston-based RR Auction. 

The manuscript is Einstein's criticism of a paper in which the author, Erich Trefftz, claimed to have found a static solution of the equations of general relativity for two point masses; Einstein points out that such a conclusion is based on an error. Featuring several mathematical equations—including a modified form of his General Theory of Relativity.

The two-page manuscript in German, which is unsigned (but incorporating "Einstein" in the title), no date but circa late 1922. Headed (translated), "Comment on E. Trefftz's Paper: 'The Static Gravitational Field of Two Mass Points in Einstein's Theory,'" the paper was presented on November 23, 1922, to the Berlin-based Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences, who published the work on December 21, 1922. The present manuscript was probably a draft used for typesetting, as it contains several handwritten editor's annotations in pencil which were executed in the published version. This was Einstein's first paper published after he received the Nobel Prize on December 10, 1922.

Most significantly, this manuscript contains a handwritten version of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. In 1915, Einstein made his groundbreaking achievement with the introduction of the General Theory of Relativity. In 1917, Einstein applied his equations to the problem of explaining the structure of the cosmos on a large scale and found that he would need to modify his equations by adding another term, containing a constant, which he denoted λ and called 'cosmological.' This cosmological constant relied on a static universe; upon the later discovery that the universe was expanding, Einstein reportedly called this the greatest blunder of his career. 

It was advanced by Einstein in a 1919 paper as a candidate for a slightly modified field equation to account both for the structure of matter and for cosmological structure. With important scientific content—and an enormously significant date within the context of Einstein's career—this is a truly remarkable piece which stands as the most spectacular Einstein manuscript we have ever offered.

“With important content and significant date within the context of Einstein's career—this is a truly remarkable piece,” said Robert Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction.  (Estimate: $175,000+)

Among other items to be featured is a magnificent collection of presidential autographs representing a complete set from George Washington through Franklin D. Roosevelt, uniformly affixed by their left edges to large off-white sheets custom-bound into a beautiful red leather volume with slipcase, gilt-stamped titles, and a calligraphically embellished title page, each page preceded by a large engraving depicting the president. (Estimate: $48,000+)

Also up for auction is handwritten letter by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of “The Little Prince.” The moving three-page love letter to his former fiancee, Louise Leveque de Vilmorin, circa 1929. (Estimate: $10,000+)

The Fine Autographs and Artifacts auction from RR Auction began on May 18 and will conclude on June 13. More details can be found online at

1d77b20634864131bd8c6ebd_1220x686.jpgNew York—The Morgan Library & Museum is proud to announce that curators John Marciari and Jennifer Tonkovich of the Drawings and Prints Department will lead a ten-day traveling seminar aimed at training a new generation of drawings scholars and curators. From June 26 to July 4, 2018, participants will visit collections in London, Oxford, Windsor, and elsewhere to learn the skills of connoisseurship and the workings of the art market for old master and 19th-century drawings.

The seminar is supported by a major grant from the Getty Foundation’s new initiative The Paper Project: Prints and Drawings Curatorship in the 21st Century, created to address the lack of informal and formal training for curators entering the field. The seminar includes visits to some of the major collections of drawings in England, including the Ashmolean Museum, the British Museum, and the Royal Collection. 

Drs. Marciari and Tonkovich, together with host curators at those institutions, will conduct sessions exploring questions of attribution, condition, quality, and authenticity of works of art. Chosen from a competitive search process, the participants for the seminar include assistant curators and curatorial fellows from museums across the United States and from institutions in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands.  

“The Drawing Institute was founded in 2011 to deepen the understanding and appreciation of the role of drawing in the history of art,” said Colin B. Bailey, director of the Morgan. “Today’s curators working in drawings and prints are required to learn an enormous amount of information and must possess significant expertise in order to navigate the art market, generate scholarship, and develop innovative exhibitions. We are delighted to provide an opportunity to mentor and support the promising curators in this field.”

“The Paper Project is a response to the need for more training and professional development opportunities to serve a rising generation of curators of prints and drawings,” says Deborah Marrow, director of the Getty Foundation. “The museums involved in these inaugural projects are widely recognized for their excellent collections, influential scholarship, and commitment to training. The Morgan’s seminar will not only provide the practical knowledge needed to succeed as drawings and prints curators, but it will also help ensure their future leadership in the field.”

Grants have also been awarded to the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology at the University of Oxford; the British Museum in London; the Courtauld Gallery in London; the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam; and the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden.

Image: John Marciari, Charles W. Engelhard Curator and Department Head, leading a Morgan Drawing Institute seminar on Italian Renaissance Drawings, 2016. Drawings Study Center, The Morgan Library & Museum © The Morgan Library & Museum. Photography by Jennifer Tonkovich, 2016.


ioielflhehanmclf.jpgNew York—Swann Galleries’ June 7 auction of Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books offers nearly 400 groundbreaking maps, atlases, manuscript travelogues, naturalist plates and ephemera from every corner of the world.

Landmarks in the history of mapping the United States include the first representation of the country as an integrated landmass: John Melish’s Map of the United States with the Contiguous British & Spanish Possessions, 1816, with an estimate of $15,000 to $25,000. Also available is A Map of the State of Virginia Reduced from the Nine Sheet Map of the State, in Conformity to Law, 1827, by Herman Boye, the first official map of the state to delineate its geography with accuracy; it has not seen at auction since 1963 ($20,000 to $30,000). The first printed map of the Mississippi River based on first-hand exploration—the result of Louis Jolliet’s expedition to the region in 1673—carries an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000. Works by cartographical legends Lewis Evans, Henricus and Jodocus Hondius, Gerardus Mercator, Abraham Ortelius and John Reid will also be offered.

Another highlight is Nicolas de Fer’s L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties, 1713, colloquially known as the “Original Beaver Map.” The large decorative wall map of the Americas was the first major map to include an engraved cartouche of a beaver in the wilderness, a motif emulated and popularized later by Herman Moll in in his World Described atlas ($10,000 to $15,000). The original carries an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000, and features California as an island on the west coast.

An engaging selection of maps of Manhattan that reveal the island’s shoreline before its development include an extremely rare hand-colored composite map of the city compiled in 1873 by Charles Kinnaird Graham for the Department of Docks, showing the original high and low watermarks around the southern tip of Manhattan overlaid with the projected development of piers, slips and bulkheads into the Hudson and East Rivers, estimated at $5,000 to $7,500. Also available is Egbert Viele’s “Water Map,” or Topographical Atlas of the City of New York, 1874 ($3,000 to $5,000).

A fascinating variety of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Japanese cartography will be offered. Highlights include a large folding manuscript watercolor map of the port city of Shimoda, 1858, one of the earliest cities to allow foreign diplomacy after Commodore Matthew Perry opened the island to trade with the west ($3,000 to $5,000). A contemporary archive of material relating to Perry’s 1853 visit, including a charming sketch of him, is valued between $2,500 and $3,500.

Highlights from John James Audubon’s Birds of America, 1830, include the hand-colored elephant plate of Fish Hawk, one of the most dramatic compositions in the canon, with an estimate of $30,000 to $50,000. Great Horned Owl, a hand-colored elephant sheet, leads a bevy of owl plates at $10,000 to $15,000. The first octavo edition of a complete subscriber’s copy of Birds of America, 1840-44, originally owned and compiled by John Pierce Brace, who devoted his life to the education of girls and women, will be offered at auction for the first time ($25,000 to $35,000).

Additional naturalist delights come in the form of the complete French edition of Johann Michael Seligmann’s Recueil de Divers Oiseaux, 1768-76, with hand-colored plates after Mark Catesby and George Edwards, at $15,000 to $25,000.

Entrancing watercolor albums from far-off lands include 19 circa-1920 scenes of Cuba by illustrator Edwin James Meeker, published in History of Cuba, by Willis Fletcher Johnson, with an estimate of $8,000 to $12,000. Following success with nautical travelogues, Swann will offer a book of 14 views of the Turkish coastline, presumably executed by a British serviceman as his ship passed through the Strait of Bosphorus on its way to the Crimean War ($2,500 to $3,5000).

The complete catalogue with bidding information is available at Additional highlights can be found here.

Image: Lot 280: Map of Manhattan issued by the Department of Docks, compiled by chief engineer Charles K. Graham, 1873. Estimate $5,000 to $7,500.

Auction date: Thursday, June 7, at 1:30 pm EST

Exhibition dates:  June 2, 12-5; June 4, 5 to 6, 10-6; June 7, 10-12


d1952rw_low.jpgLos Angeles - The Getty Foundation announced today the launch of The Paper Project: Prints and Drawings Curatorship in the 21st Century, a new initiative to strengthen curatorial practice in the graphic arts field internationally. The launch includes the announcement of six inaugural grants awarded to the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology at the University of Oxford; the British Museum in London; the Courtauld Gallery in London; the Morgan Library & Museum in New York; the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam; and the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden.

“The Paper Project is a response to the need for more training and professional development opportunities to serve a rising generation of curators of prints and drawings,” says Deborah Marrow, director of the Getty Foundation. “Assisting curators at early points in their careers will help ensure that museum departments of prints and drawings continue to have strong leadership and independent voices well into the future. The museums involved in these inaugural projects are widely recognized for their excellent collections, influential scholarship, and commitment to training.”

While preparing this initiative, the Getty Foundation consulted broadly with curators internationally who voiced concerns over the steady erosion of the formal and informal training practices that have historically sustained the prints and drawings field. As a result, leading museums face a shortage of well-qualified specialists ready to move into more senior curatorial positions. Curators entering the field today must command a wide variety of skills, ranging from traditional approaches to the object, such as connoisseurship, to newer proficiencies such as audience engagement, both in the galleries and online. Yet the opportunities for curators to develop and hone these skills are limited.

To address these issues, The Paper Project grants will support traveling seminars for early and mid-career curators of drawings and prints; curatorial fellowships; professional workshops and symposia; collection-based research projects that present significant training opportunities for young professionals; and exhibitions and publishing projects led by emerging leaders in the field of prints and drawings.

“Museums are changing rapidly in the 21st century, as are the demands on curators,” says Heather MacDonald, senior program officer at the Getty Foundation. “The Paper Project supports training and professional development designed by and for prints and drawings specialists, with an aim of not only preserving the skills that have long been at the center of their discipline, but also responding to the present-day and emerging needs of museums.”

Descriptions of New Grant Projects

The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford

The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, founded in 1683, is Britain’s first public museum and the world’s first university museum. The Ashmolean’s magnificent Western Art collections contain around 25,000 drawings and over 250,000 prints by artists from the 15th century to the present day, with the Italian drawings collection renowned for its quality and range. The grant will support curatorial training in drawings scholarship and connoisseurship by funding two 18-month research fellowships for early career art historians to equip them to become leading drawings curators in the future. Their activities, including research travel and consultation with distinguished drawings specialists nationally and internationally, will focus on research and writing in preparation for a scholarly collection catalogue of the Italian drawings, with an online resource produced as a direct result of this project.

The British Museum, London

The British Museum has one of the world’s greatest collections of works on paper, with around 50,000 drawings and over two million prints that chart the development of Western graphic arts from the early 1400s to the present. The collection includes large holdings of important artists such as Dürer, Michelangelo, Raphael, Rembrandt, and Goya. As part of The Paper Project, the Museum received a grant to support two curatorial fellowships in its Department of Prints and Drawings. The 18-month fellowships will provide broad-based curatorial training in areas such as cataloguing, collections management, research, exhibitions, acquisitions, and interacting with the public and researchers. Fellows will also have the opportunity to pursue their own focused research projects related to the collection, leading to a public project at the Museum.

The Courtauld Gallery, London

Founded in 1932, the Courtauld Institute of Art is an independent college of the University of London with a center for the study of art history and conservation. The Institute also houses an internationally renowned Gallery that includes a preeminent collection of drawings featuring works by such masters as Rembrandt, Guercino, Tiepolo, Turner, and Cézanne. The Paper Project grant will allow the Courtauld Gallery to offer a two-year curatorial fellowship in the Prints and Drawings Department. The fellow will be involved in every aspect of the Department’s activities, including exhibition planning and assisting in preparations for the collection’s reinstallation following gallery renovations. The fellow will be offered the opportunity to organize a focus exhibition with an accompanying publication, as well as to contribute to the Department’s exhibitions, publications, and digital projects.

The Morgan Library & Museum, New York

The Morgan Library & Museum is an internationally renowned museum and research center dedicated to fostering public knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the art, music, and literature of the Western world. Founded in 1924, the Morgan holds one of the preeminent collections of drawings in the United States, including 25,000 works spanning from the 14th to 21st centuries. The Morgan’s commitment to the study of drawings is manifest in its Drawing Institute, founded in 2010 to deepen the understanding and appreciation of the role of drawing in the history of art. The Paper Project grant is supporting a ten-day traveling seminar in and around London in June that will bring early-career professionals together with senior curators to foster connoisseurship and an understanding of the art market for old master and 19th century drawings.

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Founded in the 19th century, Rotterdam’s Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is one of the oldest museums in the Netherlands and the only Dutch museum that offers a comprehensive overview of Western art from the Middle Ages to the present day. Its celebrated works on paper collection includes approximately 17,000 drawings and 65,000 prints. Boijmans’ collection of Italian drawings is one of the most comprehensive and art historically important in the world, but it is also understudied and underpublished. The Paper Project grant includes funding for curatorial training in the preparation of a scholarly collection catalogue of the museum’s 15th- and 16th-century Italian drawings.

Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

The Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD) consist of fifteen museums, including the Dresden Kupferstich-Kabinett, or Museum of Prints, Drawings, and Photography, the oldest museum of graphic arts in the German-speaking world. Located in the Royal Palace in the city center, the Kupferstich-Kabinett occupies restored spaces that feature exhibition galleries, a study room, storage facilities, and a paper conservation center. The Paper Project grant is supporting a multi-part traveling seminar organized by the SKD and focused on 16th-century Italian drawings that will help to develop the connoisseurship skills of the participating curators. In addition to Dresden, participants will visit important prints and drawings collections in northeast Germany, Central Europe, and Switzerland.

For more information about The Paper Project or to submit inquiries for support, please visit

Image: Charles Joseph Natoire (1700-1777), Life class at the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, 1746, © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London


4-Asimov copy.jpgNew York—Science fiction ruled on May 15 at Swann Galleries’ auction of 19th & 20th Century Literature. Selections from the Estate of Stanley Simon, featuring 84 rare and first editions of cornerstones of the genre, boasted a 98% sell-through rate. All of the offered titles by Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick and Stephen King sold, with many achieving auction records.

Leading the pack was a signed first edition of Dick’s dystopian novel The Man in the High Castle, 1962, which was purchased by a collector for $10,400, above a high estimate of $6,000, a record for the work. Another record was achieved by a signed first edition of Ubik, 1969, at $5,500, while the auction debut of the rare galley proofs for Valis, 1981, reached $5,000.

Simon had acquired several uncorrected proofs of important works, none of which had previously appeared at auction. While not strictly science-fiction, material by Stephen King outperformed in this category. The highlight was the presentation copy of an uncorrected proof of The Stand, 1978, which sold to a collector for $9,100. Also available were one of apparently 28 copies of proofs of King’s The Shining, 1977, inscribed, which sold for five times its high estimate for $6,250, and the complete six-volume set of uncorrected proofs of King’s The Green Mile, 1996, exceeded its $1,200 high estimate to sell for $5,200.

Another highlight from the Simon estate was the complete Foundation trilogy, 1951-53, by Isaac Asimov. Together, the three signed first editions achieved an auction record of $9,750. Also by Asimov, a signed first edition of I, Robot, 1950, reached $6,250, above a high estimate of $3,500. Important editions of Ray Bradbury’s magnum opus Fahrenheit 451, 1953, were led by the limited author’s edition personally inscribed to Simon ($7,500). The popular asbestos-bound edition reached $5,200. All six editions offered were purchased.

Specialist John D. Larson noted, “Sci-fi has always had a multi-generational appeal; pop culture's appetite for literary-based films of this genre continues unabated.” He added, “Material from both the nineteenth & twentieth centuries performed equally well, with a robust 86% sell-through rate overall.”

Further highlights from the auction included the first edition of Ernest Hemingway’s first work, Three Stories & Ten Poems, 1923, which sold to a collector for $23,750. The first editions of Emily Dickinson’s first three books of Poems, 1890-96, reached $13,750.

The next auction of Books at Swann Galleries will be Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books on October 16, 2018. The house is currently accepting quality consignments for autumn auctions.

Image: Lot 4: Isaac Asimov, Foundation trilogy, first editions, signed, New York, 1951-53. From the Estate of Stanley Simon. Sold May 15, 2018 for $9,750, a record for the work. (Pre-sale estimate: $4,500 to $6,000)

MoMA_Berman_Rodchenko.122537.jpgNew York—The Museum of Modern Art has acquired more than 300 masterworks of The Merrill C. Berman Collection, one of the most significant collections of early 20th-century works on paper in private hands. The Museum’s acquisition focuses on the core of Mr. Berman’s collection—works that vividly demonstrate the wide-ranging experimentation and political and social engagement of artists in this period. The selected works offer an overview of the major avant-garde movements of the era—Dada, the Bauhaus, de Stijl, Futurism, and Russian Constructivism—and include unparalleled and pioneering works by renowned figures such as Aleksandr Rodchenko, Lyubov Popova, John Heartfield, and Hannah Höch. Its graphic design includes exceptional examples of the period’s new typography and dynamic combinations of word and image in posters and books, while its extensive representation of photomontage proves that strategy’s dominance in the early 20th century. The acquisition is made possible by trustees and supporters of The Museum of Modern Art in recognition of the Museum’s 90th anniversary in 2019.

“Long admired by our curators across the Museum for its outstanding representation of the avant-garde activities of the first decades of the 20th century, the Merrill C. Berman Collection is a transformative addition to the Museum’s holdings,” said Glenn D. Lowry, Director, The Museum of Modern Art. “In bringing this private collection to the public, this acquisition offers the possibility of sharing new and complex stories of the period with our visitors while making rare historical materials available to scholars.”

“By representing crucial figures—often women and artists from lesser-known geographies—missing or underrepresented in our collection, this extraordinary body of work is especially welcome as the Museum continues its commitment to diversifying modernism’s narratives with its forthcoming expansion in 2019,” said Christophe Cherix, the Robert Lehman Chief Curator of Drawings and Prints. “The practices, strategies, and languages of artists involved in Futurism, Constructivism, and Dada continue to challenge contemporary artists, scholars, and audiences, allowing opportunities to make links between the radical experimentation of the early 20th century and contemporary art.”

The Berman Collection, which has been a key source of loans to MoMA exhibitions on the early 20th century—from the 1998 Rodchenko monograph to the 2009 Bauhaus, 1919-1933: Workshops for Modernity to the 2016 Dadaglobe Reconstructed, among many others—showcases avant-garde movements including: the Bauhaus, with a mix of unparalleled, unique works that fill gaps in the Museum’s collection and a wealth of rare graphic material that demonstrates the activities of the school; Dada, with a focus on standout Berlin examples by such artists as Raoul Hausmann, whose radical photomontage practice was not previously represented in MoMA’s collection, Hannah Höch, and Johannes Baader; and the Soviet avant-garde, with unique works and graphic material that present the fundamental contribution of Soviet artists to modernism. 

The newly acquired works powerfully demonstrate the links between art and politics, especially in moments of war and revolution and social and economic change. To immerse oneself in this collection is to experience the far-reaching and profound impact of the early 20th century’s momentous events—World War I, the Russian Revolution, the rise of fascism—and to see wholesale shifts in industry, technology, and labor.

Lydia Naumova, for example, used photomontage to tell a history of international trade unions and the Communist Party, while Lyubov Popova designed sets, costumes, and posters for a new revolutionary workers’ theater, transforming the stage for ideological ends.

One of the key narratives of the Berman Collection is the history of photomontage, a groundbreaking artistic language of the 1910s, 1920s, and 1930s, and one that remains essential today. Artists took advantage of the proliferation of what was then new media,  cutting and pasting together bits of printed photographic and widely circulated images. The results were works that were distinctly connected to the world and captured the spirit of the new age: in their bold collisions and juxtapositions, in their deployment of photographs of crowds and striding leaders, and in their presentations of laborers, cities, and factories. Innovators of this cut-and-paste strategy well represented in the Berman Collection include John Heartfield, who protested Nazism and fascism by combining found images to create charged meanings, and Valentina Kulagina in the Soviet Union, who used photomontage in posters and broadsides to demand participation in new forms of labor. A major strength of this collection is the way Berman collected maquettes along with their final products, which will allow viewers to better understand process and technique. 

Containing 96 works by women artists, the Berman Collection illuminates the essential roles they played in this period, enabling the Museum to present expanded, complex, and diverse stories of the practitioners, strategies, and subjects of the early 20th century. Many of these artists—including Elena Semenova and Fré Cohen—are represented in depth in the Berman Collection, making possible overviews of entire careers. Iconic works further deepen understandings of key artists, including those by Lyubov Popova and Vavara Stepanova, while others, Maria Bri-Bein and Franceska Clausen, are entirely new to the collection, introducing new histories, forms, and ideas. 

The Berman Collection is particularly strong in the art of Central and Eastern Europe, keenly demonstrating the importance of Budapest, Warsaw, and Prague as modern centers and hotbeds of avant-garde experimentation, and revealing the networks of activities in the region and communication with the West. Henryk Berlewi of Poland, whose drawings are a standout in Berman’s collection, called for an art that was equivalent to the new industry; Lajos Kassák established activist journals in Budapest and Vienna; and Czech designer Ladislav Sutnar pioneered information graphics.

The Museum will make this material available through exhibitions, gallery displays, and publications, encouraging collaborative study, research, dialogues, and debate by MoMA curators and outside scholars. As a start, the Museum will organize and present a major exhibition of works drawn from The Merrill C. Berman Collection within the next few years, and will publish an accompanying scholarly catalogue. 

Image: Aleksandr Rodchenko (Russian, 1891-1956). Have Sun at Night! (Daite solntse noch’iun). 1923. Gouache, ink, and pencil on gelatin silver print, 4 3/8 × 11 3/16″ (11.1 × 28.4 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Merrill C. Berman Collection


183-Schulz copy.jpgNew York — Swann Galleries will offer an auction of Illustration Art on Tuesday, June 5, with more than 250 original works of art including comics, pin-ups and covers for books and magazines.

Setting the auction apart is a selection of classic original comic strips, led by the original nine-panel Sunday Peanuts strip, Do you like Beethoven?, 1970, by Charles Schulz, featuring Schroeder, Lucy and Freida, inscribed to the conductor of the Kansas City Philharmonic’s 1978 Beethoven Festival, with an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. Other Schulz works include a 1992 eight-panel strip featuring Snoopy and Charlie Brown ($15,000 to $25,000), and three panels of Snoopy scheming for his dinner, 1989, estimated at $8,000 to $12,000. Also available is an extremely rare early four-panel strip for Blondie, depicting Blondie and Dagwood before they were married, done in India ink and blue pencil by creator Chic Young ($800 to $1,200).

Ever a literary sale, Swann’s Illustration auction does not disappoint with a strong New Yorker section. Penguin Convention is a 1977 watercolor by Charles Addams that eschews his usual morbid humor for a charming vista of thousands of identical penguins, each with their own nametag ($15,000 to $25,000). Cover work by Abe Birnbaum and Theodore Haupt for the famed publication will also be available. Prescient cartoons by Tom Toro, published as recently as 2018, follow strong prices for the artist’s work in previous auctions at Swann, evidence that the market for contemporary cartoons is alive and kicking.

A run of important works by the great American satirist Rick Meyerowitz from the artist’s personal collection will be offered at auction for the first time. The highlight is a final watercolor sketch for his and Maira Kalman’s famous cover for The New Yorker, New Yorkistan, the acknowledged first comic relief for the city after September 11, 2001, and #14 on the American Society of Magazine Editors’ list of top covers in the last 40 years. As a late iteration of the map, most of the invented names are already in place, including “Khkhzkz” and “Khandibar,” with only a few minor edits written in ($10,000 to $15,000). Further highlights by Meyerowitz include the original watercolors for the posters for the classic films Animal House, 1978, and the international release of Blazing Saddles, 1974 ($3,000 to $4,000 and $4,000 to $6,000, respectively).

Joining the roster for the first time are works from the heyday of MAD Magazine from the estate of Howard Kaminsky. Cover illustrations starring the publication’s mascot, Alfred E. Neuman, include Norman Mingo’s iconic watercolor The Token MAD, 1973, and an alternate design for The Sound of MAD, 1980, by George Woodbridge ($4,000 to $6,000 and $1,500 to $2,500, respectively).

The auction is populated by the protagonists of classic children’s stories brought to life by their indelible illustrations, including Russell H. Tandy’s evocative cover for Carolyn Keene’s The Secret in the Old Attic, a Nancy Drew book. The entire scene, including the lettering, is painted by hand in watercolor and gouache; the estimate is $15,000 to $25,000. A watercolor study by Jessie Willcox Smith of a toddler about to pet a sleeping cat, for Angela M. Keyes’s The Five Senses, 1911, carries an estimate of $12,000 to $18,000.

The selection of watercolors by Ludwig Bemelmans is led by an alternate design for an advertisement for Walker’s DeLuxe whiskey, valued between $10,000 and $15,000, as well as works for his travelogues.

An ever-popular selection of pin-ups includes the charming oil paintings With Love…, 1931, by Enoch Bolles, and Woman with her Doll, 1962, by Fritz Willis ($7,000 to $10,000 and $6,000 to $9,000, respectively). Following success in December 2017 with works by John Falter, the house will offer two preliminary oil studies by the artist for What Pay Does a Navy WAVE Get?, 1944, promoting a recruitment campaign aimed at women, with an estimate of $3,000 to $5,000.

Aubrey Beardsley is represented by the unusually large ink ornamental device Three Lilies Swaying Left, 1893, for Le Morte d’Arthur, as well as Shelter, 1892, a figurative ink drawing for Bon-Mots of Sydney Smith and Richard Brinsley Sheridan of an infant under an umbrella ($6,000 to $9,000 and $8,000 to $12,000, respectively). Works by his contemporary, Arthur Rackham, include a heart-wrenching scene of Danäe and the Infant Perseus, 1922, for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s A Wonder Book, with an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000.

The complete catalogue with bidding information is available at

Additional highlights can be found here.

Image: Lot 183: Charles Schulz, Do you like Beethoven?, ink and graphite, signed and inscribed, for Peanuts, 1970. Estimate $20,000 to $30,000.

HA Herge copy.jpgDallas, TX - An extraordinary, 12-panel page of Original Tintin Art by Belgian cartoonist Hergé may sell for as much as $720,000 in Heritage Auctions’ first European Comic Art Auction June 2. The sale offers nearly 300 lots, including vintage artworks by giants of Franco-Belgian comics such as Peyo, François Schuiten and Jean-Claude Mézières.

The auction will be held at Heritage’s headquarters in Dallas, Texas, and simulcast to Heritage Auctions Europe in IJsselstein, the Netherlands. Highlights will be on preview in Paris, Brussels and IJsselstein.

“Our team at Heritage Auctions Europe has procured an offering of exceptional depth and breadth,” said Jim Halperin, Co-founder of Heritage Auctions. “This is just the start of what we expect will be regular auctions devoted to this growing and powerful category.”

On offer are several pieces of original art by Georges Remi (known by the pen name “Hergé”), who is considered one of the most popular European comic artists of the 20th century. A page of rarely seen pencil art that documents Remi’s creative process accompanies the aforementioned original art for page 58 of the story “The Red Sea Sharks,” from Journal Tintin published in 1958.

Additional artworks by Remi include a full-color, original illustration for Red Rackham's Treasure: The Crypt of Marlinspike Hall (est. $54,000), featuring Tintin, his trusty pup Snowy and friend Captain Haddock. A related original illustration published on the front page of the newspaper Le Soir (est. $30,000) announces the publication of Red Rackham's Treasure in 1943. An iconic Original Art Panel from Tintin: The Temple of the Sun, published in 1947, depicts Tintin and Captain Haddock on an adventure in the heart of the Andes (est. $22,000). 

From Peyo, the creator of the internationally famous Smurfs, comes the Original Cover Art for Spirou #1447, which is drawn Peyo himself and features 10 characters in a single illustration (est. $48,000).

A page of Original Art from Corto Maltese by legendary Italian comic book creator Hugo Pratt (est. $43,000) is expected to spark spirited bidding. Corto Maltese is perhaps Pratt’s greatest contribution to European comics and the page, from the 1978 story “And Other Romeos and Other Juliets,” is an iconic representation of the artist’s signature black and white illustrations. 

An important painting by François Schuiten, titled Paris in the Twentieth Century (est. $36,000), was created by the co-author of The Obscure Cities for the cover of Jules Verne's “forgotten” novel published in 1994.

The Original Cover Art by Jean-Claude Mézières for Valerian Vol. 19 (Dargaud, 2004) is considered one of the finest examples of Mézières talent, who along with writer Pierre Christin is credited for creating the blueprint for French science fiction comics.

A powerful original painting by Spanish artist Luis Royo titled Isolde and Tristan Circuits (Norma, 2005) (est. $22,000) is a highly sought after illustration which was published in the art book Subversive Beauty.

“Classic American comic art has always been popular throughout Europe and this auction includes stellar examples from many of the legends of comic book and newspaper features, from Will Eisner to George Herriman and Alex Raymond to Frank Miller,” Halperin said.

Additional highlights include:

·         Corto Maltese in Siberia Preliminary Original Art (Casterman, 1982) by Pratt (est. $16,000)

·         The Original Art for Page 25 from The Black Incal (Humanoïdes Associés, 1991) by French artist Jean Giraud, who garnered worldwide acclaim predominantly under the pseudonym Moebius and Gir, (est. $19,200)

·         French artist Yves Chaland's Original Art from Freddy Lombard Vol.4 (1988), page 34 for the story titled "Vacation in Budapest" (est. $13,000)

·         Original Art from French artist Jacques Tardi’s Adèle Blanc-Sec Vol.2 (Casterman, 1976), (est. $12,000)

Heritage Auctions’ inaugural European Comic Art Auction is June 2 in Dallas, Texas, and will be simulcast to Heritage Auctions Europe Office in IJsselstein, the Netherlands. Bidding is now open at

Christies.JPGNew York—Christie’s announces the spring various owner sale of Fine Printed Books & Manuscripts Including Americana encompassing over 200 lots of autograph manuscripts, cartography, literature, illustrated books and historical artifacts. The sale will take place on June 14, 2018 at Christie’s New York, immediately following the dedicated sale of the exceptional “Duke of Portland” complete first folio edition of John James Audubon’s The Birds of America (1827-1838) (estimate: $8,000,000-12,000,000).

Fittingly, the first section of the various owners’ auction is led by the first edition of Audubon’s folio Quadrupeds of North America, 1845-46-48, an homage to the American frontier, and the most ambitious of all color-plate books to be wholly produced in the United States (estimate: $200,000-300,000), followed by a choice selection of further works illustrating American animals and landscape by Alexander Wilson, Karl Bodmer, Henry Warre and others.

Highlighting travel and cartography and also the top lot of the sale is a fine Portolan Atlas by Grazioso Benincasa (c.1400-1482), Venice, 1468 (estimate: $1,200,000-1,800,000), an outstanding work by one of the finest pre-Columbian cartographers. It presents the earliest known separate map of the island of Ireland and is a rare witness to the late 15th-century race to the Indies, charting the Golden Age of Exploration. Other highlights from this section include Willem Blaeu (1571-1683) and Joan Blaeu (1596-1673), Theatrum orbis terrarum, sive atlas novus, 1640-45, a handsome world atlas from the golden age of Dutch cartography (estimate: $80,000-120,000); and a Silver Terrestrial Globe after Johann Oterschaden (fl. 1600-1603), a rare, beautifully engraved, miniature silver globe from the early 17th century (estimate: $50,000-80,000).

Leading Americana is an extremely rare copy of the W.J. Stone engraving of the Declaration of Independence, one of only six known proof copies on paper, 4 July 1823, commissioned by Secretary of State John Quincy Adams (estimate: $200,000-300,000). Other highlights include The “Bible of the Revolution,” a first edition of the first complete Bible in English printed in America (estimate: $55,000-80,000); and a selection of autograph manuscripts and letters by Thomas Paine (1737-1809), George Washington (1732-1799), Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), and Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865). Additionally, featured is a selection of correspondence from the Wright Brothers and Lindbergh Papers of Aviation Journalist, Earl Findley, split across multiple lots.

Other sale highlights include the first issue of Shakespeare’s Second Folio, which contains Milton’s first appearance in print—a tall and fresh copy in an early binding (estimate: $150,000-200,000); and an autograph manuscript by Charles Darwin (1809-1992) from his radical treatise on human evolution (estimate: $70,000-90,000).

Closing the sale are emblems of milestones in 20th-century history, featuring the first Olympic Gold Medal awarded for Basketball, to George Louis Redlein (1885-1968), St. Louis, 1904 (estimate: $100,000-200,000); Paul McCartney’s 1970 affidavit initiating his lawsuit to break up the Beatles, with John Lennon's handwritten annotations throughout (estimate: $100,000-150,000); and an autograph manuscript by John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963), referred to as a “demonstration draft” of his inaugural address (estimate: $50,000-75,000).

On the same day, the Books & Manuscripts department will also present one of the most sought-after books of natural history ever created: the exceptional “Duke of Portland” complete first folio-edition of John James Audubon’s The Birds of America (1827-1838) (estimate: $8,000,000-12,000,000). Full information on this lot can be found here.

Hours_Spitz_MasterofPetrarchsTriumphs_Tours_c1490-1500_f8r_JohnPatmos copy.jpgComplementing Art Basel 2018, Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books will open its doors for a public exhibition. An exceptional selection of manuscripts, miniatures, and early printed books will be on display at the Dr. Jörn Günther Antiquariat in the heart of Basel from the 11th to the 15th of June, 2018. Under the motto “Medieval/Modern”, this year’s exhibition enters artworks from the past into a dialogue with those of the present, exploring medieval and Renaissance art as an important point of reference for contemporary artists. With a special focus on the theme “Black & White vs. Bursts of Colour”, the artworks on view represent the artistic power in the juxtaposition of vibrant colour choices and a more muted, mysterious grisaille palette that has inspired artists for centuries. 

Artists have always been drawn to a world in black and white - ranging from medieval grisaille paintings to Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings up to contemporary works by Gerhard Richter. Representing the muted, elegant palette, Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books will present an exceptionally fine Book of Hours whose miniatures show the exquisite refinement of a great artist. This sophisticated prayer book is attributed to the Master of Petrarch’s Triumphs, a distinctive artist whose earlier work is localized in Tours. The varied gradients of grey combined with small touches of few other pigments emanate a degree of translucency and purity. The manuscript includes 38 small miniatures with gold and red frames, as well as 4 full-page miniatures surrounded by borders of gilt scrolls containing the repeated motto “Parce Michi Domine”, meaning “Spare me, O Lord”, which may possibly indicate a yet unidentified patron’s device. While rooted in spiritual aspiration, this opulent manuscript nonetheless provides the owner with a luxury object that expresses his or her social status.

On the other end of the spectrum, Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books will present a vividly coloured Book of Hours, illuminated by the Masters of the Grandes Heures de Rohan, whose expressive colour choices offer a brilliant precursor to exquisitely colourful works by Vincent van Gogh, expressionist painters like Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, or Jean-Michel Basquiat. The Rohan Masters’ striking and dramatic style shows clamorous colours, distorted perspectives, and impulsive gestures used for emotional effect. Characteristic motifs include long limbs, golden clouds drifting across vividly coloured skies, and fascinatingly layered patterns. The miniatures in this Book of Hours, including the fine figures of St. John Baptist, the Archangel Michael, or the Burial scene, anticipate the impressive, monumental compositions of the Grandes Heures de Rohan, created about fifteen years after this Book of Hours. 

Image: Book of Hours, use of Rome. Manuscript on vellum, illuminated by the Master of Petrarch’s Triumphs. France, Tours, c. 1490-1500. Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books AG.


NES.gifNew York—The NES Book Awards are made in four categories: Art & Photography, Fiction, Nonfiction, and Specialty and are presented annually to authors of books published in the previous twelve months. The winners were celebrated at events on June 13 & 14 in New York. And, the winners are: 


Cartoon County: My Father and his Friends in the Golden Age of Make-Believe by Cullen Murphy (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)


East of the Mississippi: Nineteenth-Century American Landscape Photography by Diane Waggoner; With Russell Lord and Jennifer Raab (Yale University Press in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.)


A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline (William Morrow)


Darkness Falls on the Land of Light: Experiencing Religious Awakenings in Eighteenth-Century New England by Douglas L. Winiarski (Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and the University of North Carolina Press)


Moon New England Road Tripby Jen Rose Smith (Hachette Book Group)

Frazetta Death Dealer copy.jpgDallas, TX - Chicago’s largest public auction dedicated to vintage comic books and original comic art fetched $12,201,974  - setting the world record for the most valuable sale of its kind.

The top lot claimed its own record when artist Frank Frazetta’s Original Art titled Death Dealer 6, 1990 - first published as the cover for Verotik’s 1996 Death Dealer #2 comic book - more than doubled the all-time auction record for any piece of comic art when it sold for $1.79 million. 

“As the live session opened, the Frazetta painting had a bid of $600,000, but within moments it had come down to two collectors, bidding by phone, who waged a pitched battle for this very desirable painting,” said Barry Sandoval, Director of Comics Operations at Heritage.

The sale surpassed the previous record for the world’s most valuable comic book auction by more than $1.8 million, a record also set by Heritage Auctions in July 2012 at $10,389,821. The three-day, 1,684-lot auction held May 10-12 offered examples of the world’s rarest comic books, including a copy of Action Comics #1 (DC, 1938), CGC VG 4.0, which sold for $573,600. Featuring the first appearance of Superman, the copy was sold by a longtime American comic book collector who paid $50,000 for the copy 15 years ago.

In addition to the copy of Action Comics #1, key books in high-grade condition broke the six-figure barrier. An issue of Batman #1 (DC, 1940), CGC FN- 5.5, never before offered for sale, sold for $227,050. Justice League of America #1 (DC, 1960), CGC NM+ 9.6, ended at $215,100, and a copy of Whiz Comics #2 (#1) (Fawcett Publications, 1940), CGC FN 6.0, the first appearance of Captain Marvel, sold for $173,275. One of the most sough-after issues of all time, Superman #1 (DC, 1939), CGC GD 2.0, brought $167,300 and 25 bids pushed the auction price of Action Comics #7 (DC, 1938) CGC VG/FN 5.0, known for being the second Superman cover ever, to $161,325. 

The auction’s offering of original comic art included John Romita Sr. The Amazing Spider-Man #61 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1968), which sold for $167,300. Continuing collector’s streak for paying high-flying auction prices for art by Robert Crumb, his original art for a “Head Comix” 1-Page Story from Yarrowstalks #2 (Yarrowstalks, 1967) sold for $143,400.

Artist Dave Cockrum’s bombastic Original Cover Art to X-Men #102 (Marvel, 1976) sold for $131,450 and a magnificent splash-page of Original Art by Jack Kirby and George Roussos from Fantastic Four #25 (Marvel, 1964) sold for $113,525.

Additional top highlights: 

·         The Original Art by Jack Kirby and Paul Reinman used for page 3 of X-Men #1 (Marvel, 1963), sold for $89,625

·         Bill Watterson’s Original Art for a Calvin and Hobbes Daily Comic Strip dated 1-21-86 (Universal Press Syndicate, 1986), sold for $67,725

·         A single page of art from the comic book featuring the first appearance of popular character Deadpool: Rob Liefeld’s New Mutants #98 Story Page 15 Original Art (offered just a week before the film “Deadpool 2” hits theaters), sold for $51,385

·         Bidders set another world record when the Original Art for a The Far Side Daily Comic Strip, by cartoonist Gary Larson, sold for $31,070, making it the most expensive Far Side strip ever sold at auction.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden today announced that Mark Sweeney will serve as Principal Deputy Librarian of Congress.

Sweeney has served as Acting Deputy Librarian of Congress since September 2017.

“Mark has been a dedicated public servant and leader at the Library for three decades,” Hayden said. “He brings an in-depth understanding of the institution and our staff to this office, and I am so pleased he has agreed to accept this permanent appointment. We have such exciting things in store for our users in the coming years and Mark will play a central role.”

The role of Principal Deputy Librarian is to assist with managing the Librarian’s priorities and function in a strategic role, working closely with senior leadership internally and high-level individuals externally. The Principal Deputy Librarian provides executive leadership and broad oversight to the heads of the U.S. Copyright Office, the Congressional Research Service, the Office of the General Counsel and the Deputy Librarian of Library Collections and Services Group. 

Before his appointment as Acting Deputy Librarian, Sweeney served as Associate Librarian since August 2014 - first on an Acting basis then as permanent appointee beginning in February 2015. Previously, Sweeney served as the Library’s Director of Preservation beginning in April 2012. Prior to that, he served for nearly five years as the Chief of the Serial and Government Publications Division, followed by seven months as Chief of the Library’s Humanities and Social Services Division.

During his 30 years with the Library of Congress, Sweeney has also served as Program Manager for the Library’s highly successful National Digital Newspaper Program, as Chief of the Preservation Reformatting Division, as Head of the Newspaper Section, as a Reference Specialist and as a Supervisory Library Technician.

He has presented at numerous professional meetings and served on national and international boards and committees.

Sweeney holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from McGill University and a master’s in library and information science from the Catholic University of America. 

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States - and extensive materials from around the world - both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.  Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at and register creative works of authorship at


Ruralia copy.jpgForum Auctions is delighted to announce the forthcoming auction of The Rothamsted Collection, comprising the rare book collection of the Lawes Agricultural Library. The Collection was assembled during the inter-war years by Sir John Russell, a former Director of Rothamsted Research, which is the longest-running scientific research station of its type in the world and home to the world’s oldest continuously running scientific experiment (currently in its 175th year). The collection includes some important medieval manuscripts and a comprehensive range of printed books from 1471-1840 on the subject of agriculture in its broadest sense. In total there are over 3,000 volumes, with a selection of highlights detailed below.

The Augsburg-printed 1471 edition of Crescentiis’ Ruralia Commoda is the landmark first ever printed book on agriculture (Est.£60,000-80,000) - originally written in about 1300 by Pietro Crescentio, a Bolognese lawyer, it covers viticulture, horticulture, husbandry, hunting and fishing. Amongst the many incunabula are a further six editions of the same work in various languages.  The 16th and 17th centuries are profusely represented by both Continental and English books, many with distinguished provenances including multiple editions of works by Markham, Tusser, Fitzherbert, Hartlib and Leigh.

There are many further exceptional rarities such as Monardes’ Joyfull Newes out of the New-found Worlde, 1580 (Est.£10,000-15,000) - one of the earliest books to describe the cultivation of rhubarb, ginger and quinine, as well as having extensive references to tobacco and nicotine; many works on bees, economics, social history, architecture and landscape gardening, veterinary science, early herbals and no fewer than 8 editions of Tull’s Horse-hoeing husbandry. Many of the great early printers are also represented - including several examples of Estienne and Aldus Manutius, plus a myriad of more obscure English provincially-printed works. Preceding the printed books are significant manuscripts by Walter of Henley (14th century on estate management) (Est.£10,000-15,000) and Palladius from the 15th century.

The auction will be held on 10th July at The Westbury Hotel on Mayfair’s Conduit Street where Forum holds its bi-monthly fine sales. Viewing of the collection commences during the Antiquarian Booksellers Association (ABA) annual fair (May 24th - 26th), which is coincidentally being held in Battersea Park, a stone’s throw from Forum’s offices. The auction promises to be one of 2018’s landmark bibliophile sales and is tipped to raise in excess of £1,000,000.

Image: Ruralia commoda, [Speier, Peter Drach, c.1490-1495]. The first illustrated edition with over 300 woodcuts, a few of which are coloured by a contemporary hand. Est. £20,000-30,000.

Ben Franklin HA copy.jpgDallas, TX - Nine works by Norman Rockwell and new auction records for seven artists drove Heritage Auctions’ May 4 American Art Auction in Dallas, Texas to $4,571,987.50 versus pre-sale estimates of $3,503,200-$5,237,800 (includes estimates of the unsold lots). The auction sold 96 percent by value and 91 percent by lot.

“Norman Rockwell is among the most beloved and important American artists of all time,” Heritage Auctions Director of American Art Aviva Lehmann said. “Art lovers of all levels and types can relate to the people in his paintings, which is why an auction like this one was such a success.”

Once in the private collection of late actor Debbie Reynolds, Norman Rockwell Ben Franklin's Sesquicentennial, The Saturday Evening Post cover, May 29, 1926 sold for $762,500. One of Rockwell’s most patriotic images, it was commissioned in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and is Rockwell’s only cover lot featuring a Founding Father.

Another lot from the famed illustrator that drew major interest from collectors was Norman Rockwell The Census Taker, The Saturday Evening Post cover study, 1940, which brought $372,500. While the painting offers a humorous view of a mother trying to wrangle six children while answering questions, The Census Taker also documented a serious and important event in American History: the 1940 U.S. Census. That census occurred April 1, only weeks before the April 27 debut of this Post cover.

Numerous bidders pursued Joseph Christian Leyendecker Living Mannequin, The Saturday Evening Post cover, March 5, 1932 until it drew $312,500 - more than double its pre-auction low estimate. Originally from the estate of Harry Glass, of Long Island, New York, the painting from Illustration’s Golden Age originally sold at the 1943 U.S. War Bond at the United States Treasury-Saturday Evening Post War Bond Show, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Competitive bidding helped John S. Jameson Grazing Sheep at Headwaters of a Stream, 1862 crush its pre-auction estimate when it realized $250,000, a new auction record for the artist. The influence of the Hudson River School on the young prodigy - Jameson died at just 22 years old after being captured while fighting in the Civil War - is evident in this landscape and exploration into theatrical light and weather effects.

Rockwell’s Before the Shot, The Saturday Evening Post cover study, 1958 went for $187,500. A preparatory study for an illustration that graced the March 15, 1958 cover of The Saturday Evening Post and of the artist's most iconic and most popular images, it was exhibited alongside the final painting at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge.

Rockwell broke from his stance of shielding his political views in Norman Rockwell The Day I Painted Ike (All through that grind of turning on different moods, he never lost patience. At the end-by golly, it was time to go fishing.), The Saturday Evening Post interior illustration, 1952, which sold for $150,000. The artist’s admiration for the 34th U.S. president was so unwavering that Ben Hibbs, then the editor of the Saturday Evening Post, wrote to Rockwell saying, “If Ike is elected, as I think he will be, no small share of the credit should go to Norman Rockwell.”

Other lots that established new auction records:

·         W.P. Wilson Mr. Trunk and his Advisors - His Friends, Old Mr. Parrot and Mr. Starling, 1862: $13,750

·         Henry Schnakenberg Summer in the Park (Central Park, Bethesda Fountain): $13,750

·         Belle Goldschlager Baranceanu Road Near Mount Wilson, California: $11,250

·         Max Arthur Cohn Belmore Cafeteria, 1937: $6,875

·         Andrée Ruellan Docks at Roundabout, 1947: $6,250

·         Nathalie Newking Baigneuses et chevreau, 1924: $4,875

Other top lots included, but were not limited to:

·         Norman Rockwell Stealing Socks, Interwoven Stocking advertisement, 1928: $143,750

·         LeRoy Neiman Paris - Cafe Deux Magots, 1961: $81,250

·         Marguerite Thompson Zorach, Mother and Child, 1919: $75,000

·         Milton Avery Churning Bay, 1945: $65,625

·         Blanche Lazzell Black Fish and Untitled (double-sided work), 1920: $50,000

·         Norman Rockwell Man with Rod and Reel, probable advertisement study, circa 1940: $50,000

424-Matisse copy.jpgNew York—With highlights spanning six centuries, Swann Galleries’ auction of Old Master Through Modern Prints on May 8 offered works by the greatest innovators in the field. The sale totaled more than $2M.

Leading the auction was a gift from Henri Matisse to one of his favorite models, Nadia Sednaoui. The evocative aquatint Grand Masque, 1948, a stylized portrait of the young woman, is signed and inscribed to her by the artist. It sold for $87,500, a record for the work. Another auction record was set for the artist’s 1938 linoleum cut Diane, at $20,000.

Tête de femme, de profil, 1905, an early drypoint by Pablo Picasso at just 24 years old, reached $75,000. The portrait topped an extravagant selection of works by the master in a variety of media. The jaunty terre-de-faïence dish Goat’s Head in Profile, 1952, and color linoleum cut Le Vieux Roi, 1963, each exceeded their high estimates to sell for $21,250.

Additional twentieth-century highlights included Marc Chagall’s color lithograph L’Âme du Cirque, 1980, which nearly doubled its high estimate to sell for $42,500, a record for the work. Also by Chagall, Carmen, 1967, an after-print in vibrant hues, reached $62,500.   

The etching and drypoint portrait of Jan Uytenbogaert, Preacher of the Remonstrants, 1635, by Rembrandt van Rijn, previously in the collector of the German art director Rudolph Busch, nearly doubled its high estimate to sell for $57,500. A rich selection of early self portraits by the master was led by Self Portrait in a Cap, Laughing, 1630, and Self Portrait in a Fur Cap: Bust, 1630 ($27,500 and $35,000, respectively).

Two elegant etchings by James A.M. Whistler performed well, led by Rue de la Rochefoucault, 1890, which was purchased by a collector for $30,000, a record for the work. Another highlight was The Two Doorways, 1879-80, an intimate vista of Venice ($25,000).

Vice President and Director of Prints & Drawings Todd Weyman noted that “85% of lots by Albrecht Dürer sold, showing resiliency in the old master prints market that Swann has come to dominate.” The visionary’s engraving St. Eustace, circa 1501, led the selection of fine prints at $37,500.

The next fine art auction at Swann Galleries will be Contemporary Art on May 22, 2018. The house is currently accepting quality consignments for autumn auctions.

Additional highlights can be found here.

Image: Lot 424: Henri Matisse, Grand Masque, aquatint, inscribed to model Nadia Sednaoui, 1948. Sold May 8, 2018 for $87,500, a record for the work. (Pre-sale estimate: $50,000 to $80,000)

3103T_webcover-e1524059976989.jpgThe spring rare books and manuscripts auction at Skinner will feature more than 700 lots of printed books, historic manuscripts, maps, and prints, including Audubons.

A featured section of NASA photographs and memorabilia from the collection of Dutch television director Rudolf Spoor takes center stage (300 lots), with an item unprecedented in space collecting: a NASA safety helmet signed by 26 American astronauts and six rocket scientists and missions control specialists. Spoor’s collection demonstrates his access to the program as a journalist in lot after lot. As an example, Grumman provided him with a scale model of the Lunar Module (LM) for use in live television broadcasts. No film cameras were mounted on the Apollo 11 spacecrafts to capture the descent of the Lunar Module, so Spoor and crew mounted the LM model to a stick, built a lunar landscape diorama, and slowly lowered the model to the miniature surface below, as cameras rolled.  Spoor also managed to obtained a paw print of Miss Baker, one of two monkeys to fly into space before manned space travel, and the only one to survive, along with a sample of her fur and a number of photographs. Flown heat shield fragments, hundreds of important photographs, including signed photographs from Mercury 7 and Apollo missions, will be included, along with mission patches, first day covers, and more.

The American Revolution is never forgotten in New England, and Skinner is pleased to offer the first appearance of Benjamin Franklin’s Join or Die political cartoon with the severed snake image representing the states, now more often remembered as “Don’t Tread on Me!” Franklin’s editorial was issued in criticism of the disjointed American response to the French and Indian War, but kept its currency throughout the Revolutionary period, into the Civil War, and is still available as a bumper sticker on websites in 2018! Bid on the original at Skinner.

Early editions of the works of Beatrix Potter, Jane Austen, and Laura Ingalls Wilder will be offered in the sale as well, in addition to letters written and signed by Wilder and Harper Lee, and an original illustration for Little Women annotated on the verso by Louisa May Alcott.

Several 19th century railroad posters will be offered in the sale, along with a selection of railroad memorabilia, broadsides, ephemera, and drawings. We are also pleased to offer other original manuscripts and drawings, including diagrams of clockworks down in Massachusetts in the mid-18th century, and a remarkable sketchbook from the early 19th century with views of Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia. Each city went through a number of transformations in this period. The waterside views afforded in these images, the depictions of the skylines of the past, document a moment in the formation of the metropolitan east coast.

Unique material related to the American Civil War will be offered in the documents section of the sale, including a signed photograph of Abraham Lincoln presented to General John A. Dix; an autograph letter signed by Confederate General James Longstreet, asking for a pension based on an injury he sustained in the Mexican-American War (with the caveat that the request be kept confidential); a portrait of Robert E. Lee signed by photographer Matthew Brady, and a signed photograph of American President General Ulysses S. Grant.

Norman’s Chart of the Lower Mississippi, estimated at $50,000-70,000, a very early 5-foot map of the river, complete with plantations and views of the ports of New Orleans and Baton Rouge, very rare on the market, would be key in any major American map collection.

For lovers of relativity and wax museums, we are also pleased to offer a wax sculpture of Alfred Einstein’s head by sculptor Katherine Stubergh (sometimes called the Madame Tussaud of America) signed on the back of the neck by Einstein himself.

The spring book sale closes on June 8th, followed closely by an important collection of early English books to be offered in Boston on July 20th.

76-Ray.jpgNew York—Swann Galleries’ auction of Graphic Design on May 3 offered vintage posters that defined the styles of the twentieth century. In a highly-curated selection of just over 250 lots, the highlight was Man Ray’s iconic poster for the London Underground, which reached a record $149,000.

Done in the surrealist master’s iconic “rayographic” style, the asymmetrical poster equated the reliability with the nascent tube system with the timeless regularity of the solar system. It was the world’s most expensive travel poster from June of 2007, when it sold for $100,906 at Christie’s, until 2012, when a poster by A.M. Cassandre sold at Swann Galleries for $162,500. The work was originally part of a pair of identical posters, with its complement reading London Transport. The two posters are not known to have appeared together at auction.

Additional auction records for stunning Secessionist masterpieces included Alfred Röller’s XIV Ausstellung / Secession / Klinger Beethoven, 1902, for $57,200, and Frommes Kalendar, 1899, by Koloman Moser, at $25,000. Both works were purchased by institutions. A record was also achieved by Bon Appétit!, 1961, an advertisement for eggs by Niklaus Stoecklin in his hyperrealist New Objectivity style, at $8,450.

A masterwork of printing designed by Charles Loupot in 1940 for the Lion Noir shoe polish company, in which a glossy black lion prepares to pounce from a matte black background, was purchased by a collector for $35,000.

Nicholas D. Lowry, President and Principle Auctioneer of Swann Galleries and Director of Vintage Posters department, was pleased with the sale: “This was our the best auction of Graphic Design since 2007 and the third-best since we began the category in 2001. The highlight was, of course, Man Ray’s London Underground poster reaching $149,000, a record price that places the image in the firmament of most sought-after graphic design of the twentieth century. The number of institutional buyers among the top lots proves that this exciting corner of the poster-collecting market will continue to grow for years to come.”          

The next auction of Vintage Posters at Swann Galleries will be held on August 1, 2018. The house is currently accepting quality consignments for autumn auctions.

Additional highlights can be found here.

Image: Lot 76: Man Ray, [London Transport] - Keeps London Going, 1938. Sold May 3, 2018 for $149,000, a record for the work. (Pre-sale estimate: $80,000 to $120,000)


Morgan-taming-the-tarrasque copy.jpgNew York — From dragons, unicorns, and other fabled beasts to inventive hybrid creations, artists in the Middle Ages filled the world around them with marvels of imagination. Their creations reflected a society and culture at once captivated and repelled by the idea of the monstrous. Drawing on the Morgan Library & Museum's superb medieval collection as well as loans from New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, Medieval Monsters: Terrors, Aliens, Wonders—on view beginning June 8—examines the complex social role of monsters in medieval Europe. It brings together approximately seventy works spanning the ninth to sixteenth centuries, and ranging from illuminated manuscripts and tapestry to metalwork and ivory. 

The show explores three key themes: “Terrors” demonstrates how monsters enhanced the aura of those in power, whether rulers, knights, or saints. “Aliens” reveals how marginalized groups in European societies—such as Jews, Muslims, women, the poor, and the disabled—were further alienated by being depicted as monstrous. The final section on “wonders” considers the strange beauties and frightful anomalies such as dragons, unicorns, or giants that populated the medieval world.

“In the medieval world the idea of the monstrous permeated every level of society,” said Colin B. Bailey, director of the Morgan Library & Museum, “from rulers, and the nobility and the clergy, to agrarian and urban dwellers alike. Artists of the Middle Ages captured this phenomenon in images of beings at once familiar and foreign to today’s viewer. We are grateful to our guest curators Asa Simon Mittman and Sherry Lindquist for helping us bring this engrossing subject to the public.” 


I. Terrors

Throughout the Middle Ages, rulers capitalized on the mystique of monsters to enhance their own aura of power. In medieval art, they often depicted themselves—or figures with whom they could identify—as righteous heroes demonstrating their worthiness by slaying the most frightful creatures imaginable. By embellishing all manner of luxury objects with monstrous imagery, the nobility and clergy could also reinforce and dramatize their own authority. Such fear some motifs were often thought to have not only a symbolic potency but also actual power in warding off evil. 

Because of their ability both to terrify and to inspire awe, monsters could even be used to evoke the divine. From headless saints to three-headed trinities, these “sacred terrors” vividly bring to life the power of monsters to bridge the gap between the natural and the supernatural. Ultimately, the monsters in this section offer us a glimpse into how people in the Middle Ages perceived relationships of power, whether earthly or divine. 

II. Aliens

In the modern world, the term alien is most strongly associated with extraterrestrials. In the Middle Ages, however, aliens were very much inhabitants of our world. Deriving from the Latin word for “foreign” or “exotic,” an alien was simply a person or thing from somewhere else. For medieval men and women, the various peoples thought to live on the other side of the world were just as unreachable, and therefore unknowable, as Martians would be to us. At times, these aliens were the subject of titillating speculation; other times they were sources of fear or objects of derision. 

As in other eras, monstrous imagery could be used to stigmatize those perceived to deviate from the norm. This held true not only for “strangers” to medieval Christian societies—most notably, Jews and Muslims—but also for those who were marginalized within their own communities. Women, the poor, the mentally ill or physically impaired could all be made monstrous by medieval artists. Such representations helped define the difference between those who were accepted and those who were cast aside. Confronting these at times difficult images reminds us of the ability of the visual arts to shape our perceptions of others.

III. Wonders

For medieval viewers, monsters could also inspire a sense of wonder and marvel as a transformative response to strange, surprising, or mysterious phenomena. During the Middle Ages, wonders were only as significant as their authenticity, which could be confirmed either by eye-witness accounts or by the authority of venerable authors. The difficulty of disentangling truth from fiction became a common theme, giving rise to entire genres of text that claimed to catalogue the various phenomena of the world: from herbals and bestiaries to travel accounts. 

Capable of shifting expectations and perceptions, monsters inspired viewers to reconsider their place in the world. These fantastical creatures were often so unpredictable and prevalent in the cultural imagination that it is often hard to judge whether they reinforce or disrupt the norms of the time. This exhibition invites visitors to consider what medieval monsters can teach us about the cultures that created them.


The accompanying catalogue, Medieval Monsters: Terrors, Aliens, Wonders, features full-page reproductions of 61 works in the exhibition, a Director’s Foreword by Colin B. Bailey, a preface by China Miéville, and essays by Sherry C. M. Lindquist and Asa Simon Mittman.

Author: Sherry C. M. Lindquist, Asa Simon Mittman

Publisher: The Morgan Library & Museum, in association with D Giles Limited.

175 pages.

Image: The Taming the Tarasque, from Hours of Henry VIII, France, Tours, ca. 1500. The Morgan Library & Museum, MS H.8, fol. 191v, detail. Photography by Graham S. Haber, 2013.

568_260_Gershwin, George, Autopgraphed musical manuscript signed twice, to Hyman Sandow, 17 August 1928_WEB.jpgThe May 1 Fine Books and Manuscripts auction at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers included a collection of over 400 manuscripts from the collection of Robert L. McKay, many of which were among the top performing lots in the sale. The sale had strong bidding activity in the room, over the phones and online, and realized over $531,000, with a number of highlights exceeding presale estimates.

The top lots from the Robert L. McKay collection include a fine autographed musical manuscript signed by George Gershwin to his friend and music journalist Hyman Sandow, which sold for $27,500 against a presale estimate of $6,000 to 8,000. An autographed letter from Albert Einstein to American journalist and diplomat Herman Bernstein sold for $25,000 against a presale estimate of $3,000 to 5,000.  A George Washington autograph letter signed to Samuel M. Fox regarding the collection of a debt and written from Mt. Vernon sold for $16,250 against a presale estimate of $8,000 to 12,000.

Additional highlights from the collection include an autographed letter signed by Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky to Czech composer Eduard Frantsevich Nápravnik, which sold for $12,500 against a presale estimate of $8,000 to 12,000; an autograph letter signed by Benjamin Franklin to his great-nephew sold for $11,250 against a presale estimate of $8,000 to 12,000; and Joseph Stalin's annotated copy of Leon Trotsky's The Problems of the Civil War, which sold for $16,250 against a presale estimate of $4,000 to 6,000. Competitive bidding on the phones drove the final price for an autograph manuscript signed by Salvador Dali with twelve original pen sketches to $10,625 against a presale estimate of $600 to 800.

In addition to the McKay collection of manuscripts, the sale included a rare copy of Conradus de Halberstadt’s Concordantiae bibliorum, printed by Mentelin in Strassburg before 1474. It sold for $27,500 with a presale estimate or $10,000 to 15,000 after active international bidding.

Following a Chicago reception, Francis Wahlgren, took the gavel. This was his first auction following the announcement of his new role as exclusive consultant.

The Fine Books and Manuscripts department is currently accepting consignments for fall auctions and on November 12 will offer The Fine Cartographic and Printed Americana Collection of Evelyn and Erin Newman. Visit for additional information.

Breslauer - all 3 sideways 750 wide.jpgThe winner of the 17th ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography, sponsored by the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers with the generous support of the B.H. Breslauer Foundation, is now officially announced!

Winner 2018:
Dutch scholar and author Ina Kok will receive the 2018 award for her outstanding work: Woodcuts in Incunabula Printed in the Low Countries, Brill, April 2013, (4 Vols.)

Honourable Mentions were given to two further publications:
Dirk Imhof, Jan Moretus and the Continuation of the Plantin Press, Brill, October 2014 (2 Vols.);

Staffan Fogelmark, The Kallierges Pindar. A Study in Renaissance Greek Scholarship and Printing, Dinter, 2015 (2 Vols.)

Over 50 publications from publishers and academic institutions across the globe were submitted and had to be reviewed for the 2018 award.

Daniel de Simone (previously Folger Library and Library of Congress), member of the 2018 Prize Jury describes the process: “It was established very quickly that the quality of the bibliographical work submitted was a testament to the vibrancy of the field of bibliographical research. The subject areas covered and the methodologies used by the authors tested the skills of the reviewers who had to make judgments based on the intent of the authors, the presentation of the bibliographical information, and the usefulness of the research that was published.  Discussions among the reviewers often focused on the production values of the publications and the quality of the design and presentation.”

Fabrizio Govi, ILAB Vice President and Prize Secretary: "​The author has spent decades working on this book compiling an incredible census of illustrations used in editions printed in the 15th Century Netherlands. We cannot compare Ina Kok’s book to any other publication submitted for the 2018 Prize. Woodcut illustrations were often reused during the first period of printing, they were fragile and were easily worn down after a few impressions. As a result, they were sometimes repaired with a few minor changes or completely recut, trying to recreate the original block as closely as possible. This work, published in four volumes and​ based on the study of almost four thousand illustrations, is remarkable.”

Awards Ceremony 2018 - ABA RARE BOOK FAIR LONDON, MAY 2018

The 17th ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography will be awarded during the ABA Rare Book Fair London on 25th May 2018, one of the world’s leading events of the antiquarian book trade. This prestigious prize in the field of bibliographical studies, worth US$ 10,000 is awarded every fourth year to the most significant reference work within a selection of scholarly books on bibliography, published in the previous years and submitted to the Prize jury.

The B.H. Breslauer Foundation who have provided an endowment since 2010, was set up by Dr. B.H. Breslauer, one of the most recognized antiquarian booksellers in the 20th century with a keen interest in bibliography and bibliophily.

The jury considers publications relating to bibliography in a very broad sense from textual bibliography to history of the book, bookbinding, papermaking, type-founding, library catalogues, short-title catalogues of a single author or typographer and further afield.

Jury Members 2018:
Bettina Wagner (Bavarian State Library, Munich)
Daniel de Simone (prev. Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC)
Yann Sordet (Bibliothèque Mazarine, Paris)
Fabrizio Govi (Italy)
Winfried Kuhn (Germany)
Justin Croft (United Kingdom) 

The Book

Ina Kok: Woodcuts in Incunabula Printed in the Low Countries
Published by Brill, April 2013, (4 Vols.)

The purpose of the book is to provide a survey and an understanding of book woodcuts of the 15th century.

Firstly, the book gives a complete census of woodcuts in Dutch and Flemish incunabula, and a record of all places in which they appear. Both the book in which the woodcut (or series of woodcuts) appears for the first time and all repetitions of that woodcut before 1501 have been registered.

Second, the book offers a survey and analysis of the woodcuts used by each printer. With this inventory, Dr. Kok has developed a very accurate dating system for incunabula. Over 3800 different illustrations have been found in the incunabula printed in the Low Countries, which illustrate the history of the use of woodcuts - the different states, the different stages of wear and tear.

About Ina Kok

Ina Kok was born in The Hague (The Netherlands). After her high school education, she studied Dutch Language and Literature at the University of Amsterdam (main direction: Historical Literature) and graduated cum laude in 1978. The subject of her doctoral thesis was the woodcuts of the prominent fifteenth century printer Gerard Leeu. After this study, she followed the postgraduate study Book and Library Science at the same university.

She held positions at the Royal Library in The Hague and the University of Amsterdam, where she obtained her PhD in 1994 for the study of woodcuts in incunabula.  (Thesis title: De Houtsneden in de Incunabelen van de Lage Landen 1475-1500; Inventarisatie en bibliografische analyse (The Woodcuts in the Incunabula of the Low Countries 1475-1500. An Inventory and Bibliographical Analysis). Positions followed at the Incunabula and Postincunabula Department of the Royal Library, under curator Gerard van Thienen.

In 1985, she became a part-time curator of Manuscripts and Early Printed Books in the Stadsarchief and Athenaeumbibliotheek in Deventer (SAB). Througout her career, Dr. Kok continued the research on woodcuts.

In 2013, the revised, fully illustrated English language commercial edition of her thesis was published in four volumes by Hes & de Graaf Publishers in Houten (now Brill, Leiden): Woodcuts in Incunabula Printed in the Low Countries. In 2015 she received the Menno Hertzberger Prize for this reference book. Dr. Kok retired in 2017 and is currently working on a publication about the fascinating correspondence between the English art historian and woodcut expert William Martin Conway (1856-1937) and his tutor, the renowned bibliographer Henry Bradshaw (1831-1886), which will also be published by Brill.

357_3.jpgChicago, IL — Potter and Potter Auctions' signature early spring sale was a feast for the eyes, attracting interest and buyers from all over the world.  When the last hammer fell, 27 lots realized between $1,000-1,999; 14 lots realized between $2,000-$9,999; and two lots broke the five-figure mark - in a really big way!  Prices noted include the company's 20% buyer's premium. 

It's hard to escape the fact that breathtaking Harry Houdini archives represented the top lots in this sale. Lot #357, a mostly 1922-1925 era, two volume spiritualism scrapbook signed, kept, and annotated by Harry Houdini was estimated at $30,000-40,000 and realized $66,000 - more than twice its low estimate. The first book included newspaper and news-magazine clippings from the US and abroad pertaining to spiritualism and related subjects.  The second book was almost entirely devoted to coverage of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s belief in spiritualism and the supernatural. Lot #360, Elliot Sanford’s Houdini manuscripts and archive was estimated at $10,000-15,000 and realized $48,000. This collection chronicled Sanford's year with the Houdini family in intimate detail and was full of unpublished data and first person accounts.  

Magic related ephemera were well represented in this auction, with several fine letters, photographs, and collections of note.  Lot #372, a 1923 photograph of Houdini and fellow magician A.M. Wilson was estimated at $300-500 and realized $2,280. Lot #583, a group 13 of magician's business cards from 1928-1980 was estimated at $50-100 and made $330. Lot #448, an autographed signed letter dated 1878 from Dobler the Wizard on his engraved and illustrated letterhead was estimated at $400-600 realized $1,800.  And lot #520, a 1914 Martinka & Co. autographed signed letter to Howard Thurston about a possible employment opportunity for a fellow magician was estimated at $100-200 and sold for $1,020.

Magic apparatus and tricks were key categories at this event.  Lot #207, Muhammad Ali's false thumb tip was estimated at $200-300 but changed hands at $1,800. This custom painted metal thumb tip was formerly property of the magic-loving boxing legend. And lot #316, Orrin’s Streamlined Uplift from 1949 rose to $660 on a $200-300 estimate.  

This sale offered a comprehensive collection of magic books, with over 200 lots on offer. Lot #159, a handsome first edition of Edward Sachs' Sleight of Hand from 1877, was estimated at $1,000-1,500 and realized an astonishing $6,480 - more than quadrupling its high estimate!  And lot #59, Circle Without End: The Magic Circle 1905 - 2005, edited by Edwin Dawes and Michael Bailey, was estimated at $100-200 and realized $540. This example, number 22 of 25 produced, was signed by the editors, made from full top-grain brown leather, and profusely illustrated. 

This Magic Memorabilia sale rounded things out with carefully curated selections of photos, advertisements, costumes, and other rarities.  Lot #387, The Jail Breaker and Dexterous Handcuff King Houdini poster, was estimated at $3,000-5,000 and realized $7,200. This mesmerizing, two color broadside was linen backed and measured 35" x 11". Lot #651, a linen backed Il Mago Delle Meraviglie poster from 1949, also caught the eye of many bidders. It was decorated with a myriad of magical acts within the shape of a large owl.  Estimated at $300-500, it made $1,680.  Things were positive with lot #358, seven glass photo negatives owned by Houdini.  Estimated at $2,000-3,000, this group - which included images of the Atlantic City Orpheum Theater, restraints, and Hardeen broadsides - realized $5,280. And it was a clothes call with lot #602, a wine-colored brocade jacket and white silk shirt worn by Dutch magician Tommy Wonder. Estimated at $1,500-2,000, the lot realized $6,480.

According to Gabe Fajuri, President at Potter & Potter Auctions, "Houdini continues to outperform estimates, and the tantalizing idea of unpublished and unknown material related to his life and career clearly drove prices well beyond our expectations. I was also pleased with the diversity of the sale - and how collectibles in a variety of categories really made the auction a "something for everyone" offering. Our next magic sale, scheduled for June 16th, features our second offering from the collection of David Baldwin. It promises to be a strong auction, and will feature automatons, Robert-Houdin mystery clocks, vintage apparatus, and more. Please join us online, or in person, for what promises to be a spectacular event."

Potter and Potter, founded in 2007, is a Chicago area auction house specializing in paper Americana, vintage advertising, rare books, playing cards, gambling memorabilia, posters, fine prints, vintage toys, and magicana - antiques and collectibles related to magic and magicians. For more information on their April 28, 2018 Magic Sale and Potter & Potter Auctions, please see

Image: Two Volume Spiritualism Scrapbook Kept and Annotated by Houdini. Sold for $66,000.

Getty India.jpgLos Angeles - Thousands of miles, harsh terrains, and diverse waterways separate India and Europe, and yet people and materials in these vast regions moved with great frequency during the medieval period. The pages of illuminated manuscripts reveal a dynamically interconnected world filled with real and imagined ideas about life on this earth and in spiritual states beyond.

Drawn primarily from the Getty’s permanent collection, with important loans from local institutions and private collections, Pathways to Paradise: Medieval India and Europe on view now through August 5 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, explores the ways decorated books and portable luxury objects reflected their owners’ knowledge of and ideas about the greater world, as well as their spiritual quests for sacred groves, providential gems, and guides to enlightenment.

“This exhibition expands on themes we explored at the Getty in last year’s exhibition Traversing the Globe through Illuminated Manuscripts and currently in Rembrandt and the Inspiration of India: that the people of early modern Europe were not isolated, but interacted dynamically with other cultures,” explains Timothy Pott, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “With particular focus on how artists in India and Europe conceptualized the idea of paradise, the exhibition explores the diverse religious traditions of these widely separated culture spheres, how each produced wondrous manuscripts and other works of art evoking otherworldly celestial domains.”

The word “paradise” often describes an idyllic place of unmatched beauty, but it can also refer to a mindset of harmony and bliss. Several world religions share these conceptions of paradise—including Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam—but the path to reaching such a place or achieving this state of mind varied greatly. Whether a physical environment; a metaphysical realm, like heaven; or a state of transcendence, paradise was a potential reality for people of the premodern era, many of whom journeyed from their homelands to destinations across Asia, Africa, and Europe in pursuit of precious materials and sites believed to have great spiritual significance.

"Peoples in Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent have long-interacted with peoples in Europe and Africa, and these relationships are recorded and visualized in hand-written and decorated book arts,” says Bryan C. Keene, assistant curator of manuscripts and curator of the exhibition. “During the long medieval period—from about 500-1500—actual contact increased between geographically distant regions, as seen through the exchange of materials and ideas in this exhibition.”

Book arts were vehicles for the transmission of philosophy, religion, cosmology, and the study of the natural world, and when displayed alongside coins, gems, and other portable objects, they present a picture of a premodern world that was dynamically interconnected and culturally aware.

Coins are among the most portable luxury objects. Necessary for commerce and trade, they also communicate messages of power and faith. Portraits of rulers often adorn one side while divinities or symbols of paradise sometimes decorate the other. At times, coins were beaten into thin sheets and applied as metallic leaf to adorn the pages of books.

Precious goods such as jewelry, amulets, and reliquaries could be carried over great distances. Other objects, including crowns, oil lamps, and votive statues were used to serve local audiences at court, in temples, or in shrines and each of these had the potential to connect owners with metaphysical worlds. Raw materials—such as stones, gems, bronze, and silver—were also highly prized. Many cultures and religions ascribe magical or healing properties to gems and metals, associations often based on ideas about the divine and the afterlife.

Manuscripts often communicated complex beliefs about otherworldly domains or beings, inviting readers to connect with spiritual realms or to envision the afterlife—states of paradise or infernal damnation beyond the earth. Several of the books and pages presented in this exhibition concern theological beliefs about angels and the spiritual cosmos.

Pathways to Paradise: Medieval India & Europe is curated by Bryan C. Keene, assistant curator of manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum. The exhibition will be on view at the Getty Center from now through August 5, 2018. Through June 24, 2018, the exhibition Rembrandt and the Inspiration of India presents a stunning array of drawings and paintings that reveal how art and ideas traveled across time and oceans. Related programming includes India and the World: A History in Nine Stories, in which Naman Ahuja, curator of Indian art at Jawaharla Nehru University, discusses his recent exhibition India and the World, a presentation of extraordinary masterpieces that situates Indian history in a global context. Additional information can be found at

Image: The Angel of Paradise with a Sword, about 1475. Tempera colors, gold leaf, and gold paint on parchment. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. Ludwig XIII 5, v1, fol. 54v


May5_01_pics.jpgIthaca, NY—National Book Auctions, located just outside 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. Featured are prized first printings of titles such as "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and "To Kill a Mockingbird." A selection of fine bindings will be offered, including antique fancy leather bindings and rare selections from the Folio Society.               

Antique and rare books are numerous in this catalog. Among the earliest examples are the 1532 printing of Alamanni's "Opere Toscane di Luigi Alamanni," Chetham's "The Angler's Vade Mecum," produced in 1689 with plates, and the 1646 printing of Corning' "De Sanguinis Generatione, et Motu Naturali." We're also pleased to offer in this catalog an "A" binding of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," and two desirable copies of "To Kill a Mockingbird" - one a first printing and the other an author-signed early printing. First printings and signed, limited editions of works by Robert Frost will also be sold. Additional rare and antique selections relate to travel & exploration, circus history, pulp, books-on-books, Civil War, theology, polar exploration, children's, decorative antique sets, art history and beyond.                        

Several interesting collections will also be showcased. Highlighted is a fine and diverse selection of antique bindings including important extra illustrated copies of Cotton and Mather's "The Compleat Angler" and Sargent's "Life of Major John Andre," produced in 1861 and housed in four volumes to accommodate the additional original correspondence and documents, engravings, etc.. Another collection is highlighted by three volumes from The Folio Society's elaborate presentation of works by Shakespeare, including "Macbeth," "Hamlet," and "King Lear." Also of interest are holdings from the personal library of one of the civil rights' movement's "Big Four," James Farmer. One of these books is inscribed by another of the foursome, Roy Wilkins, to Farmer, noting him as the "Leader of the Freedom Bus Riders" and inscribed in the Jackson, Mississippi jail.       

Found throughout this catalog are interesting ephemera offerings and many group lots of desirable titles.    

National Book Auctions is a public auction service specializing in books, ephemera, and art. National Book Auctions is a targeted service offering experience and expertise unique to marketing antique and modern books and ephemera for consignors and collectors alike. The upcoming auctions will feature a wide assortment of collectible, signed, and first edition books. For more information, please contact the gallery at 607-269-0101 or email



image005.pngLos Angeles—From Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, to Edvard Munch’s The Scream, to Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother, the human face has been a crucial, if often enigmatic, element of portraiture. Featuring 45 works drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection, In Focus: Expressions, on view May 22 to October 7, 2018 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, addresses the enduring fascination with the human face and the range of countenances that photographers have captured from the birth of the medium to the present day.

The exhibition begins with the most universal and ubiquitous expression: the smile. Although today it is taken for granted that we should smile when posing for the camera, smiling was not the standard photographic expression until the 1880s with the availability of faster film and hand-held cameras. Smiling subjects began to appear more frequently as the advertising industry also reinforced the image of happy customers to an ever-widening audience who would purchase the products of a growing industrial economy. The smile became “the face of the brand,” gracing magazines, billboards, and today, digital and social platforms.

As is evident in the exhibition, the smile comes in all variations—the genuine, the smirk, the polite, the ironic—expressing a full spectrum of emotions that include benevolence, sarcasm, joy, malice, and sometimes even an intersection of two or more of these. In Milton Rogovin’s (American, 1909-2011) Storefront Churches, Buffalo (1958-1961), the expression of the preacher does not immediately register as a smile because the camera has captured a moment where his features—the opened mouth, exposed teeth, and raised face—could represent a number of activities: he could be in the middle of a song, preaching, or immersed in prayer. His corporeal gestures convey the message of his spirit, imbuing the black-and-white photograph with emotional color. Like the other works included in this exhibition, this image posits the notion that facial expressions can elicit a myriad of sentiments and denote a range of inner emotions that transcend the capacity of words.

In Focus: Expressions also probes the role of the camera in capturing un-posed moments and expressions that would otherwise go unnoticed. In Alec Soth’s (American, born 1969) Mary, Milwaukee, WI (2014), a fleeting expression of laughter is materialized in such a way—head leaning back, mouth open—that could perhaps be misconstrued as a scream. The photograph provides a frank moment, one that confronts the viewer with its candidness and calls to mind today’s proliferation and brevity of memes, a contemporary, Internet-sustained visual phenomena in which images are deliberately parodied and altered at the same rate as they are spread.

Perhaps equally radical as the introduction of candid photography is the problematic association of photography with facial expression and its adoption of physiognomy, a concept that was introduced in the 19th century. Physiognomy, the study of the link between the face and human psyche, resulted in the belief that different types of people could be classified by their visage. The exhibition includes some of the earliest uses of photography to record facial expression, as in Duchenne de Boulogne’s (French, 1806-1875) Figure 44: The Muscle of Sadness (negative, 1850s). This also resonates in the 20th-century photographs by Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975) of Allie Mae Burroughs, Hale County Alabama (negative 1936) in that the subject’s expression could be deemed as suggestive of the current state of her mind. In this frame (in others she is viewed as smiling) she stares intently at the camera slightly biting her lip, perhaps alluding to uncertainty of what is to come for her and her family.

The subject of facial expression is also resonant with current developments in facial recognition technology. Nancy Burson (American, born 1948) created works such as Androgyny (6 Men + 6 Women) (1982), in which portraits of six men and six women were morphed together to convey the work’s title. Experimental and illustrative of the medium’s technological advancement, Burson’s photograph is pertinent to several features of today’s social media platforms, including the example in which a phone’s front camera scans a user’s face and facial filters are applied upon detection. Today, mobile phones and social media applications even support portrait mode options, offering an apprehension of the human face and highlighting its countenances with exceptional quality. 

In addition to photography’s engagement with human expression, In Focus: Expressions examines the literal and figurative concept of the mask. Contrary to a candid photograph, the mask is the face we choose to present to the world. Weegee’s (Arthur Fellig’s) (American, born Austria, 1899-1968) Emmett Kelly, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus (about 1950) demonstrates this concept, projecting the character of a sad clown in place of his real identity as Emmett Kelly.

The mask also suggests guises, obscurity, and the freedom to pick and create a separate identity. W. Canfield Ave., Detroit (1982) by Nicholas Nixon (American, born 1947) demonstrates this redirection. Aware that he is being photographed, the subject seizes the opportunity to create a hardened expression that conveys him as distant, challenging, and fortified, highlighted by the opposing sentiments of the men who flank him. In return, the audience could be led to believe that this devised pose is a façade behind which a concealed and genuine identity exists. 

In Focus: Expressions is on view from May 22 to October 7, 2018 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center. This exhibition is curated by Karen Hellman, assistant curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Image: L to R: Storefront Churches, Buffalo, 1958 - 1961, Milton Rogovin (American, 1909 - 2011). Gelatin silver print. Image: 11 × 10.5 cm (4 5/16 × 4 1/8 in.). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Gift of Dr. John V. and Laura M. Knaus. © Milton Rogovin; Mary, Milwaukee, WI, 2014, Alec Soth (American, born 1969). Inkjet print. Image: 40.1 × 53.5 cm (15 13/16 × 21 1/16 in.). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Gift of Richard Lovett. © Alec Soth/Magnum Photos; W. Canfield Ave., Detroit, 1982, Nicholas Nixon (American, born 1947). Gelatin silver print. Image (irregular): 19.7 × 24.6 cm (7 3/4 × 9 11/16 in.) The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. © Nicholas Nixon


Washington, DC—Nearly 4,000 smuggled artifacts, bought by Hobby Lobby, will be returned to Iraq today in a ceremony at the residence of Iraqi ambassador to the U.S., Dr. Fareed Yasseen. Assistant Secretary Thomas Homan, Director of U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement, will transfer custody of the artifacts, including cuneiform tablets and bricks and cylinder seals from ancient Sumerian sites. The Antiquities Coalition will attend the ceremony.

Hobby Lobby, a national chain of arts and crafts stores, purchased thousands of antiquities which were smuggled into the U.S. in violation of Federal law. The Hobby Lobby case highlights the large U.S. market for looted antiquities. This market fuels the international crisis of cultural racketeering—the looting and trafficking of ancient artifacts to fund crime, conflict, and terrorism—which threatens our world heritage and national security.

The not-for-profit Antiquities Coalition is fighting cultural racketeering with consumer education and its #BuyerBeware awareness campaign. The new awareness video, featuring a consumer unknowingly purchasing a piece of looted ancient art online, brings the issue of the illicit trade and its consequences into the homes of everyday people. “The #BuyerBeware campaign is making a huge impact in the Gulf, a growing market for ancient art, licit and illicit,” noted Antiquities Coalition Executive Director Tess Davis. “More than 65,000 views came from the video being shared just in the United Arab Emirates."

"Still, the U.S. remains the world's largest art market,” said Ms. Davis. “American consumers need to understand the dangers of buying antiquities, especially online. If Hobby Lobby, with its great resources, could not guarantee their purchasers were legal and ethical, how can an individual collector? When it comes to antiquities, let the buyer beware."

The Antiquities Coalition unites a diverse group of experts in the fight against cultural racketeering: the illicit trade in antiquities by organized criminals and terrorist organizations. This plunder for profit funds crime and conflict around the world—erasing our past and threatening our future. The Coalition’s innova

proust-2.jpgParis--It is always a remarkable event when the archives of the great writer appear on the market. On 24 May at Sotheby’s in Paris, there will be a sale of the collection of Marie-Claude Mante, Marcel Proust's great-niece and daughter of the writer's only niece, Suzy. 

After the library of Stéphane Mallarmé* and the collection of Proust's great-great niece, Patricia Mante-Proust*, this sale is a literary red-letter day, once again inviting literature lovers and bibliophiles to see Proust's work in a new light through 70 lots of literary manuscripts, letters and books with envois.

Guardian of the Proustian temple

The adored niece of her writer uncle, whom she saw as a "kind of magician", Suzy Proust (1903-1986) fell heir to a huge literary heritage on her father's death. A cultivated woman and music lover, and a keen reader of La Recherche, she worked throughout her life to perpetuate the memory of the man she affectionately called "Uncle Marcel". 

She retained the main part of his manuscripts, and encouraged the publication of his work and correspondence, though sometimes hiding passages referring to his homosexuality. Though the guardian of the temple, she willingly allowed publishers and researchers to study it, fostering the discovery and publication of whole sections of Proust's early writings, like Jean Santeuil and Contre Sainte-Beuve. 

She wanted her uncle's work to be accessible to as many people as possible, and generously lent the family's collections of books, manuscripts and photographs to numerous exhibitions throughout the world. In the early 1960s, she sold many exceptional manuscripts she inherited to the Bibliothèque nationale, and instructed Gallimard to publish À la recherche du temps perdu in paperback. 

On her death in 1986, her three children shared the documents she had not sold to the Bibliothèque nationale and others, including her uncle's letters and books, which then appeared on the market.

A literary adventure

Marie-Claude Mante's collection casts fresh light on the work of Marcel Proust as a writer and translator.

One of the most eagerly awaited lots is a large collection of 138 letters from Gaston Gallimard to Marcel Proust (lot 183, estimate: €100,000-150,000). These letters from one of the most prominent 20th century publishers to one of the greatest figures in French literature give us an almost daily picture of Gallimard's editorial strategy and the publication of the Recherche for a decade. Proust carefully kept his letters from Gaston Gallimard, which reveal him in his everyday work as a publisher, and show how keen he was to satisfy Proust.

A rough draft of Swann. The collection also contains a rare draft of a passage from Du côté de chez Swann. This is one of the last rough versions of the novel still in private hands; the rest is now in the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Entitled "Les Sources du Loir à Illiers (lot 160, estimate: €30,000-50,000), this manuscript foreshadows one of the finest passages in Swann: the walk taken on fine days by the young hero of the Recherche on the Guermantes Way, along the Loir as it becomes the Vivonne, whenever he does not take Swann's Way in cloudier weather.

Another fine group is devoted to the translation of Ruskin's Sesame and Lilies. In a rough draft of one of his famous footnotes (lot 153, estimate: €10,000-15,000), Proust explains the purpose of these notes, and describes his disagreements with Ruskin.

A decidedly iconoclastic translator, he also pastiches the author in a first edition of his translation of Sesame and Lilies, which he dedicated to Jean Sardou (lot 154, estimate: €7,000-10,000). He plays around for three pages writing an "excerpt from Ruskin" to his friend, where he imagines a commentary by Ruskin on a Turner painting, the chief subject being Jean Sardou himself. Hitherto unpublished, this pastiche is one of the discoveries in this catalogue.

Two remarkable unpublished proofs, one entirely handwritten, for À l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs, provide fascinating information that sheds light on the novel. With impulsively penned crossings-out and corrections, this galley shows the author writing on the spur of the moment, and all his successive changes of mind. In 1914, after the publication of Du côté de chez Swann in 1913, Grasset had begun that of À l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs, but this was delayed by the war. Proust used the time to correct his text in the printed proofs, revising and adding to it considerably. À l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs was awarded the Prix Goncourt, and Proust soon suggested publishing a deluxe edition of the novel, perhaps for financial reasons (lots 181 and 182; estimates: €15,000-20,000 and €10,000-15,000).

Between love and friendship

In his correspondence, a group of 10 letters stands out, written by Proust to his first great love, Reynaldo Hahn, a popular composer at Paris salons. Their relationship rapidly took on a passionate note, and Proust even included him as a character in Jean Santeuil. "I want you to be here all the time, "he wrote to Hahn in an autograph letter of late March 1896, "but as a god in disguise, whom no mortal would recognise." (lot 142, estimate: €7,000 -10,000).

In an amusing pen drawing, Marcel Proust also drew a portrait of Reynaldo Hahn (lot 156, estimate: €7,000-10,000). The composer is also present through a copy of Plaisirs et Les Jours, which he dedicated to Pierre Loti (lot 144, estimate: €8,000-12,000).

Letters from Reynaldo Hahn to Proust are very rare: nine of those kept by Proust are presented in this collection (lot 141, estimate: €10,000-15,000).

In 1908, Marcel Proust met a young writer in Cabourg, Max Daireaux, who became one of his loyal friends. The collection includes a group of 10 signed autograph letters (lot 165, estimate: €20,000-30,000) in which he writes a lot of pleasant banter, dotted with advice for the man thirteen years his younger. An autograph letter of 1913 (lot 175, estimate: €5,000-8,000) shows a meticulous Proust asking his friend, a qualified civil engineer, to confirm the scientific accuracy of certain descriptions while he was revising the proofs of Swann.

Friendship and admiration are also evident in the 17 books dedicated to Proust by Robert de Montesquiou, Maurice Maeterlinck, Léon Daudet and, more surprisingly, writers of the younger generation: the Surrealists André Breton and Philippe Soupault dedicated their Champs Magnétiques to him (lot 186, estimate: €10,000-15,000) and Blaise Cendrars Du monde entier (lot 184, estimate: €3,000-5,000).

The collection ends with the first-time appearance of a moving drawing by Jean-Bernard Eschemann of Marcel Proust on his deathbed (lot 196, estimate: €1,000-1,500). Numerous artists, including Man Ray, came to pay their respects to the dead author, bearing witness to his contemporaries' admiration for him right to the end. 

Designed as a reference work, the richly documented and illustrated catalogue, with a preface by Jean-Yves Tadié, presents all the lots in chronological order, and is a genuine biography of the writer.

Livres et Manuscrits

Auction: 24 May 2018 

Preview: 18, 21, 22 & 23 May


E. Annie Proulx, author of "The Shipping News" and "Brokeback Mountain" will be awarded the 2018 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced today that E. Annie Proulx, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Shipping News” and the short story “Brokeback Mountain,” will receive the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction during the 2018 Library of Congress National Book Festival on Sept. 1.

Hayden selected Proulx as this year’s winner based on the recommendation of a jury of previous winners, distinguished authors and prominent literary critics from around the world. The prize ceremony will take place during the National Book Festival at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

“E. Annie Proulx has given us monumental sagas and keen-eyed, skillfully wrought stories,” Hayden said. “Throughout her writing, she succeeds in capturing the wild, woolly heart of America, from its screwball wit to its every last detail. She is an American original.”

One of the Library of Congress’ most prestigious awards, the annual Prize for American Fiction honors an American literary writer whose body of work is distinguished not only for its mastery of the art but also for its originality of thought and imagination. The award seeks to commend strong, unique, enduring voices that—throughout long, consistently accomplished careers—have told us something new about the American experience.

“This high honor came as a shock to me,” Proulx said. “My writing has examined the lives of unimportant people—poor people plagued with bad luck, financial and personal troubles. They were hill farmers, small town country music groups, hunters and fishermen, immigrants and accordion repairmen, failed newspapermen and fishermen, war veterans and cowhands, closeted rural gays in denial, ranchers, lumbermen, wood-choppers, widows. They were strung across the continent from Newfoundland to Vermont to Louisiana to Wyoming to Michigan to Oregon. Not the kind of characters to be graced with notice by the Library of Congress. And yet somehow it has happened. I want to believe the people in my writing will step up with me to receive this award, for they are as real as history.”

Proulx was born in Connecticut in 1935 and attended Colby College and the University of Vermont. She lives in Port Townsend, Washington. Proulx is the author of eight books, including “The Shipping News,” which received the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the Irish Times International Fiction Prize; and “Postcards,” winner of the PEN/Faulkner award—Proulx was the first woman to win the award.

Proulx’s other honors include the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature, the National Book Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her O. Henry Prize-winning story “Brokeback Mountain,” which originally appeared in The New Yorker, was made into an Academy Award-winning film. Her most recent novel is “Barkskins.”

For more information on the prize, including previous winners, visit

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at, and register creative works of authorship at


DeniseCarbone_01 copy.jpgFormation: A Juried Exhibition of the Guild of Book Workers, featuring 51 works from 46 Guild members, is set to begin its U.S. tour at Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) this June. The jury-selected artists were asked to consider how the act of formation, defined by Merriam-Webster as “an act of giving form or shape to something,” informs their artistic process. The resulting exhibition both honors the Guild’s legacy and celebrates contemporary forms of book art. Works presented in the exhibition include artist’s books, fine bindings, fine press printing, calligraphy, and sculptural books. Formation will run from June 15-October 21 in MCBA’s main gallery, with an opening reception on June 22 from 6-8 pm.

A printed exhibition catalog will accompany Formation, which doubles as the Guild’s triennial members’ exhibition. The catalog, published as a special edition of the Guild of Book Workers’ Journal, includes color photographs and descriptions of each piece, information about the artists, remarks from Guild president Bexx Caswell, and more. Formation’s jury is comprised of book artists and Guild members Coleen Curry, Graham Patten, and Sarah Smith. It was curated by Jackie Scott, who also serves as the Guild’s Exhibitions Chair.

Formation’s tour at MCBA coincides with the Guild of Book Workers’ Standards of Excellence Seminar, which will take place in Minneapolis in October 2018. Following the seminar’s conclusion, the exhibition will then embark on a nationwide tour. Among other institutions, it will stop at the Robert C. Williams Papermaking Museum in Atlanta, GA; UCLA’s Charles E. Young Research Library; the North Bennet Street School in Boston, MA, and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. A complete schedule is available online at

The Guild of Book Workers was founded in 1906 with the hopes of fostering a community of book artists and craftspeople. Some of its founding members include Edith Diehl, W.A. Dwiggins, and Frederic W. Goudy. Today, the Guild has over 900 members, ranging from amateur to professional book artists, conservators, printers, papermakers, librarians, and collectors. It continues to work toward its initial goal of preserving and sustaining the craft of bookmaking through sponsoring exhibitions, organizing educational opportunities, and cultivating a roster of talented artists and craftspeople to carry on the tradition.

As the largest and most comprehensive center of its kind in the nation, Minnesota Center for Book Arts celebrates the book as a vibrant contemporary art form that takes many shapes. From the traditional crafts of papermaking, letterpress printing, and hand bookbinding to experimental artmaking and self-publishing techniques, MCBA supports the limitless creative evolution of book arts through book arts workshops and programming for adults, youth, families, K-12 students, and teachers. MCBA is located in the Open Book building in downtown Minneapolis, alongside partner organizations The Loft Literary Center and Milkweed Editions. To learn more, visit

ImageIn-Between by Denise Carbone (Stratford, NJ). This book is the formation of a variety of ground plant and insect liquors soaked for weeks and their reaction to one another. Lard coats the pages, and images are created with needle piercings and some ink stone rubbing. The pages are Tableau wet strength paper. This unique binding is an accordion fold of handmade paper; the chemise is of Iowa paper.  Photographer: Tim Gurczak


pastedGraphic.pngAn extraordinary pairing of letters from J. R. R. Tolkien to Mary Fairburn, an artist who sent him paintings of several scenes from Lord of the Rings will be auctioned by Boston-based RR Auction. 

Among the two letters is a one-page typed letter from Tolkien on his personal letterhead, dated May 24, 1968, in part: “I think the samples of illustrations you sent me are splendid. They are better pictures in themselves and also show far more attention to the text than any that have yet been submitted to me. My publishers and I decided long ago not to have The Lord of the Rings illustrated, largely for the reasons which I myself dealt with in my lecture ‘On Fairy Stories,’ now included in Tree and Leaf. I should not think of employing Pauline Baynes because, thought she can be quite good at certain points, she cannot rise to anything more noble or awe-inspiring. See, for instance, her ridiculous picture of the dragon…After seeing your specimens I am beginning to change my mind, and I think that an illustrated edition might be a good thing.” 

Also included is a two-page handwritten letter by Tolkien, on personal letterhead, dated October 10, 1968, in part: “I had no idea that your situation was so desperate—and I marvel at your courage in still practising your art. I don’t think your ill fortune (in the matter of the illustrations) is really bound up with mine. It is mainly due to the present situation in the book world. Allen and Unwin have found that ‘The Lord of the Rings’ in any form is now so expensive that any attempt to produce it in a special or more sumptuous form is a failure. It is also subsidiarily due to the fact that the effective partner, Mr. Rayner Unwin, has been abroad on business…I have not been able to get him to come and see the specimens of your work. 

I am reluctantly sending back the pictures I have received. I suppose the 3 drawings that I have not yet seen are also included in your debt? I would beg you to let me see them (they sound most interesting especially The Old Forest). By odd chance Mr. Unwin has just rung me up on business, and I had an opportunity of speaking about you. He was not so decisive as I had expected, & was evidently ready to ‘consider’ an illustrated edition — but he was also clear that black and white illustrations would be much more likely to prove publishable. My experience is that the process of ‘considering’…takes time…I am, of course, a very ’successful’ writer—astonishingly and belatedly, and publishers like to trumpet such things abroad.” He goes on to offer Fairburn a gift of £50, and adds a postscript at the top, signed “J. R. R. T.,” in full: “I can only hope that the ancient proverb (attributed to King Alfred): ‘When the bale is at the highest, then the boot (betterment) is ever highest’ may prove in your case true.” Accompanied by the original mailing envelope addressed in Tolkien’s hand. 

Also includes one of Fairburn’s original Lord of the Rings sketches, showing the castle at Minas Tirith, accomplished in pencil on a white 11.5 x 16.5 sheet. Signed in the lower right corner in pencil, “Fairburn.” 

After having seen various illustrated editions of The Hobbit produced—most not to his liking—Tolkien was understandably weary of would-be illustrators. Just one year before receiving Fairburn’s paintings, Tolkien wrote to his publisher Rayner Unwin, ‘As far as an English edition goes, I myself am not at all anxious for The Lord of the Rings to be illustrated by anybody whether a genius or not.’ There were a handful of artists whose Lord of the Rings-inspired work he did appreciate, but he made a clear distinction between what he liked on artistic merit versus what he believed was fit to accompany text. In the 1947 essay ‘On Fairy Stories’ mentioned in the typed letter, Tolkien explains: ‘However good in themselves, illustrations do little good to fairy-stories. The radical distinction between all art (including drama) that offers a visible presentation and true literature is that…literature works from mind to mind and is thus more progenitive. It is at once more universal and more poignantly particular.’ 

Based on all of Tolkien’s comments and correspondence, this was a strong conviction. However, he was so struck by Fairburn’s work that he did again begin discussions with his publisher about an illustrated edition.

Although that never came to fruition, Fairburn’s illustrations finally saw publication as the basis of HarperCollins’s official Tolkien calendar for 2015.

Several other Tolkien related lots are featured including a unique pairing of Tolkien letters discussing allegories, critics, and characters: "I was particularly pleased that you find allegorical interpretation of The Lord of the Rings unnecessary; it was simply meant to be a history as it appears.”

Among other items to be featured is a James Joyce and Henri Matisse sought-after limited edition jointly signed copy of Ulysses. 

One year after the decade-long ban on publishing Ulysses in the United States was lifted, George Macy of the Limited Edition Club commissioned Henri Matisse to illustrate a deluxe edition of Joyce's masterpiece. While Joyce was excited to have such a prominent artist illustrate his work, he and Macy were somewhat disappointed to find that Matisse did not read the book and based his artwork entirely on Homer's ancient epic The Odyssey. The resulting book, featuring six original soft-ground etchings by Matisse and twenty reproductions of his preliminary drawings, was published in a limited edition of 1500, with all signed by the artist but just the first 250 copies also signed by Joyce.

Also featured is a 1963 1st Edition "Where the Wild Things Are.” First edition, first printing. NY: Harper & Row, 1963. Hardcover with first-issue dust jacket. Wonderfully signed and inscribed on the half-title page in black felt tip, "For Jonathan Ward, Maurice Sendak, Sept. 71," incorporating a fantastic original sketch of Carol, saying, "Hi!" Book condition: VG/VG, with a tiny tear to the dust jacket, minor toning to the spine, wear at spine ends, and a clipped lower corner of the front inner flap. 

This extraordinary book boasts all identifying points for the first edition, including: "Library of Congress catalog card number: 63-21253" on title page; dust jacket price of $3.50; no mention of the Caldecott award; codes 40-80 and 1163 at bottom of front inner flap; three-paragraph blurb about the book on front inner flap; and three-paragraph blurb about the author on the rear inner flap. Bound in the publisher's pictorial white boards and gray cloth, illustrated with Sendak's wraparound drawing of a wild thing, his habitat, and Max's boat, lettered in black. 

The Fine Autographs and Artifacts auction from RR Auction began on April 20 and will conclude on May 9.  More details can be found online at


London--Christie’s is pleased with the results achieved for the palimpsest of a Qur’an copied onto a Christian text, realising £596,790 during the Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds Including Oriental Rugs and Carpets auction, which is still ongoing. As Lot 1 of the sale, this remarkable manuscript dates to the earliest period of Islam. The leaves from these folios derive from an earlier Coptic manuscript containing passages from the Book of Deuteronomy, which is part of the Torah and the Christian Old Testament. It was very probably produced in Egypt, home to the Coptic community, at the time of the Arab conquest. This appears to be the only recorded example of a Qur’an written above a Christian text, and the importance of this manuscript resonates with the historical reality of religious communities in the Near East and as such is an invaluable survival from the earliest centuries of Islam. Christie’s is honoured to have offered it at auction in London.

This remarkable discovery was made with the help of French scholar Dr. Eléonore Cellard, as the folios are in fact a palimpsest, a manuscript from which the first writing has been effaced so that the vellum could be reused. Beneath the Arabic script an original Coptic text may clearly be seen. The Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds Including Oriental Rugs and Carpets sale continues.

Dr. Eléonore Cellard, Postdoctoral fellowship at Collège de France, Paris: “This is a very important discovery for the history of the Qur’an and early Islam. We have here a witness of cultural interactions between different religious communities.” 

Eleonore Cellard is attached to the College de France, a leading academic institution based in Paris. She works under the supervision of Prof Déroche, the leading expert in the field of early Islamic scripts and early Islamic codicology. 

Qur’anic palimpsests are extremely rare and only a handful are known:

1. Two leaves from a 7th century Hijazi Qur’an, sold at Christie’s, London, 8 April 2008, lot 20 (sold £2,484,500) and 01 May 2001, lot 12 (sold for £163,250). The Qur’anic text is copied above an earlier version of the Qur’an.

2. The late 7th/early 8th century Mingana-Lewis Palimpsest (MS Or.1287) at the Cambridge University Library. The Hijazi script has been erased and the leaves were used for a 9th/10th century codex of Christian Arabic homilies produced in Palestine. The palimpsest was acquired by Agnes Smith Lewis in Suez in 1895.

3. A leaf from a 7th century Hijazi Qur’an in San’a (Masahif San’a, exhibition catalogue, Kuwait, 1983, cat.4, p.59). The surviving Qur’anic text is copied above an earlier version of the Qur’an. 

4. The present folios, dating from the 8th century. 


Top of Release.jpgNew York - Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs will exhibit iconic images from the history of photography at TEFAF New York on May 4-8, 2018, at the Park Avenue Armory. The photographs highlight developments in the medium through the experiments and masterworks of nineteenth-century photographers, and in works by more recent and contemporary artists. On view will be work by William Henry Fox Talbot, Gustave Le Gray, Lewis Carroll, Eugène Atget, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Adam Fuss, and others.

In the early 1840s, William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877) placed a piece of lace in contact with photographically-sensitized paper to produce a boldly graphic image. When he first held it in front of a group of people, they thought it was an actual piece of lace and were stunned to learn that it was a photographic representation instead. This provided Talbot with an early method of demonstrating the power of photography to capture detail comparable to the best Dutch painters. A fine salt print, Black Lace, early 1840s, will be on display.

Since the 1970s, Hiroshi Sugimoto (b. 1948) has used photography to investigate how visual representation interrogates history. Working with an even earlier Talbot negative, Sugimoto’s toned gelatin silver print, Photogenic Drawing 008, Lace, c. 1839, 2008, greatly enlarges and interprets Talbot’s original photogenic drawing negative Lace, circa 1839. This is part of an inspired series in which Sugimoto created work from negatives Talbot had never printed.

A striking ocean view by Gustave Le Gray (1820-1884), La Vague Brisée, Mer Mediterranée (The Breaking Wave), an albumen print from a collodion negative, 1857, is one in a series of poetic and meditative seascapes made in Normandy and the Mediterranean that brought the photographer international acclaim for technical and artistic achievement. Here, Le Gray shows nature’s elements while simultaneously capturing motion in a tableau of sky, wind-filled sailboats racing across the horizon, and waves crashing against the rocks. Of this series of views, the dramatic and dynamic La Vague Brisée is Le Gray's only vertical composition. The photograph was very popular in its day, and is one of only three images for which he filed for copyright with the French Ministry of the Interior. The seascapes Le Gray created between 1856 and 1858 are the works for which he is most celebrated. 

The exhibition includes a rare 1862 albumen print from a glass negative, circa 1856, by pioneering neurologist and physiologist Duchenne de Boulogne (1806-1875), the first scientist to explain that facial expressions were connected to human emotions through discrete muscle actions. The results of Duchenne’s experiments and collaboration with photographer Adrien Tournachon, illustrated in Mécanisme de la physionomie humaine, occupy a distinct place at the intersection of art and science. 

Louis Robert (1810-1882) was raised at the royal porcelain factory at Sèvres. He was the head of the glass-painting atelier from 1848-1871. Robert was among the earliest French artists to take up photography. His still lifes of the Sèvres factory’s products, including a coated salt print of Vase de la Guerre (vase Mansart), Sèvres, were made to display these accomplishments at the Exposition Universelle of 1855.

Vernon Heath (1819-1895) likely began making carbon enlargements from smaller, older negatives in the 1870s. At the 1878 Exposition Universelle in Paris, Heath was awarded a gold medal for his large carbon print enlargements, such as Burnham Beeches. Heath became well known for his collodion portraits of the Royal Family, members of the Court, and other important personages. From 1857 to 1865 Heath contributed regularly to photographic exhibitions and his views of Burnham Beeches were considered some of the finest photographs of the time.

Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs will be exhibiting at TEFAF New York from May 4-8, 2018, in Stand 22. The telephone number at the stand is +1 917 273 4609.


Screen Shot 2018-05-01 at 9.07.24 AM.pngNew York — Handwriting works magic: it transports us back to defining moments in history, creativity, and everyday life and connects us intimately with the people who marked the page. For nearly half a century, Brazilian author and publisher Pedro Corrêa do Lago has been assembling one of the most comprehensive collections of its kind, acquiring thousands of handwritten letters, manuscripts, and musical compositions as well as inscribed photographs, drawings, and documents.

Opening on June 1, The Magic of Handwriting: The Pedro Corrêa do Lago Collection features 140 items from his important holdings, few of which have ever been publicly exhibited. Among the items on view will be letters by Lucrezia Borgia, Vincent van Gogh, and Emily Dickinson; annotated sketches by Michelangelo, Jean Cocteau, and Charlie Chaplin; and manuscripts by Giacomo Puccini, Jorge Luis Borges, and Marcel Proust. The show runs through September 16.

From an 1153 document signed by four medieval popes to a 2006 thumbprint signature of physicist Stephen Hawking, the items on view convey the power of handwriting to connect us with writers, artists, composers, political figures, performers, scientists, philosophers, rebels, and others whose actions and creations have made them legends. 

“In this digital age there is a remarkable pleasure in engaging with works that were penned by hand,” said Colin B. Bailey, director of the Morgan Library & Museum. “Pedro Corrêa do Lago shares the passion of the Morgan’s founder, John Pierpont Morgan, for collecting letters and manuscripts that bear the handwriting of some of the most influential figures in Western history and culture. The Morgan is grateful for his generosity in sharing some of the finest pieces fromhis extraordinary collection.”

"From the time I was very young, I have derived enormous pleasure from collecting autographs, which serve as tangible links that defy the passage of time," said Mr. Corrêa do Lago. "I am thrilled to be able to share some of the manuscripts and letters that have brought me such joy—and to do so within the library formed by one of the greatest of American autograph collectors."



The exhibition’s title is drawn from a letter of the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig, one of the notable autograph collectors of the twentieth century, who once begged Rainer Maria Rilke for a precious gift: the manuscript of one of Rilke’s own poems. “I realize it is a lot to ask,” Zweig told his friend, “for I know the magic of handwriting well, and I know that the gift of a manuscript is also the gift of a secret—a secret that unveils itself only for love.”

Pedro Corrêa do Lago is an autograph collector very much in the tradition of John Pierpont Morgan and Stefan Zweig. The son of a Brazilian diplomat, he started collecting at the age of twelve, when he began sending letters to prominent people to solicit their autographs. Over time, his ambitions grew. Rather than focusing on a single figure, era, or subject, he made the unusual decision to seek significant examples in six broad areas of human endeavor—art, history, literature, science, music, and entertainment—spanning several centuries. This is the first major exhibition drawn from his collection.

Every item in the exhibition bears the handwriting of its illustrious author or subject. Many are personal letters sent to friends, collaborators, or associates, touching on everything from private matters to events of international consequence. Some are manuscripts of works in progress, providing hints of the authors’ creative process. Others are photographs or sketches inscribed to friends or admirers, often with messages that convey important personal or professional ties.


The items on view span more than four centuries and include examples of the handwriting of some of the leading artists in modern Western history, including Benvenuto Cellini, Peter Paul Rubens, J. M. W. Turner, Auguste Rodin, Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, and Frida Kahlo. The earliest work on view in this section is a small, hitherto unpublished block drawing with notes by Michelangelo, dated ca. 1518, ordering marble for his first major architectural commission, the facade of San Lorenzo in Florence. More than four hundred years later, in 1949, Henri Matisse wrote a note to his friend Albert Skira, the Swiss art publisher, filling more than half the page with a crayon sketch, thus turning a personal letter into an intimate work of art.

One of the most revealing items is an 1889 letter from Paul Gauguin (which has never been published in its entirety) about one of the most tragic personal moments in the history of art: the severe breakdown his friend van Gogh suffered in December 1888, during which he famously mutilated his left ear. “I was supposed to spend a year in the south working with a painter friend,” Gauguin writes. “Unfortunately that friend went stark raving mad and for a month I had to endure all sorts of fears of a fatal and tragic accident...” Like the Gauguin letter, many items illuminate important artistic relationships—for example, those of Edgar Degas and Berthe Morisot, Pablo Picasso and Sergei Diaghilev, and Frank Lloyd Wright and Lewis Mumford. Together these letters and documents provide strikingly personal insights into artists’ lives, creations, and personal and professional connections. 


From the accession of England’s Elizabeth I in 1558 to the rise of Fidel Castro in Cuba in 1959, the items on view also highlight key historical moments and memorable figures such as Mary, Queen of Scots,Simón Bolívar, Benjamin Franklin, Sun Yat-sen, and Leon Trotsky. Signed and inscribed photographs capture some of history’s famous faces, including Sitting Bull, Abraham Lincoln, Rasputin, and Emiliano Zapata.

Early letters document the personal and political relationships of Western Europe’s monarchs and scions. In 1502, Lucrezia Borgia, the legendary Renaissance noblewoman, writes a letter to her new brother-in-law during her lavish wedding procession from Rome to Ferrara. A few decades later, Henry VIII communicates with Francis I, King of France, about negotiations for peace with Emperor Charles V. In 1788, Marie Antoinette sends a graceful letter to congratulate her sister and brother-in-law on the birth of their latest child; within a year her life would be upended with the storming of the Bastille and the dawn of the French Revolution.

Twentieth-century historical letters bring to life moments and relationships of great poignancy and drama. In 1917, the Dutch-born dancer known as Mata Hari writes a desperate plea from prison after being arrested on charges of espionage. In 1947—less than a year before he was murdered—Gandhi declares that he must remain focused on prayer and reconciliation even though “The odds are so great that the fire may quench me, instead of my quenching it.” At the age of eighty, his handwriting shaky after a recent stroke, Winston Churchill sends a letter to Pamela, Lady Lytton, his first great love, saying, “I am getting older now the trappings of power & responsibility have fallen away, and I totter along in the shades of retirement.”

The most recent historical document on view is a typewritten page of a draft of Alex Haley’s powerful interview with Malcolm X, published in a 1963 issue of Playboy. Malcolm X compares the United States to South Africa, saying “The only difference is over there they preach and practice apartheid. America preaches freedom and practices slavery. America preaches integration and practices segregation.” His bold signature at the bottom of the page indicates his approval of the interview transcript.


Whether through manuscripts, letters, or handwritten notes and other ephemera, this section features such celebrated authors as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Lewis Carroll, Machado de Assis, and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. A highlight is an important handwritten draft of the opening paragraph of one of literature’s greatest masterpieces: Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time (À la recherche du temps perdu). With significant differences from the text that was ultimately published in 1913, it reveals key decisions Proust made as he was revising what went on to become one of the most enduring works of the modern era.

The exhibition also displays the only surviving manuscript of a twentieth-century cult classic—“The Library of Babel” (La Biblioteca de Babel), a story by the Argentinean author Jorge Luis Borges—and a forty-page manuscript of a play by Lope de Vega, the great Spanish dramatist of the so-called Golden Century, written in 1619 but unpublished until 1985, when it surfaced in a Brazilian private collection.

Extraordinary personal communications in the show include one of only two known surviving letters from Oscar Wilde, author of The Picture of Dorian Gray, to Bram Stoker, author of Dracula; an extravagantly complimentary letter from Gustave Flaubert to Victor Hugo, his “dear master”; and a charming letter from twelve-year-old Ernest Hemingway asking his father if they might go see the Chicago Cubs play that weekend (“it will be a dandy game”). In 1871, Emily Dickinson writes to a friend in her unusual rhythmic script: “To be remembered is next to being loved, and to be loved is Heaven, and is this quite Earth? I have never found it so.” Her letter is a reminder that handwritten letters provide a powerful means of remembrance of those living and dead.

Science and Philosophy

Three of history’s most brilliant physicists—Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and Stephen Hawking—stand side by side in this section: Newton (who famously claimed to have conceived his universal law of gravitation while watching an apple drop) draws and annotates his own family tree; Einstein works out mathematical equations as he seeks a “theory of everything”; and Hawking signs a copy of his bestselling 1993 book A Brief History of Time by marking it with his thumbprint—now the symbol of the foundation that bears his name and supports people living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Other items that suggest scientists are always in dialogue with one another include, for instance, an 1845 letter in which the computer science pioneer Ada Lovelace comments on two of the scientific blockbusters of her age decade: Alexander von Humboldt’s Cosmos and the anonymously published Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation. In 1871, Charles Darwin, writing to a colleague with whom he had significant scientific disagreements about his Theory of Evolution, says, “I always console myself with thinking that I have done my best.” 

From a 1516 letter of Niccolò Machiavelli to a 1951 letter from Ludwig Wittgenstein (likely the last one he wrote before his death at the age of sixty-two), the exhibition features examples of the handwriting of key figures in Western philosophy, including Immanuel Kant, Adam Smith, and Karl Marx. An intriguing item from the French Enlightenment is a handwritten page from Louise Dupin’s unfinished treatise on the history of women from classical to modern times. She addresses an enduring sexual double standard: how can society reconcile its expectations that men seduce multiple women (and take pride in their conquest) and that women resist all but a single lover? The sheet is written in the hand of her research assistant, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who had yet to write his own celebrated works.

Music and Performing Arts

Representing a remarkable variety of major figures in the history of music and entertainment, the items on view range from examples of the handwriting of Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig von Beethoven to a signed sketch of dancer Vaslav Nijinsky by Jean Cocteau. In a spirited letter from twenty-two-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to his father, Leopold (signed warmly “I kiss your hands a thousand times and hug my sister with all my heart”), the young composer ventures to make his own decisions regarding his musical career rather than following his father’s strict instructions.

An extremely messy draft page for The Girl of the Golden West (La Fanciulla del West) reveals the energy with which Giacomo Puccini composed, and a manuscript of “No More Blues” (Chega de saudade) by the Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim is a delightful record of the song that launched the bossa nova sound during the 1950s.

Finally, inscribed photographs of some of the greatest of twentieth-century entertainers—Josephine Baker, Billie Holiday, the Marx Brothers, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and the Beatles—are reminders of our pervasive desire to capture and retain a physical trace of the people whose work we value. Their handwriting and signatures serve as echoes of their presence.


The accompanying catalogue, The Magic of Handwriting: The Pedro Corrêa do Lago Collection, published by TASCHEN, is authored by Christine Nelson, the Morgan’s Drue Heinz Curator of Literary and Historical Manuscripts. It includes more than 150 illustrations of the items in the exhibition and contains a foreword by Colin B. Bailey, preface by the artist Vik Muniz, and essays by Christine Nelson, Declan Kiely, and Pedro Corrêa do Lago.

Public Programs


Handwriting Is Not Dead: A Conversation with Collector Pedro Corrêa do Lago Pedro Corrêa do Lago has built one of the world’s most compelling collections of letters and manuscripts. What draws him—and us—to a personal letter from Emily Dickinson, a psychoanalysis bill penned by Freud, or an inscrutable note from Rasputin? Corrêa do Lago joins Christine Nelson, the Morgan’s Drue Heinz Curator of Literary and Historical Manuscripts, for a lively discussion about the lure of handwriting and the joy of collecting.

Thursday, May 31, 6:30 pm*

Tickets: $15; free for members and students with a valid ID. 

* The exhibition The Magic of Handwriting: The Pedro Corrêa do Lago Collection will be open at 5:30 pm for program attendees.


The Magic of Handwriting: The Pedro Corrêa do Lago Collection

Christine Nelson, Drue Heinz Curator of Literary and Historical Manuscripts

Friday, June 8, 6 pm

Friday, July 6, 1 pm

Tickets: All gallery talks and tours are free with museum admission; no tickets or reservations necessary. Please note that tours are subject to cancellation or change without notice.

Auction Guide