February 2019 Archives

138.jpgFalls Church, Virginia - A letter written by Abraham Lincoln in the early days of the Civil War, a document from 1793 signed by Washington and Jefferson; and a rare first-edition copy of Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) are a few of the highlight lots in a February 28 auction to be hosted by the Waverly Rare Books division of Quinn’s Auction Galleries. Start time is 6 p.m. Eastern, and all forms of bidding will be available, including absentee, phone and live LiveAuctioneers.

The one-page Lincoln letter, framed and handwritten on Executive Mansion stationery, was penned on June 10, 1861, just two months after the firing on Fort Sumter. Lincoln writes to Captain John Adolphus Dahlgren (1809-1870), asking about the possible government purchase of a new gun. He signs it, “Yours truly, A. Lincoln.” The letter should command $6,000-$8,000.

The 1793 document, signed by George Washington as President and Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State, regards the appointment of Thomas Benbury to “Inspector of the Revenue for Survey Number Two in the District of North Carolina,” just a week before Benbury’s death. Affixed with the Seal of the United States and nicely framed, the document has an estimate of $5,000-$7,000.

The first-edition, first-printing copy of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s classic book Uncle Tom’s Cabin (or, Life Among the Lowly), is expected to reach $3,000-$5,000. Published in 1852 by John P. Jewett & Co. (Cleveland, Ohio), the book includes several anomalies (example: it says “cathecism” rather than “catechism”). It has a modern, tan leather binding, with the book’s title on the spine.

Also among books pertaining to Black Americana and slavery, a first-edition copy of Frederick Douglass’s My Bondage and My Freedom (Miller, Orton & Mulligan, 1855), should knock down $800-$1,200. With an introduction by Dr. James McCune Smith, the book shows the ownership inscription of Mrs. Mary Huntington (Mexico, N.Y.) and is dated 1855.

Items pertaining to the Kennedys seem to hold endless fascination for collectors. A 1961 inaugural-edition hardback copy of John F. Kennedy’s best-selling book Profiles in Courage (Harper & Brothers, N.Y.), with dust jacket, carries a pre-sale estimate of $400-$600. The book is inscribed: “For Betty Osborn - with every good wish,” possibly written by JFK’s secretary.

Jackie Kennedy memorabilia often has more value than items directly connected to JFK, as is the case with her black lace mantilla (or head scarf), which is expected to realize $1,000-$2,000. The 60-inch by 23-inch mantilla is from the collection of Mary B. Gallagher, Jackie’s personal secretary, secretary to John F. Kennedy when he was a U.S. Senator, and the author of My Life with Jacqueline Kennedy. 

A pair of Confederate Civil War diaries is being offered as one lot, with an estimate of $1,000-$2,000. One, from 1862, is presumed to be that of Private John Carpenter, who writes with clarity and immediacy about the battles of Fredericksburg, Antietam and Pickett’s Brigade. The other one, from 1865, is from Private H.H. Ewbank and contains notes about the post-war period.

A first-edition copy of The Gospel According to Saint John, one of 2,000 copies printed by the British and Foreign Bible Society (London, 1804), with text in English and Mohawk on facing pages, should fetch $800-$1,200. According to the book, “The translator was a young educated Mohawk named Teyoninhokarawen, commonly called John Norton.” 

A Ronald Reagan briefing sheet, signed by Reagan and dated August 11, 1988, is expected to make $200-$400. The matted sheet measures 24 inches by 18 inches and reads, “START: Are we better off with a START agreement?” Below that Reagan inscribes, “Yes. Ronald Reagan.” From the Reagan Foundation’s diary entry: “A fruitful meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”

One lot containing more than 40 photographs from the Secret Service archives carries a pre-sale estimate of $200-$400. The photos are of historical luminaries including Presidents Jimmy Carter, Calvin Coolidge, Dwight Eisenhower, Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and Harry Truman.

The Feb. 28, 2019 Presidential & Americana Auction will be held at Quinn’s gallery, 360 S. Washington St., Falls Church, Virginia. Bid live at the gallery, by phone, absentee, or live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers. For preview hours, please consult the company’s website, www.quinnsauction.com. The gallery is closed on Sundays.

For additional information about any item, please call 703-532-5632, extension 575; or e-mail waverly@quinnsauction.com. View the online catalog and register to bid absentee or live online, at LiveAuctioneers.com. Visit Quinn’s and Waverly’s online at: http://www.quinnsauction.com

Image: Lot 138, First-edition, first-printing copy of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin (or, Life Among the Lowly), published in 1852 by John P. Jewett & Co. (Cleveland, Ohio), est. $3,000-$5,000

Boston Athenaeum Announces Expansion

4th floor_LongRoom-Rendering w label.jpgBoston—The Boston Athenæum, a distinguished and vibrant independent library and cultural institution, announces its expansion via a long-term lease of 19,400 square feet in an adjacent building at 14 Beacon Street.

The lease will provide the Athenæum’s historic and contemporary collections with room to flourish, while better serving patrons and simplifying staff workflows. It will:

  • restore much-needed space for library members in the peaceful, architecturally-significant reading rooms at 10 ½ Beacon Street, while enhancing acoustics and accessibility;
  • add shelves for the continually-growing library of more than half a million items in the circulating library;
  • increase and improve spaces for events, discussion groups, visitors, and rentals;
  • create connected workspaces for cataloging, conserving, digitizing, curating, and teaching with the special collections, comprising more than 100,000 rare books, manuscripts, artworks and other materials; and
  • connect floorplates in the two buildings to facilitate open circulation between patron and staff spaces in both 10 ½ Beacon and 14 Beacon, a move that will foster collaboration and innovation to serve patrons better.

“The board has long known of the need for additional space to care for our library’s valuable and ever-expanding holdings,” says John S. Reed, president of the Athenæum’s Board of Trustees. “We looked at a range of options for responsible growth over time, including moving collections off-site—a prospect soundly rejected by our members. After months of careful deliberation, we are happy to have identified a practical, cost-effective solution right next door.”

“Contiguous space has become available only a handful of times in the last century,” Reed says. “We appreciate the singular opportunity to enter into a long-term lease with Faros Properties. They appreciate the Athenæum’s mission of engaging people who seek knowledge, and stewarding our library full of treasures. They understand the importance of this historic library to the city of Boston.”

The two-year project is advancing with an experienced team: owner’s project managers Smith+St. John; the architecture firm of Schwartz/Silver, known for its award-winning designs for libraries, museums, and historically-significant structures; and Windover Construction of Beverly, MA, a construction management firm with expertise in historic renovation and preservation for museum, cultural, academic, and institutional clients.

“The expansion will benefit Athenæum members and staff, and it will also serve those in the scholarly community who will come to conduct research,” says Creelea Pangaro, a vice president of the Board. “We will be able to move employees out of improvised workspaces that developed over time in the architecturally-significant rooms at 10½ Beacon, and into connected, efficiently-organized offices at number 14. We will be renovating 2,000 square feet of space for storing our special collections. Most significantly, the move will free up more than 4,000 square feet in the one-of-a-kind library environment for the use of the library’s devoted members, who come to read, think, write, and gather together for discussions and events.”

Additionally, members and visitors will find improved first-floor facilities for visiting, reading, and attending lectures and concerts. Beautiful, rentable meeting and social spaces will be made available to the Boston community during times when members are not using them for discussion groups, book talks, and other activities.

This year marks the Athenæum’s 170th anniversary at 10½ Beacon Street, an edifice that was named a National Historic Landmark in 1966. The library has undergone renovations frequently through its history, to accommodate the rapid growth of the collections, fire-proof the building, and install modern climate control, security, and accessibility elements. Partial expansion into the basement and first floor of 14 Beacon was completed in 2002; before that, the last major space expansion took place in 1914-15 with the addition of two additional levels, the fourth and fifth floors, to the original structure.

“The Athenæum is a breathtaking special resource—for its members, our neighbors in Boston, and scholars from around the world,” Pangaro says. “Over many decades, the spaces and activities within its walls have evolved to meet the needs of library patrons—some changing, and others constant. We’re proud to announce a thoughtful expansion that will build on the library’s legacy and demonstrate our investment in its continuation and betterment, far into the future.”

For additional information and visuals, including periodic progress reports, visit the Boston Athenæum online or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Image: Rendering of the renovated fourth floor. 

Lux Mentis - higher res req.jpegNew York—The beloved New York International Antiquarian Book Fair (NYIABF) produced by Sanford L. Smith + Associates returns to the Park Avenue Armory for its 59th edition March 7-10, 2019. A mecca for bibliophiles and seekers of the curious and quirky, the fair will present a vast treasure trove of material - rare books, maps, illuminated manuscripts, incunabula, fine bindings, illustrations, historical documents and print ephemera.

The Book Fair, widely considered the finest antiquarian book fair in the world, has been a must-see event for seasoned connoisseurs and scholars. In recent years, it has increasingly captivated young collectors with unique offerings at accessible price points. The specialties encompass art, science, medicine, literature, history, culinary culture, fashion, first editions, Americana, philosophy, children’s books and much more. From the historic and academic, to the religious and spiritual, to the bedrock of secular culture - sex, lies, rock-n-roll, money, politics - the fair has offerings in every conceivable genre and subject. NYIABF is officially sanctioned by Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA) and International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB).

In its 59th edition, NYIABF will present more than 200 exhibitors culled from the finest American and international antiquarian dealers. In addition to 102 U.S. galleries, NYIABF enjoys strong international participation with galleries hailing from the United Kingdom (38), France (19), Germany (10), Italy (11), The Netherlands (6), Spain (1), Denmark (2), Australia (3), Austria (4), Argentina (3), Canada (2), Japan (2), Belgium (2), Czech Republic (1), and Switzerland (5).

Image: Credit Timothy Ely. Courtesy of Lux Mentis Booksellers.

 

gclmmjkibimagdod.jpgNew York-Swann Galleries’ March 5 auction boasts property from the Ismar Littmann Family Collection, a 160-lot offering of German Expressionism and European Avant-Garde. The afternoon session of 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings features an array of works from notable Modern, nineteenth-century and American artists.

Compiled in a separate catalogue, the Littmann offering celebrates a singular collector. Ismar Littmann began collecting in the 1910s, and his habits and tastes were individual and contemporary to the time-a parallel to the independent spirit of the Breslau art scene. The personal relationships he held with the artists, particularly Otto Mueller, had a deep influence on him and resulted in a collection with depth and insight, consisting of not only works of art, but correspondence between the collector and artists. By the end of the 1920s Littmann had acquired more than 6,000 works. The Nazis’ rise to power put a strain on the collector’s livelihood as well as art patronage, and much of the collection was lost or destroyed. Littmann’s combined financial and personal losses, as well as the overwhelming persecution of his faith and culture, led him to commit suicide in September of 1934. Littmann’s eldest son was able to immigrate to the United States with a portion of the family collection that same year. These works, along with additional pieces sent later, have since remained with the family. Swann Galleries is very pleased and honored to have been trusted with the historic offering.  

Notable lots include Otto Mueller’s color lithographs from 1926-27, Zwei Zigeunerinnen (Zigeunermutter mit Tochter) and Lagernde Zigeunerfamilie mit Ziege which are expected to bring $25,000 to $35,000 and $30,000 to $50,000, respectively. Max Pechstein’s portfolio of 50 lithographs, Reisebilder: Italien-Sudsee, 1919, depicting scenes from Italy and Germany (Estimate: $25,000-35,000), as well as the watercolor Russisches Ballet, 1912, and a woodcut, Sommer I, 1912, are among the highlights ($15,000-20,000 and $10,000-15,000, respectively). Further works include Allee im Tiergarten, Berlin, circa 1920, a color pastel depiction of an urban landscape by Lesser Ury, and a Nicolas Ghika oil on canvas, Intérieur avec chevalet d’artiste, circa 1920s, that portrays the artist’s studio. Both are estimated at $50,000 to $80,000. 

The afternoon session following the Littmann Collection offers a broad selection of high-end prints and drawings. The top lot is Edvard Munch’s Kyss IV, 1902-a first-state woodblock print based on the artist’s oil painting of the same title. Only six other impressions of Kyss IV have come to auction in the past 30 years ($150,000-250,000). Additional works by Modern masters include Sonia Delaunay’s color pochoir and watercolor illustration of Blaise Cendrars’ poem La Prose du Transsibérien et de la petite Jehanne de France, 1913, which explored the frustrated yet wonderous experience of living through a period of ever-accelerating modernity ($70,000-100,000); Natura Morta con Cinque Oggetti, 1956, a still-life etching by Giorgio Morandi ($30,000-50,000); and Joan Miró’s  La Permissionaire, 1974, ($40,000-60,000).

Nineteenth-century stalwarts include artist-friends (and rivals) Paul Gaugin and Vincent van Gogh, with remarkable works on paper: Noa Noa, 1893-94, a superb color woodcut by Gaugin, is estimated at $40,000 to $60,000, and Van Gogh’s Homme à la Pipe: Portrait du Docteur Gachet, 1890, the artist’s only known etching, comes across the block at $80,000 to $120,000. William Blake’s Illustrations of the Book of Job, 1826, complete with 22 engravings, is expected to bring $30,000 to $50,000.   

Highlights from the American section include Winslow Homer’s Mending the Tears, 1888­-a line-based etching of rural women darning a fishing net ($10,000-15,000). Martin Lewis’s quintessential New York drypoint Rain on Murray Hill, 1928, displays the artist’s mastery of depicting nocturnal and atmospheric conditions ($15,000-20,000). Works by Thomas Hart Benton, Childe Hassam, and Joseph Pennell ensure a standout selection.   

Exhibition opening in New York City February 28. The complete catalogue and bidding information is available at www.swanngalleries.com and on the Swann Galleries’ App.

Additional highlights can be found here.

Image: Lot 112: Otto Mueller, Lagernde Zigeunerfamilie mit Ziege, color lithograph, 1926-27. From the Ismar Littmann Family Collection. Estimate $30,000 to $50,000.

Talbot_RooflineLacock_sharpened_PR 2.jpgNew York - Photography on paper was born in 1839 in England at Lacock Abbey. A new exhibition of photographs juxtaposes the work of its inventor William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1877) with the contemporary work of Hiroshi Sugimoto, Abelardo Morell, and Mike Robinson. Lacock Abbey: Birthplace of Photography on Paper will be on view at Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs from March 2 through May 10, 2019. The exhibition, which pays tribute to Talbot’s beloved ancestral home in Wiltshire, features architectural exteriors and interiors, still lifes, portraits, and tree studies by Talbot, complemented by interpretations from three contemporary artists, who have been inspired by his pioneering photographs.

Among the highlights of the exhibition is one of the earliest examples of Talbot’s calotype negative process, Stable roofline, northeast courtyard, Lacock Abbey, a salt print from September 1840, made the year after he announced his invention to the world. This apparently unique print has never before been exhibited. (This is confirmed by The William Henry Fox Talbot Catalogue Raisonné, which was just released by the Bodleian Libraries.) Set in Lacock’s northeast courtyard, this spectral image of shows Talbot’s innate compositional talent emphasizing the geometric proportions of his home. 

Talbot demonstrated that photography could serve as a bridge between the ancient and modern worlds with his Bust of Patroclus, 1842. The plaster bust of Patroclus, defender of Achilles, was one of Talbot’s most frequently used subjects. Unlike a person, a plaster cast remains steady during the long exposures and experiments with lighting. This boldly sculpted, highly reflective head modulated light and shadow in an infinite number of ways from a wide variety of angles. Talbot’s brush strokes around the border of this exceptional salt print identify this as an early print coated by hand. Later prints appeared in Talbot’s The Pencil of Nature, the first commercially-published photographically-illustrated book (1844-1846). The print on view was made from the same calotype negative as was later used in The Pencil. Art historians are indebted to Talbot, because his invention allowed scholars to study objects in photographic reproduction.

Also on display is Lace, a fine early 1840s salt print. The negative for this print was made without a camera by placing an intricate piece of lace on a sheet of photographically-sensitized paper, capturing its shadow, and producing the boldly graphic image. When Talbot held Lace in front of a group of people they believed it to be an actual piece of lace and were astounded to learn that it was a photographic representation instead. Physically flat, highly detailed, and possessing myriad distinctive anomalies such as torn threads, Lace was an ideal exemplar of Talbot’s method of demonstrating photography’s ability to record a level of detail comparable to that found in still lifes by the most accomplished Dutch painters. 

Talbot’s home and his interpretations of it have inspired several living artists. Hiroshi Sugimoto (Japanese, b. 1948) renews our sense of the wonder and mystery that accompanied the dawn of photography and pays homage to Talbot in An Oriel Window at Lacock Abbey, probably Summer 1835, a toned gelatin silver print from 2010.  Sugimoto photographed one of Talbot’s earliest photogenic drawing negatives, inverted the image during the production process, and greatly enlarged it, obtaining a positive print of a negative the inventor had never printed.  He then toned the image in colors corresponding to the colors of Talbot’s own prints.  Sugimoto’s creative intervention is a reflection on the medium, implicitly narrating its beginnings while gesturing toward his vision of its future. 

Abelardo Morell (American, b. 1948, Cuba) made his first picture using camera obscura techniques in his darkened living room in 1991. The exhibition includes a print of Camera Obscura: Courtyard Building, Lacock Abbey, England, from 2003, made by the artist partly in homage to Talbot and partly to suggest the ongoing spirit his invention continues to instill in the curiosity and practice of present day artists.

Ironically, the most recent pictures in the show are daguerreotypes made in 2018 by Mike Robinson (Canadian, b. 1961).  He boldly brings his mastery of the French inventor Daguerre’s process to the home of the British inventor of photography on paper. 

A reception for the exhibition is being held on Saturday, March 2nd in conjunction with the first ADAA Upper East Side Gallery Walk.

Image: William Henry Fox Talbot (English, 1800-1877); Stable roofline, northeast courtyard, Lacock Abbey, September 1840; Salt print from a calotype negative, 8.0 x 8.2 cm

ce4673ff640bf7adc4bd70f2_1220x574.jpgNew York-The Morgan Library & Museum announced today the exterior restoration of J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library, designed by McKim, Mead & White. The four-year, $12.5 million project, which marks the first preservation of the landmark library’s exterior in its 112-year history, will restore and conserve one of the finest examples of Neoclassical architecture in the United States, enhance the surrounding grounds, improve the exterior lighting of the building, and increase public access to and appreciation of this historic architectural treasure. 

J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library is the heart of the Morgan Library & Museum. Commissioned in 1902 by financier John Pierpont Morgan as his private library, the building was completed in 1906 and is considered one of McKim, Mead & White’s finest works, perfectly embodying the Renaissance ideal of the unity of the arts through the integration of architecture, sculpture, and painting with exceptional craftsmanship and materials. The structure reflects its contents: majestic in design, yet intimate in scale.

In 2010 the Morgan restored the interior rooms of J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library. In 2016 the Morgan began planning for the exterior restoration by engaging Integrated Conservation Resources (ICR), a firm specializing in the restoration of historic structures, to provide an initial needs assessment of the Library’s condition. Following the needs assessment, the Morgan engaged ICR to undertake a more detailed analysis of the building, which resulted in a fully articulated restoration approach. ICR, supported by the architecture firm Beyer Blinder Belle, carefully studied and documented existing conditions, installed data loggers to monitor the performance of the exterior envelope, tested proposed remediations, and finalized the restoration’s details.

The forthcoming restoration will be comprehensive and will address issues such as masonry deterioration, masonry joint failure, roof conditions, deterioration of the fence and other metalwork corrosion, and sculpture conservation.

In conjunction with the restoration, exterior lighting on J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library—currently minimal and ineffective—will be improved by enhancing existing light emanating from the interior, using historic fixtures coupled with new technologies. The scheme will create a painterly effect of layered light at dusk and dark. Developed by Tillett Lighting Design Associates, the new lighting design will give the Library a subtle, timeless, and inviting presence.

Restoring J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library presents a unique opportunity to reimagine the natural setting around it and to provide for visitor access to the site’s exterior for the first time in the institution’s history. The current landscaping—comprising a simple lawn and trees—does little to complement the architecture of the Library, nor does it provide accessible pathways or spaces to encourage visitor interaction with the landmark building’s exterior. By creating new spaces and opportunities for engagement, the project will help to reinvigorate this portion of the Morgan’s campus, which has been less visible to visitors since the Morgan’s entrance shifted from 36th Street to Madison Avenue as part of the 2006 Renzo Piano-designed expansion.

After an extensive search, the Morgan has engaged Todd Longstaffe-Gowan Landscape Design to develop designs to address these issues. An accomplished landscape architect, historian, teacher, and author, Todd Longstaffe-Gowan has led notable projects in the United Kingdom, including for Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace Gardens, and the Royal College of Art. This is his first appointment in the United States. Longstaffe-Gowan will collaborate with New York-based Future Green Studio to ensure the development of plantings that will flourish in New York City’s dense, challenging environment. 

“Restoring the sublime exterior of J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library is far and away our most important capital project for the next decade,” said Director Colin B. Bailey. “This is our responsibility. And, in many respects, it is our privilege.Once the restoration of the Library is complete and the grounds are revitalized, the public will be able to engage more fully with one of McKim, Mead & White’s most important architectural achievements. The enhanced grounds will create a generous new space for outdoor programming and allow visitors to look closely at the exterior architectural and sculptural details of the Library.”

To date, 74 percent of the required $12.5 million is funded. On-site work will commence in February 2019, directed by Sciame and executed by Nicholson & Galloway, longtime partners in the architectural expansion and stewardship of the Morgan. Restoration of J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library will be completed by December 2019, at which point work will commence on the surrounding grounds.The library will still be open to visitors during the restoration process.The entire restoration and rehabilitation of the grounds will be unveiled to the public and accessible in fall 2020. The unveiling will be accompanied by an exhibition chronicling the history of the Library, as well as a scholarly publication.

Image: Wurts Bros. (New York, N.Y.) Madison Avenue near East 36th Street. J.P. Morgan Library. Museum of the City of New York, X2010.7.1.197.

d85ac479-596f-4459-aa6d-3ba960b0a23e.pngTo celebrate the 145th anniversary of Ernest Shackleton's birth, Jonkers Rare Books are pleased to stage a selling exhibition featuring some of the rarest books about his life and expeditions, as well as items referring to other famous expeditions from the history of Polar exploration. Shackleton was recently voted by the British public as the greatest explorer of the 20th Century in the BBC Icons series.

Jonkers are exhibiting a remarkable collection of books, manuscripts and artwork at their showroom, 27 Hart Street, Henley on Thames, on his birthday, Friday, February 15, 2019, and publishing an accompanying catalogue with full descriptions of the expeditions and the rare items offered. The exhibition will move to the New York Antiquarian Book Fair, March 7-10. All listed items are for sale.

Some books are remarkable for what they have to say about the polar regions, others were actually produced by Shackleton's men in the Antarctic.

Shackleton highlights from the exhibition include:

20 - Aurora Australis The First Book Printed And Bound In Antarctica. A remarkable feat of publishing, book design and determination in the conditions most ill-fitting on the planet for book production.

Three of the expedition's crew were trained in book production by the printers Joseph Causton and Sons in advance of the expedition, who also donated the expedition a print press. But little could prepare them for the problems they would face. A candle had to be kept under the ink to prevent it from freezing, and only a page or two could be produced per day throughout the winter. The finished product, a book of incredible beauty and a testament to the perseverance of the Antarctic explorers who produced it, is the holy grail of Antarctic books. This copy is one of only a few signed by Shackleton, and it is priced at £150,000.

21 - Shackleton's Antarctic Menu. How Shackleton's Men Celebrated Midwinter. The other item printed on Shackleton's printing press in the Antarctic is this very rare menu, which was set around the table for the expedition's Midwinter Feast of 1908. The feast was, according to Shackleton himself, "a release, and an occasion for a wild spree." This tongue in cheek menu captures the high-spirits of the occasion. It proposes a starter of Turtle Soup, followed by Penguin Patties and Seal Cutlets. The pièce de résistance was Roast Reindeer and Black Currant Jelly with a garnish of Potatoes and Green Peas. Dessert was a selection of Plum Pudding, Ealing Cake and Mince Pies. Champagne and whisky are prescribed throughout, followed by Coffee, Cigars and Cigarettes. A 'drunk' typesetter then proposed yet "MORE WHISHKY!!!!!?" before "Sledges at 12-30". There was likely little more than a dozen copies of this menu originally printed, and only a handful of those are known to survive today. This copy is the one brought back from the Antarctic by expedition's cook, William Roberts.

No. 22 - An Original Employment Contract For Shackleton's Nimrod Expedition. This collection also features an original employment contract for the Nimrod expedition between Ernest Shackleton and the expedition's cook William Roberts. Unruly cooks had caused problems on previous Antarctic expeditions but Roberts was sound choice, who had experience both on land and sea and had most recently been the pastry chef at the Naval & Military Club. His work seems to have been appreciated. A visitor to the Cape Royd's kitchen years later commented "Shackleton's men must have fed like turkey cocks for all the delicacies here". Original contracts of this kind for Antarctic expeditions are extremely rare. We are aware of no other surviving copies of contracts for Shackleton's Nimrod expedition. It is priced at £6,500.

Image: No. 20 - Aurora Australis. The first book printed in Antarctica. 

1- Sappho to send.jpgNew York — His work was startling and new. It had the power to surprise, shock and even haunt the viewer. William Mortensen was a highly controversial artist during his lifetime, stirring up the photographic world in the early twentieth century with images that were in direct opposition to the prevailing realism of his contemporaries. Today, we recognize Mortensen as the trailblazer he was -- the first to use highly manipulated imagery in a way that wasn’t embraced until Photoshop almost a century later.

The New York City Book & Ephemera Fair, will mount a special exhibition of the artist’s work when it returns to the Sheraton Central Park/Times Square hotel, (7th Avenue, between 52nd & 53rd Streets) March 9 & 10. Curated by author/art historian, Brian Chidester, courtesy of the Stephen Romano Gallery, “Celluloid Babylon” draws from the artist’s Hollywood years in the 1920s and 30s. 

Mortensen, the son of Danish-born parents, was the first photographer to take still-photos of actors on Hollywood sets, rather than photographing film stars like Jean Harlow, Rudolph Valentino and John Barrymore in posed studio settings. It all started, when, as a costume designer on Cecile B. DeMille’s epic Hollywood film, The King of Kings, the artist decided one day to snap photographs of the actors while moving around in the opulent costumes he had designed. Director DeMille immediately saw the marketing potential of having such images available prior to the film’s release. The movie lobby card was born! 

Mortensen was known for retouching prints (though seldom negatives) with an abrasion process that used razor-blades, carbon pencil, ink, eraser and pumice to create manipulated images almost indistinguishable from etchings or paintings. His subject matter was theatrical, gothic, and often strange. “A Pictorial History of Witchcraft and Demonology,” and “Monsters and Madonnas,” are two of his best-known works.  

Mortensen clashed openly with the better-known Ansel Adams and his New Realism contemporaries in the 1930s and 40s. Adams’ classic and stately images of Rocky Mountain peaks and valleys at sunset were a world away from Mortensen’s satanic rituals, ancient Hindu goddesses, witch doctors with scary masks and vengeful gorillas.  Ansel Adams wrote, “photography is an objective expression and a record of actuality,” - a philosophy which became even more influential after the hard realities of World War II. Mortensen disparaged such “literal recordings,” calling them “a good beginning, but not an end in itself.” Adams called him the “Antichrist of Photography.”

Today, Mortensen’s altered images are right at home in a world where we are surrounded by fantasy figures in both movies and video games. His work finds an affinity with all forms of story-telling, whether they be fantasy, horror, or mysticism. He was able to tap into that euphoric aspect that humans share with each and every image.  From his early movie lobby cards, which were all about selling fantasies, Mortensen then developed a private art style that took Hollywood iconography into a more timeless space. Anything could be a part of Mortensen’s fictional ecosystem so long as it was emotionally and visually rich. Celluloid Babylon is a testament to this vision. He predicted the imagery to come in the 21st century.  

Fair hours are:  

Saturday, March 9, 2019, 8AM - 4PM

Sunday, March 10, 2019, 9AM - 3PM

Where:
Sheraton Central Park / Times Square
811 7th Avenue
New York, NY, 10019

Admission - $15 each day, with student ID - Free
Pre-purchase a weekend pass online and save $5 or register for a complimentary pass for Sunday, March 10 - http://bit.ly/NYCBook19.    

Image: Sappho the Poetess of Old Greece, circa 1928. William Mortensen (1897 - 1965, American) Bromide Print with Pencil.

 

Astonomical almanac cat 16-b-ti01101246 copy.jpgThousands of years before books were contained within a hand-held technological tablet or phone, there were cuneiform tablets no bigger than the size of a quarter. On view from March 5 through May 19, 2019 in the second floor gallery of the Grolier Club are 275 rare diminutive texts and bindings from around the world that have been created over the span of 4,500 years.  Size matters:  these tiny tomes range in size from a maximum of four inches to less than one millimeter. Drawn from the collection of Patricia J. Pistner, the exhibition represents the history of the book in miniature form.

A Matter of Size: Miniature Bindings & Texts from the Collection of Patricia J. Pistner includes cuneiform tablets and other antiquities, medieval manuscripts and early printed materials, books and bindings by women, imprints of Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln, as well as contemporary design bindings and artists’ books.

The exhibition is selected and organized by Pistner, along with Jan Storm van Leeuwen, former keeper of rare bindings at the Royal Library in The Hague and winner of the ILAB Breslauer Prize for Bibliography for his important study, Dutch Decorated Binding in the 18th Century.  

A collector of miniature books for over thirty years, Pistner’s love for very small tomes began at the age of seven when she began “publishing” tiny books for her first doll’s house.  As an adult, her passion was reignited after being inspired to fill the small library shelves of the miniature French townhouse she had commissioned. 

“The plan to fill that library with real, readable, printed miniature books led to assembling the most aesthetically compelling, representative samples of the history of the book in the smallest formats,” says Pistner. “My hope is that fellow bibliophiles find tomes here that spark their interest and lead to an increased interest in and respect for the format.” 

Highlights include: 

  • Cuneiform Tablets and other examples of ancient texts dating from 2500 BCE. 
  • Hyakumantō-daraniNara, Japan: c. 764-770 CE. Among the oldest block printed texts, housed in its original wooden pagoda. 
  • Almanac, written in the style of Nuremberg writing masters, Diocese of Bamberg, c. 1450. Illustrated manuscript on vellum, with seven colorful astronomical and astrological circular diagrams, one with a multi-colored patterned centerpiece, with a pinhole for a volvelle. 
  • Septem Psalmi poenitentiales, cum alijs multis devotissimo orationibus. Ac Kalendario Gregoriano. Venetiis: Nicolaus Misserinus, 1593. Measuring a mere 2.4” tall, this binding has rock crystal covers painted in reverse in the verre églomisé depicting St. Francis receiving the stigmata and the Adoration of the Magi. 
  • Enchiridion p[re]clare ecclesie Sarum …. [Book of Hours, Use of Salisbury]. Paris: Widow Thielman Kerver, 1528. Printed by Yolande Bonhomme, the only female printer in Paris and daughter of the famous printer and bookseller, Pasquier Bonhomme. This elaborate mosaic binding by Lortic was done in the 19th century for Charles-Louis de Bourbon (bookplate). The book is in Latin but the captions are in English.
  • Bird’s Egg Nécessaire for Sewing Kit, with Étrennes a l'innocence [including an almanac], Paris: 1820. A very rare type of object, which was not made for any practical purpose, but is a thing of beauty and was probably given by a young man to his beloved.
  • Bibliothèque portative du voyageur, 33 vols. 1801- 1804. Napoleonic era traveling library housed in a book-shaped case contains a collection of works written by the most famous French writers.
  • The Proclamation of Emancipation. 1862. The first separate printing in book form of the Emancipation Proclamation that the Union Army distributed in the South.

Lunchtime Exhibition Tours

March 6 and April 24, 1:00 - 2:00 PM; 

May 18, 3:00 - 4:00 PM. 

Curator Patricia J. Pistner will lead guided tours of the exhibition. 

Open to the public free of charge. No reservations required.

Currently on View in the Exhibition Hall:

Alphabet Magic: A Centennial Exhibition of the Work of Hermann & Gudrun Zapf

Upcoming in the Exhibition Hall:

Poet of the Body: New York's Walt Whitman: May 15 - July 27, 2019

VISITING THE GROLIER CLUB
47 East 60 Street, New York, NY 10022

212-838-6690 
www.grolierclub.org

Hours: Monday - Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm
Admission: Exhibitions are open to the public free of charge

Image: Almanac, written in the style of Nuremberg writing masters, Diocese of Bamberg, c. 1450. Illustrated manuscript on vellum, with seven colorful astronomical and astrological circular diagrams, one with a multi-colored patterned centerpiece, with a pinhole for a volvelle. 77 x 52 mm, 3 x 2.” Collection of Patricia J. Pistner

 

4- colette1 copy.jpgThe Fair that is known as the satellite event, during Manhattan’s celebrated Rare Book Week, has great news for the hundreds of followers who pack its aisles each year, searching for the exceptional “finds” that have made this event a stand out. The fifth edition of the New York City Book & Ephemera Fair has added, by popular demand, a second day when it returns to the Sheraton Central Park/Times Square hotel, on 7th Avenue between 52 & 53 Streets, Saturday March 9th & Sunday March 10th.   

Over 100 rare book and ephemera dealers from all parts of the country and Europe are featured - up from 65 last year. This is the show where first editions, beloved classics, fine & rare books, autographed historical documents, vintage photography, old maps, and more, are just waiting to be discovered. Now, show goers will have an extra day to take it all in!

Premiering this year is the first annual Booklyn Artists’ Book Fair (BABF) - a special section devoted to contemporary artists’ books, that is literally a fair-within-a-fair! Curated and organized by Marshall Weber, co-founder of Booklyn, a dynamic, artist-run non-profit organization based in Booklyn, the inaugural event features over 40 tables of work by member artists and artists groups.   

While books by well-known artists are prized by museums, libraries and educational institutions, the increase in awareness of artists’ books has been spurred by a new generation of cutting-edge young artists, working in a variety of media -- aquatint, collage, fine letterpress, hand-painted , photo-art, screen prints and risograph,  They produce unique books that not only express their own vision, but communicate ideas that are of timely concern. 

Chilean-born BABF exhibitor, Maria Veronica San Martin’s powerful books are deeply connected to the deconstructions of the Pinochet era in her native country and its missing war victims.    Internationally known artist Xu Bing, has turned recently to the impact of modern technology on the environment and the human mind in his work. Swarthmore College’s “Friends, Peace and Sanctuary” will premiere collaborations between American artist bookmakers and artists, poets and artisans from the Syrian and Iraqi refugee community in Philadelphia. The fair will also showcase provocative new work, including the New York premiere of Sofia Szamosi’s “#Metoo On Instagram: One Year Later”, along with vibrant pop-up books from artist, Collette Fu.

This year the New York City Book & Ephemera Fair is also proud to present a special exhibition, “The Celluloid Babylon,” of photography by visionary artist, William Mortensen whose controversial images launched a whole new photographic movement in the 1930s and 40s. Curated by author/art historian, Brian Chidester, courtesy of the Stephen Romano Gallery, the exhibition draws from the artist’s celluloid years, starting at the point, where, as a costume designer, he worked on Cecile B. DeMille’s epic Hollywood film, The King of Kings. The artist decided one day to snap photographs of the actors while they were moving around in his opulent costume designs.  Director DeMille immediately saw the marketing potential of having such images available prior to the film’s release. The movie lobby poster was born! The exhibition highlights these golden years when stars such as Faye Wray, Jean Harlow, John Barrymore and Rudolph Barrymore were the subjects of his photographic creations. 

And then there are the books - wonderful first editions, beloved classics and fine books on almost every subject imaginable!   For Star War buffs, exhibitor Pryor & Johnson Rare books will have a first edition of “Star Wars,” that was ghost-written by Alan Dean Foster.  It appeared before the first film debuted and made history.    Harry Potter devotees will love Pryor & Johnson’s  first two volumes of the Harry Potter series, both signed by Rowling. The first limited edition of William Faulkner's Snopes Trilogy, each volume signed by Faulkner, is another  special find from this rare book specialist.  Exhibitor Stan Gorski calls on Stephen King followers to check out an early King book called Firestarter. Zoe Abrams rare books take us back in time with a series of almanacs & agendas documenting more than a century of merchant life in Ghent (ca. 1720-1845).  They are a delight to behold! 

Fair hours are:  Saturday, March 9, 2019, 8AM - 4PM; Sunday, March 10, 2019, 9AM - 3PM

Where:
Sheraton Central Park / Times Square
811 7th Avenue
New York, NY, 10019

Admission - $15 each day, with student ID - Free
Pre-purchase a weekend pass online and save $5 or register for a complimentary pass for Sunday, March 10 - http://bit.ly/NYCBook19

Image: Luoma, Yi Tiger Festival, Photographic Pop-up Book. The Yi people from China’s Yunan province,  worship the tiger as their grandest totem. disturbed by Under the direction of the black “Tiger King,” they offer sacrifice and dance to reflect the journey and way of life of the Yi people as they visit each house to guard the village from evils. Thus “Luoma,” the Tiger Festival, was created to display the Yi people’s tiger-like strength and valor. Artist: COLETTE FU makes one-of-a-kind artist’s books that combine photography and pop-up paper engineering.

c7422b9221bbfb9a0251551046cec0ba83162d46.jpegBoston—A James Joyce signed vintage photograph sold for $25,826 according to Boston-based RR Auction. 

The exceedingly rare glossy close-up photo of Joyce wearing his polka-dot bow tie and round spectacles, neatly signed in fountain pen, "James Joyce." Reverse bears an "Atelier Ruth Asch" credit stamp.

This magnificent portrait is believed to have been produced in 1929 by Ruth Asch, likely at the request of the publisher Rhein-Verlag; one of the images in her series of Joyce portraits would be used to advertise the original German edition of Ulysses in 1930. 

An absolutely spectacular 'fadograph' that perfectly captures the revered Irish author, whose innovative prose forever revolutionized the written word.

Additional highlights from the sale include, but are not limited by:

Pierre-Auguste Renoir Ledger sold for $37,462.

Lyndon B. Johnson signed letter as President to Speaker of the House sold for $19,133.

George Washington signed three-language ship's papers from 1794 sold for $14,948.

Woodrow Wilson Twice-signed official typed transcript of proceedings relating to the Treaty of Versailles sold for $11,952.

The Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction from RR Auction began on January 18 and concluded on February 6.  For information, visit the RR Auction web site at www.rrauction.com

TaleofGenji_MetApp_1536x1024_082818.jpgA major international loan exhibition focusing on the artistic tradition inspired by Japan's most celebrated work of literature will go on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art beginning March 5, 2019. Bringing together more than 120 works of art from 32 public and private collections in Japan and the United States—including National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties, most of which have never left Japan—The Tale of Genji: A Japanese Classic Illuminated will explore the tale's continuing influence on Japanese art since it was written around the year 1000 by the noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu (ca. 978-ca. 1014). Often referred to as the world's first novel, The Tale of Genji has captivated readers for centuries through its sophisticated narrative style, humor and wit, and unforgettable characters, beginning with the "radiant prince" Genji, whose life and loves are the focus of the story.

"The Tale of Genji has inspired generations of artists over centuries, and ours is the first exhibition to explore this phenomenon in such a comprehensive way," said Max Hollein, Director of The Met. "The magnificent works of art in the show will also offer a view into the development of Japanese art, a testament to the prevalence and impact of the renowned story."

The exhibition is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Japan Foundation, with the cooperation of the Tokyo National Museum and Ishiyamadera Temple. 

It is made possible by the Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation Fund, 2015; the Estate of Brooke Astor; the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation; and Ann M. Spruill and Daniel H. Cantwell. 

The exhibition will present the most extensive introduction to the visual world of Genji ever shown outside Japan. It will feature nearly one thousand years of Genji-related art—an astonishing range of works including paintings, calligraphy, silk robes, lacquerware, a palanquin for a shogun's bride, and popular art such as ukiyo-e prints and contemporary manga—and provide viewers with a window into the alluring world of the Heian imperial court (794-1185) that was created by the legendary authoress.

Exhibition Overview

Comprising 54 chapters, The Tale of Genji describes the life of the prince, from the amorous escapades of his youth to his death, as well as the lives of his descendants, introducing along the way some of the most iconic female characters in the history of Japanese literature. Organized thematically in eight sections, the exhibition will pay special attention to the Buddhist reception of the tale, while also giving prominence to Genji's female readership and important works by female artists. 

Among the works on view, highlights will include two of Japan's National Treasures. The first, on loan from Seikado Bunko Art Museum, is a pair of screens by the Rinpa master Tawaraya Sotatsu (ca. 1570-ca. 1640)—Channel Markers and The Barrier Gate—depicting two chance encounters between Genji and a former lover. The second is the breathtaking Heian-period Lotus Sutra with Each Character on a Lotus, from the Museum Yamato Bunkakan. These works will be on view for six weeks and then rotated with other masterpieces over the course of the exhibition. A number of works recognized as Important Cultural Properties will be on view throughout the exhibition, including beautifully preserved album leaves by Tosa Mitsuyoshi (1539-1613), from the Kuboso Memorial Museum of Arts, Izumi, which will be shown together with rare Tosa School album paintings from the Harvard Art Museums and The Met's own collection.

The exhibition will also include a section featuring important works of art from Ishiyamadera Temple whose hall contains a "Genji Room" that commemorates the legend that Murasaki started writing the novel within the temple precincts. The final section of the exhibition will feature a series of original manga drawings by Yamato Waki that were inspired by The Tale of Genji. She translated Genji into the comic book idiom, making Murasaki's tale accessible to a whole new generation of readers.

Education Programs, Catalogue, and Credit

A site-specific opera entitled Murasaki's Moon—commissioned by MetLiveArts, On Site Opera, and American Lyric Theater in conjunction with the exhibition—will be presented in The Met's Astor Court on May 17, 18, and 19.

This exhibition will be the opening highlight of Japan 2019, a series of events organized by The Japan Foundation to introduce Japanese arts and culture in the United States throughout 2019.

The Tale of Genji: A Japanese Classic Illuminated will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.

The catalogue is made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the Florence and Herbert Irving Fund; the Charles A. Greenfield Fund; the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Foundation; the Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation Fund, 2015; the Parnassus Foundation; and Richard and Geneva Hofheimer Memorial Fund.

The exhibition is curated by John T. Carpenter, Mary Griggs Burke Curator of Japanese Art in the Department of Asian Art at The Met; and guest curator Melissa McCormick, Professor of Japanese Art and Culture at Harvard University; with Monika Bincsik, Diane and Arthur Abbey Assistant Curator for Japanese Decorative Arts at The Met; and Kyoko Kinoshita, Professor of Japanese Art History at Tama Art University.

The exhibition will be featured on The Met's website, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the hashtag #MetGenji.

Image: Tosa Mitsuoki (1617-1691). Portrait-Icon of Murasaki Shikibu (detail). Edo Period (1615-1868), 17th century. Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk; 35 5/8 x 20 3/4 in. (90.5 x 52.7 cm). Ishiyamadera Temple, Shiga Prefecture, Courtesy of Ishiyamadera Temple, photo by Kanai Morio

marion-crawford_0.jpgSan Marino, CA —The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens announced today that it has acquired the largest trove of writing by American novelist F. Marion Crawford (1854-1909) in existence. Crawford was admired in his day by Robert Louis Stevenson for his vivid portrayals of foreign lands and envied by Henry James for his ability to churn out bestsellers. He was a prolific author, publishing 44 novels and scores of short stories, essays, and plays. In addition, Crawford may be the first author to portray Sicily's mafia in an English-language novel, Corleone. The collection includes complete autograph manuscripts for seven novels and two plays, partial manuscripts for five works, and outlines and notes for several novels and essays.

The works were purchased recently at The Huntington’s 22nd annual Library Collectors’ Council meeting. The Council also purchased two large, rare, and detailed maps, created in 1900, that depict the foreign legation (or diplomatic) quarter in Beijing during China’s Boxer Rebellion. Among the first and most important maps ever created to illustrate the dramatic course of events during the siege of the Legation Quarter, they also offer invaluable clues about a fire at an adjacent library from which The Huntington’s single volume from the Yongle dadian, a rare 15th-century Chinese encyclopedia, was rescued.

In addition, The Huntington acquired a collection of 142 letters by Warren D. Chase (1827-1875), a white soldier in the Civil War who wrote vivid, candid, and often heart-rending accounts of his experiences in the Union Army, which included a stint in the newly organized 14th Colored Infantry Regiment. As a former Shaker—a religious sect that separated itself from the secular world—Chase provided an outsider’s perspective on the grim realities of African-American service and the war’s horrors.

Further treasures acquired include a prayer book with a black silk velvet cover and gleaming heraldic device (produced around 1590 for Gilbert and Mary Talbot, the 7th Earl and Countess of Shrewsbury) that includes Catholic prayers at a time when England was officially Protestant; and a single bound volume containing four rare first editions of books by Paracelsus (d. 1541), one of the most influential medical authors of the 16th century.

The Library Collectors’ Council is a group of 45 households that assist in the development of the collections by supporting the purchase of important works that the Library would not otherwise be able to afford.

“These new acquisitions will help researchers push out the boundaries of human knowledge in numerous directions—in the history of the Pacific Rim and the literature and history of 19th-century America, to name just a few,” said Sandra Brooke, Avery Director of the Library at The Huntington. “We are forever grateful to the Collectors’ Council for its generous support in helping us continue to build The Huntington’s dynamic library collections.”

Highlights of the newly purchased materials include:

Papers of F. Marion Crawford (1854­-1909)
“In the early 20th century, it would have been unthinkable that F. Marion Crawford’s name would fade from public view,” said Karla Nielsen, curator of literary collections at The Huntington.

A hugely popular writer on both sides of the Atlantic, Crawford was born to expatriate parents in Italy, where he lived for most of his life.

He was a master storyteller in an astonishing array of modes: historical romances, tales of the strange and uncanny, society dramas. His horror and fantasy stories are still frequently anthologized. “The Upper Berth,” a maritime ghost story, is the most commonly reprinted, followed by the vampire tale “For the Blood is the Life,” which features a female vampire.

The Huntington’s newly acquired archive includes drafts of novels set in Gilded Age New York City; one of his histories of Rome, Ave Roma Immortalis; one of his longer supernatural novels, The Witch of Prague; and two unpublished plays, Marion Darche and By the Waters of Babylon. Also represented are manuscript drafts for two in a series of Italian historical romances, including Saracinesca (1887), which has been considered his most accomplished work. Another book in that series, Corleone, focuses on the maffeosos in Sicily.

“Academics working in book history and publishing studies will be interested in Crawford’s outlines and the markups in his manuscript drafts,” said Karla Nielsen, curator of literary collections at The Huntington. “They reveal an author deftly plotting his novels within market constraints, thinking about the word count and pacing limitations of serial publication.”

 

230.jpgChicago — True to its title, this sale featured a spellbinding selection of traditional, foreign, limited edition, and art books.  Lot #298, a c. 1895 edition of Paul de Musset's The Last Abbe more than tripled its low estimate, making $1,875. This gloriously detailed and illustrated livre d'artiste was published in Parish by Societe des Beaux Arts and was copy “H” of 20 copies of the Edition de Deux Mondes. Lot #230, a first edition of Charles Bukowski's South of No North was estimated at $1,500-2,000 and traded hands at $2,280. It was published by the Black Sparrow Press in Los Angeles in 1973 and was number 5 of 50 hand bound copies. This important lot included an original signed painting by the controversial author. And lot #528, sixteen 1920s-30s titles from the Wizard of Oz Series by L. Frank Baum and Ruth Plumly Thompson sold for $1,188 on its $500-750 estimate.  This fine grouping included color plates and illustrations by W.W. Denslow and John R. Neill as well as several early and collectable editions.

Comic books featuring some of the 20th century's most popular superheroes also had strong results at this auction.  Lot #697, a CGC graded and encapsulated Marvel Comics X-Men No. 1 was estimated at $1,500-3,000 and realized $3,500. This 1963 edition, by Stan Lee with artwork by Jack Kirby, featured the debut appearance and origin of the X-Men (Professor X, Cyclops, Iceman, Angel, Beast, and Marvel Girl) and Magneto. And lot #647, a Marvel Comics Incredible Hulk No. 181 from 1974 was estimated at $1,800-2,400 but tipped the scales at $2,880. This CGC graded rarity came to life through Len Wein's story and Herb Trimpe and Jack Abel's illustrations, and included the first full appearance of Wolverine as well as an appearance from Wendigo.  

Finally, the Chicago themed artifacts and antiques on offer through this event generated national attention. Standing tall amongst all others was lot #38, a labeled wooden column from the Marshall Field & Company building. This attractive Neo-Classical sculpted column, from the legendary department store in downtown Chicago, measured 73-1/2" high and featured a recessed top to accommodate a flower pot or other seasonal ornament. It realized $1,920 on its $300-500 estimate. 

According to Gabe Fajuri, President at Potter & Potter Auctions, "We were thrilled to have a gallery filled with fine art, and more importantly, artifacts and art related to the history of the city in which we live and work. There's something special about offering relics related to the buildings, builders, and important historical events of the place in which you live and work. Many bidders from Chicago felt the same way, and said so on auction day - by bidding and buying, or attending the auction."

Image: Lot 230, South of No North, sold for $2,280.

Alexander Hamilton.jpegWestport, CT - A signed copy of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first book, authored before he became President, a newly discovered handwritten and signed letter by Alexander Hamilton, and a typewritten letter by J. Robert Oppenheimer regarding the development of the atomic bomb are expected top lots in University Archives’ next online-only auction on Wednesday, February 27th. 

Live bidding for the 266-lot auction is scheduled to start promptly at 10:30 am Eastern time. As with all University Archives auctions, this one is loaded with rare, highly collectible autographed documents, manuscripts, books, photos and relics. The full catalog can be viewed online now, at www.UniversityArchives.com. Online bidding is via Invaluable.com and LiveAuctioneers.com. 

“Our last auction was the best one yet, with over 3,000 registered bidders from over 50 countries and well over an 80 percent sell-through, which is unheard of in our industry,” said John Reznikoff, president and owner of University Archives. “People come back because they know that we have the finest material available anywhere and yet there are still great deals to be had.”

Mr. Reznikoff added, “This sale promises to outperform the last one, as it includes some stellar consignments, many of which have not seen the light of day for years. The Hamilton letter, and a Ben Franklin letter, for example, have been off the market for over 140 years. The virgin FDR signed book is part of a collection, 24 strong, with incredible provenance. It’s also market fresh.”

The FDR book, titled Wither Bound (Houghton Mifflin, Boston and New York, 1926) is an important presentation copy, signed and inscribed to Missy LeHand (“M.A.L.”), Roosevelt’s private secretary for 21 years, including while he was President. The book, based on a lecture at Milton Academy on the Alumni War Memorial Foundation in 1926, should bring $4,000-$4,500.

The newly discovered two-page Hamilton letter, apparently unpublished, was dated March 20, 1791 and boldly signed with a flourish, “A Hamilton”. In it, he forwards George Washington’s appointment to Edward Carrington as supervisor of the eventual Capitol city of Washington. It also discusses other salient issues, to include the Compromise of 1790 (est. $30,000-$35,000).

The typewritten letter from J. Robert Oppenheimer to Leslie Groves, who headed the top-secret Manhattan Project toward the end of World War II, resulting in the development of the very first nuclear weapon, is part of a significant atomic bomb-related archive originally from the Groves family. It’s likely the finest known letter of Oppenheimer in private hands and should make $10,000-$12,000. There are about 20 other Groves related items from an archive that came from his family. Included is Harry Truman talking about the bomb.

A remarkable collection of autographs from all 39 signers at the U.S. Constitutional Convention - to include Washington, Hamilton, Franklin and Madison - gathered before, during and after the signing of the U.S. Constitution (circa 1752-1835), all generally very good, is estimated at $60,000-$70,000.

An important 1781 letter signed by George Washington, as then Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, written in the hand of his aide Tench Tilghman, to the German Major General Baron de Riedesel, regarding the sensitive matter of prisoner exchanges, carries an estimate of $35,000-$40,000. The letter mentions Alexander Hamilton and British General John Burgoyne.

A substantial archive of nearly 50 Civil War-era theater playbills (circa 1861-1864), mostly from theaters in Boston but also to include New York City, is expected to garner $30,000-$35,000. What makes the collection significant is that nine of the playbills advertise Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth, plus three others with Booth associations. Most show wear typical of their age.

Also expected to change hands for $30,000-$35,000 is a two-page letter signed by Benjamin Franklin (as “B. Franklin”) that was last on the market 140 years ago. Addressed to his nephew Jonathan and ending with “I am ever your affectionate uncle”, the letter, dated Dec. 22, 1779, discusses funds to outfit the 10,000 troops under the command of General Marquis de Lafeyette.

An autographed letter, written and signed by Abraham Lincoln (as “A. Lincoln”) on Executive Mansion stationery and dated May 24, 1864, while the Civil War was still raging, is expected to finish at $13,000-$15,000. The letter is written to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, instructing him to promote a New Jersey colonel - “the one having best testimonials” - to brigadier general.

A rare manuscript page from the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard C. Feynman (b. 1941), written at the dawn of the computer age, in which he illustrates how a computer program can approximate a solution to a differential equation using first-order and second-order Runga-Kutta methods (developed around 1900 by two German mathematicians) should hit $9,000-$10,000.

A four-page letter written and inscribed by then-teenager Jacqueline Lee Bouvier (later Jackie Kennedy) to her childhood best friend Rosamund Lee during the spring of 1943, is estimated to sell for $3,500-$4,000. The letter, signed “Love, Jackie XXX”, is accompanied by a photo of her playing baseball and an original pencil horse drawing by her. It was written from McLean, Va.

Other noteworthy lots include a 1920s-era baseball signed by Babe Ruth, Connie Mack and Gabby Street, in special presentation from the early sports syndicator Christy Walsh (est. $3,000-$3,500); and a formal document from 1932 signed by Japanese Emperor Hirohito (Showa), with calligraphic script, unfolding to 18 inches by 13 inches, in very good shape (est. $2,400-$2,800).

As with all University Archives online auctions, this one is packed with important, scarce and collectible signed documents and other items relating to some of the most famous names in all of history. The firm has become world-renowned as a go-to source for rare material of this nature.

University Archives was founded in 1979, as a division of University Stamp Company, by John Reznikoff, who started collecting stamps and coins in 1968, while in the third grade. Industry-wide, Reznikoff is considered the leading authenticity expert for manuscripts and documents. He consults with law enforcement, dealers, auction houses and both major authentication companies. 

For more information about University Archives and the Wednesday, February 27th internet-only auction, please visit www.universityarchives.com.

Image: Newly discovered handwritten and signed letter by Alexander Hamilton, apparently unpublished, dated March 20, 1791 and boldly signed with a flourish, “A Hamilton” (est. $30,000-$35,000).

The Hours of Marie_Folios 16v-17r_a noblewoman with her daughter kneeling before the Virgin and Child enthroned copy.jpgThis is the twenty-sixth year that Les Enluminures will be exhibiting at TEFAF. To celebrate this occasion, the gallery will launch a special exhibition based on new high-profile acquisitions and entitled "Painting in Manu-scripts in France and Flanders during the Middle Ages and Renaissance." 

A select group of nearly a dozen stunning single miniatures is exhibited for the first time. Illustrating David and Bathsheba and Job and his Friends and Family, two of these by the MASTER OF FRANCOIS DE ROHAN come from a presumably lost Book of Hours, most likely made for a patron at the court of King Francis I (r. 1515-1547). They display this artist's imaginative subject matter and lively narration set in elaborate architecture enlivened by putti on the eve of the French Renaissance. 

A monumental miniature of the Crucifixion, painted with a brilliant palette and charged with emotion, boldly expresses an accomplished new figural style emerging from Italy in the wake of the Renaissance. It can now be added to a group of thirteen other historiated initials, mostly in major museums, from an enormous pair of Choir Books commissioned by Philippe de Levis, bishop of Mirepoix from 1493 to 1537. A recent study convincingly identifies the artist as a Toulouse-based painter, ANTOINE OLIVIER. Complementing the group of miniatures are several illuminated volumes of exceptional richness that reveal the full flowering of the Middle Ages. One of two centerpieces is THE HOURS OF MARIE. This is one of the oldest and most important of all early Books of Hours and one of few thirteenth-century books unambiguously painted for a named laywoman, perhaps Marie de Bra-bant Queen of France. Its pages virtually explode with a richness of imagery. Nearly 300 images display with unusual frequency women in daily life and are set in the royal court. 

The second featured work THE ROMANCE OF TROY includes seventeen large paintings by a rare and accomplished illuminator-painter known as the Master of Girart de Roussillon who worked for the court in the then-Southern Netherlands, probably in Brussels. According to Christopher de Hamel: "The addition of a newly attributed manuscripts to the elusive and incomparable Master himself is a major event in the scholarship of southern Netherlandish art." 

Founded by Dr. Sandra Hindman nearly thirty years ago and with locations in Paris, Chicago, and New York, Les Enluminures has forged long-standing relationships with major museums and prestigious private collections throughout the world. It exhibits at TEFAF Maastricht, TEFAF New York, Masterpiece, the Winter Show, Paris Fine Art, and Frieze Masters. The gallery is well-known for the level of its scholarship but also for the diversity, high quality, and provenance of the works it offers for sale. 

Sandra Hindman states: "We are proud to continue our participation in TEFAF Maastricht, which in my opinion remains unchallenged as the premier venue for the display of world-class, museum-quality works of art. Hats off once again to the astute organizers."

Image: THE HOURS OF MARIE (USE OF SENLIS) In Latin and French, illuminated manuscript on parchment Northeastern France, probably Reims, c. 1270-1280 22 historiated initials by a Reims Master, 2 illuminated borders by the Master of Johannes de Phylomena

1. BRITISH ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION Sledge copy.jpgLondon -- A sledge from the first expedition to the Antarctic led by Ernest Shackleton sold for £143,750 in the Bonhams Travel and Exploration Sale today. The sale made a total of £875,525.

Estimated at between £60,000-100,000, the sledge was the subject of fierce competition from bidders in the room, on the phone and on the internet.

The sledge was used on the 1907-9 British Antarctic (Nimrod) Expedition by Eric Marshall - one of the four men, with Shackleton, Jameson Adams, and Frank Wild, to undertake the sledge march to the South Pole. Although they had to abandon the attempt, they reached within 100 geographical miles of the Pole - at the time, the furthest south ever travelled.

Eric Marshall’s sledge flag which had been estimated at £30,000-50,00 sold for £75,000.   

Bonhams Head of Books and Manuscripts Matthew Haley said: “This was a fantastic result for a rare survivor of one of the great journeys of Polar exploration.” 

A detailed account of the expedition and the sledge’s crucial role in it can be found here: https://www.google.com/search?q=Bonhams+Magazine+Shackleton&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

Other highlights included: 

  • Views of Trinidad by Michel Cazabon, sold for £60,000 (est £3,000-5,000)
  • The Tomb of Esther and Mordechai, Hamadan, Iran, with the Alvand range of the Zagros Mountains in the distance by Charles-Théodore Frère, sold for £47,500 (est: £20,000-30,000)
  • Edward Roper (British, 1830-1909), The Goldfields of Australia, Ararat, sold for £32,500 (est £6,000-8,000)
  • Diary written by Stephen B. Church, Signalman aboard the H.M.S. Perseus that sold for £32,500 (est £2,000-3,000)

The Library of Congress announced that it has received a $540,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to evaluate the physical health of the national collection of books in American research libraries and to guide their archive retention and preservation decisions. Since there currently is no objective formula to assess the condition of millions of books in the custody of the nation’s libraries, this scientific study will help inform best practices and provide a baseline for libraries to analyze their print collections based on established scientific guidelines. 

This is the first effort of its kind to lay the scientific groundwork for the development of a national effort to preserve the corpus of books held in American libraries. Entitled “Assessing the Physical Condition of the National Collection,” the 40-month grant project through the Scholarly Communication Program will compare the physical, chemical and optical characteristics of a representative sample of bibliographically identical books across five large research libraries in distinct regions of the country to quantify and objectively assess the condition of these volumes. The five participating institutions are Arizona State University, Cornell University, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Miami and University of Washington.

The study will help provide a comparable and reliable decision-making method for libraries to follow in deciding what books and how many should be kept in the national collective. The collected data will build a knowledge base for how materials naturally age and decompose, provide a rich set of data about books as artifacts and lead to a stronger predictive model for the condition of books. One objective of the project is also to develop simpler testing tools that could be used on-site in library book stacks.

“Contemporary scholarship crosses boundaries of format, institution, and discipline,” said Jacob Nadal, the Library’s director for Preservation. “Libraries are enabling this through sophisticated partnerships and services that draw on print and digital resources for the distinct qualities that each format offers. This project unites the most current library science with our long history of cooperation to help libraries advance our core professional goals: providing access to research materials and preserving the published record in its original forms.”

The Library of Congress is well suited to conduct this scientific research because of its extensive preservation programs and research laboratories. The research work will take place in the Preservation Research and Testing Division (PRTD) at the Library of Congress and build on the institution’s extensive research into noninvasive and microsampling analytic methods. These techniques enable large scientific analysis of library materials to be conducted at a speed and scale that were not practical before.

“Until we can understand and compare the actual condition of the printed volumes in America, we won’t know how to ensure these are available for future generations,” said Fenella G. France, PRTD chief and the project’s principal investigator. “We may be moving to an increasingly digital world, but so much of our history is retained on the printed record and we must preserve this.”

PRTD will host two researchers for three years, each of whom will complete the analysis of 500 of the same volumes from the five selected American research libraries, totaling 2500 volumes. The Library will convene an expert advisory body to review the work in process and schedule conferences periodically to report the project’s progress. The study’s findings will be shared nationally at a major event in 2022. 

The Library of Congress has one of the most extensive library and archival preservation programs in the world. The Library’s Preservation Directorate staff evaluates, manages and responds to the challenges of ensuring access to the Library’s collection of more than 167 million items in a diverse and expanding range of formats.  The Library’s Preservation Research and Testing Division has been a world leader in developing preservation research to prevent degradation and extend the life of collections. The chemical, mechanical and optical properties labs have developed many innovative research applications and collaborate with colleagues in academia, cultural heritage, science and forensic laboratories.

 

London — The Folio Society and House of Illustration are thrilled to announce the longlist for the annual Book Illustration Competition (#BIC2019). 

Now in its ninth year, The Book Illustration Competition is a partnership between The Folio Society and House of Illustration. To date, the competition has distributed nearly £60,000 worth of prizes and has received thousands of entries. 

This year from over 500 excellent entries, an increase of 17% on last year, 25 have been selected for the longlist. 

The winner will receive a prestigious £5,000 commission from The Folio Society to illustrate their new edition of Diana Wynne Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle. Five other shortlisted entrants will each receive £500. As part of the Book Illustration Competition’s committment to nurturing new talent, the judging panel ensures that student entries form part of the shortlist. 

The difficult task of selecting the longlist fell to Sheri Gee, Art Director at The Folio Society, and Colin McKenzie, Director of House of Illustration. 

Sheri Gee said ‘I was really impressed by the standard of entries this year from both students and professionals. Looking at over 500 interpretations to the brief, we found it so interesting how certain scenes clearly resonated more than others, inspiring a myriad of visual interpretations.‘ 

Colin McKenzie noted ‘We were delighted by the record number of entries to this year’s competition, more than for any previous year. The standard was extremely high and demonstrated not just how popular this book remains, but also that it is a story that really catches the imagination. As a result we have a very strong longlist.’ 

Entries were received from 47 countries including the USA, Brazil, Singapore, New Zealand and Armenia, and over 30% of them were from students. 

This year also sees the return of the popular stand alone People’s Choice award. Voted for online (http://bicpeopleschoice.org), the People’s Choice can be selected from any of the longlisted entries.The People’s Choice winning artist and one member of the public who voted for them will receive £100 worth of books from The Folio Society and a one-year membership to House of Illustration. 

The shortlist and the winner will be selected from the longlist by Laura Cecil, literary agent for Diana Wynne Jones; Sheri Gee, Art Director and Sophie Lewis, Editor both from The Folio Society; Colin McKenzie, Director and Olivia Ahmad, Curator both from House of Illustration and Max Löffler, winner of the Book Illustration Competition 2018. 

The awards will be announced at an exclusive ceremony at House of illustration on 26 February 2019. 

 

Hours_Fauquier_Besancon_1420-40_16r_Majestas copy.jpgDr. Jörn Günther Rare Books AG returns to TEFAF Maastricht (16-24 March 2019) with an exceptional collection of museum-quality, Medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts, miniatures, and early printed books.

This year’s highlights focus on the finest French illumination across the centuries and on the ability of true artists to convey stories. The first outstanding manuscript in the TEFAF Maastricht 2019 line-up is a stunningly beautiful French Book of Hours that shows the exquisite refinement and sophistication of two great artists. The amazing Fauquier Book of Hours only recently resurfaced after having disappeared from the public eye for more than 50 years. The manuscript is rich in iconography and subtle in colours, with 13 miniatures of exceptional quality, all of which showcase their creators’ extraordinary storytelling abilities. It was a commission for a gentleman living in the diocese of Besançon, likely a member of the family Fau(l)quier of Poligny. The Master of Walters 219 contributed two miniatures to this manuscript, while the second master, whose style points to Amiens, was responsible for the remaining eleven images. The style of the first illuminator, the Master of W. 219, likely an itinerant painter who came from Lombardy, is marked by ingenuous scenes that are rich in Italianisms and occupied by many small characters. He worked in the context of some of the best of French and Netherlandish traditions, where he may also have met the second illuminator.

Another impressive manuscript highlight that Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books is bringing to Maastricht is a previously unknown and unpublished legal codex from the 13th century, illuminated by the workshop of Maître Honoré. This exciting new find offers a glimpse into medieval customs, since the law reflects the spirit of the time. The present manuscript is a comprehensive compilation of canon law issued by successive popes, including decisions of Church councils, papal bulls, and excerpts from texts by church fathers and theologians. The manuscript is a high-quality, legal textbook executed under the supervision of a university stationer, whose corrective notes (“cor”) are preserved at the ends of some quires. The layout of the manuscript’s pages is typical of a university law book, containing - in addition to the texts of the various constitutions - the Glossa ordinaria, a systematic commentary in the form of marginal glosses.

The legal codex features miniatures and decorated initials of the finest quality, which were painted by the hand of the famous illuminator Maître Honoré and his workshop in Paris. The five miniatures stand at the beginning of each book: iudex - iudicium - clerus - connubia - crimen (jurisdiction - procedure - clergy - marriage - delinquency and criminal procedures).

Image: Fauquier Book of Hours. Courtesy of Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books

Lot 122-Delaunay.jpgNew York — Swann Galleries opened the 2019 season with Fine Illustrated Books & Graphics on January 29, boasting numerous auction records and several new buyers. 

Leading the sale was Cirque de l’Étoile Filante, 1938, by Georges Rouault. The publication, depicting circus performers in 17 color aquatints by Rouault and 82 wood engravings by George Aubert, in characteristic Fauvist style, sold for $35,000. Rouault’s final work, Passion, 1939, also found success, selling for $21,250. Additional livres d’artiste included Klänge, 1912-13, Wassily Kandinsky’s masterpiece of expressionism and one of the earliest artist’s books to contain nonrepresentational art, which reached $31,200; and a first English translation of Marcel Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped bare by Her Bachelors, Even, 1960, a typographic version by Richard Hamilton, brought $1,500, a record for the signed trade edition.

An array of Art Deco material was led by a run of works by George Barbier and François-Louis Schmied: Personnages de Comédie, 1922, ($9,375), Vies Imaginaires, 1929, one of 120 copies created for members of the French bibliophile group, Le Livre Contemporain ($8,750), and Les Chansons de Bilitis, 1922, ($8,125). Solo works by Schmied featured Le Cantique des Cantiques, 1925, which brought $12,500. Sonia Delaunay’s Ses Peintures, Ses Objects, Ses Tissues Simultanés, Ses Modes, 1925, a tour de force of Simultaneous Contrast design theory, set a record for the work with $13,750, and 20 color pochoir plates of butterflies by Emile-Alain Seguy, 1925, realized $9,100.

Alphonse Mucha’s Ilsée, Princesse de Tripoli, 1897, brought a record price for a copy of the publication in its original folder at $13,000. A rich Art Nouveau section continued with Eugène Grasset’s La Plante et ses applications Ornementales, 1895, 72 richly colored and intricately designed plates that brought $7,250.

Works from the Cheloniidae Press found buyers with The Birds and Beasts of Shakespeare, 1990, which brought $6,500, a record for the work; and the artist’s proof copy of Tortoises, 1983, featured sculptural leather binding evoking a turtle shell and garnered $5,750.

Additional highlights include Strickland’s Lithographic Drawing of the Ancient Painted Ceiling in the Nave of Peterborough Cathedral, returning to auction after over 30 years ($1,500), and Richard Diebenkorn’s etchings for Poems by W.B. Yeats ($11,050). Records were set by Diptera: A Book of Flies & Other Insects, 1983, by Leonard Baskin with $9,750; Die Buecher der Chronika der drei Schwestern, 1900, by Heinrich Lefler and Josef Urban with $2,250; and Wiener Mode 1914, a portfolio of fashion designs by Viennese publication Werkstätte, with $2,375.  

Christine von der Linn, Senior Specialist, noted that “collectors enthusiastically received this smaller, thoughtfully curated fine books auction. What struck me most was the global participation in this sale, and the growing number of bidders on our recently launched Swann Galleries app, which reflects how people are becoming increasingly comfortable with this type of digital platform and appreciate the convenience it offers.”

The next auction of Books at Swann Galleries will be held on March 7 with Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books. Visit www.swanngalleries.com or download the Swann Galleries App for catalogues, bidding and inquiries. 

Additional highlights can be found here.

Image: Lot 122: Sonia Delaunay, Ses Peintures, Ses Objects, Ses Tissues Simultanés, Ses Modes, with 20 pochoir plates, Paris, 1925. Sold for $21,250.

9b9b81b3-d204-4fac-8e9a-73189f21de23.jpgLondon — Firsts, London’s Rare Book Fair, presented by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association, is delighted to announce that the Official Fair Partner is international online rare bookseller Biblio, and Charity Partner for 2019 is Shakespeare’s Globe.

Firsts London, the ABA’s annual flagship event and one of the most prestigious rare books fairs in the world, will open its doors to visitors from 7 - 9 June in beautiful Battersea Park. More than 150 exhibitors from around the world - sole traders and larger companies - will showcase rare, unique and unusual works for visitors with a wide range of cultural interests and a passion for the printed word, art, books maps and related ephemera from museum-quality medieval manuscripts to modern signed first editions. 

“In the year which sees Shakespeare’s Globe celebrate the centenary of the birth of pioneering and acclaimed actor Sam Wanamaker whose passion led to the rebuilding of the iconic theatre and the 400th anniversary of the death of the famous Globe actor Richard Burbage, we are excited to be staging an exhibition at the Fair of highlights from the Globe Library including books from The John Wolfson Rare Book Collection,” says Pom Harrington, Chairman of Firsts London.  “The exhibition will offer visitors an unrivalled chance to see editions which are not normally on show.”

New York-based collector and author, John Wolfson is the Globe’s Honorary Curator of Rare Books. He will curate the Exhibition and give an exclusive talk, accompanied by actors, on the opening day.

Bringing a strong rapport with booksellers and a genuine enthusiasm for books and book collecting, North Carolina-based Biblio is the perfect fit for Firsts London. It works with the finest booksellers in the world to cultivate a truly remarkable collection that strikes the perfect balance between quantity and quality of selection.  With British, Australian and New Zealand websites and over 5000 dealer members worldwide, the company is looking to expand into continental Europe, as well as the UK.

Brendan Sherar, Founder & CEO of Biblio: “We launched Biblio.co.uk almost ten years ago and we believe there’s an opportunity for significant growth in the UK.  We’re looking forward to strengthening our relationships with our existing British booksellers, meeting potential new clients and having an opportunity to listen and understand the unique challenges facing booksellers and book collectors here.”

The company has strong business ethics. In 2005 Biblio founded non-profit organization, BiblioWorks. Since then, they have used their profits to build twelve public libraries in rural villages of South America.  After the success of the first library project in Morado K'asa, Bolivia, BiblioWorks became a major contributor in the efforts to bring literacy and education to impoverished indigenous communities.”

Firsts London at Battersea Evolution is open from noon - 8pm on Fri 7 June, 11am - 7pm on Sat 8 June, 11am - 5pm on Sunday 9 June and also includes live demonstrations, tours and talks.

Image: Shakespeare's Globe, photo by Clive Sherlock

Three early and signed editions of North of Boston by Robert Frost.jpgThomaston, Maine — On Friday, March 1, an exceptional selection of rare books, graphic arts, and important documents will be sold at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries.

The 89 lots of important first edition, signed, and fore-edge painted books in the sale are from a collection of 19th and 20th century literature assembled in the 1960s through 1980s by an international investment banker.  

The books will include 21 lots of first, limited and/or signed edition titles by Robert Frost, such as: three editions (first and signed limited, and first American printing) of his 1914 work “North of Boston”; four editions (signed, limited and firsts) of “New Hampshire”; and two editions (first edition-first printing and later) of “Mountain Interval”.

Also, from the rare book group will be: a 1935 limited deluxe edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Tales of Mystery & Imagination”, illustrated and signed by Arthur Rackham; a first edition copy of “Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain with fore-edge painting depicting two scenes in the book; and a second edition two volume set of “The Complete Angler” by Izaak Walton and Charles Cotton, (London, Nattali and Bond, 1860), each volume with fore-edge painting and in fine calf binding by George Bayntun.

A first edition copy of John Thomas James’ “Journal of a Tour in Germany, Sweden, Russia, Poland, During the Years 1813 and 1814” (London, John Murray, 1816) will be sold.  This was one of only 12 copies of this title issued with 18 fine engraved India proof plates of scenic views of Germany, Sweden, Russia and Poland, a vignette title page, and tailpiece plan of Moscow.

The auction will present a group of important photographic images, such as:  “Pingpank Barber Shop” by Berenice Abbott (NY/ME, 1898-1991); “JFK in the Oval Office” by George Tames (DC, 1919-1994); and “Qunia’ika, Mohave”, a 1903 large format photogravure from “The North American Indian” by Edward Sheriff Curtis (WI/CA, 1868-1952).

There will also be a variety of art prints, including: “I’m Busy for the Rest of My Life”, a signed archival inkjet print by Peter Tunney (NY, 1961- ); a 1959 signed linocut by Pablo Picasso  (Spain/France, 1881-1973) titled “Picador et Torero”;  a Fernand Leger (CT/CA/France, 1881-1955) 1924 limited edition signed and numbered serigraph “Composition Abstraite”; and “Love 2000”, a composition printed on self-adhesive vinyl for exterior display by Robert Indiana (ME, 1928-2018).

The collection of ephemera will include two King Louis XV signed military documents, two letters signed by Napoleon; two lots of Admiral Byrd/Antarctic Expedition related documents; and an 1850-1870s autograph book containing signatures of U.S. Grant, his cabinet and other significant individuals from that time.

This sale will represent the first day of a three-session auction event.  On Saturday and Sunday, March 2 and 3, a glorious inventory of fine art, early American furniture, Chinese antiquities, rare watches and jewelry, estate silver, decorative arts, and oriental carpets will be sold.

The auction will begin at 11:00 a.m. EST each day.  A complete, full color catalog, with detailed descriptions and photographs, is available, and all lots can be viewed at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries’ website, www.thomastonauction.com.  

In addition to live bidding in the auction hall, Thomaston Place accepts bids via absentee, telephone, and on the internet.  Please call 1-207-354-8141 for more information, or to reserve seats in the auction hall.  

The gallery will be open for previews Monday, February 25th through Thursday, February 28th (between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. each day) and from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning before the auction begins.  

Thomaston Place Auction Galleries is Maine’s premier international auction company located on U.S. Route 1 in Thomaston.  Thomaston Place is a leader in discovering Maine’s antique and fine art treasures by offering Free Appraisals each Tuesday at the gallery, creating fundraiser events for civic and charitable organizations, and providing house call appraisal services.  Their expertise in researching and marketing antiques and fine art has earned Thomaston Place the respect of buyers, collectors and experts worldwide.

Image: Three early and signed editions of “North of Boston” by Robert Frost

Federalist Boards.jpgDallas, TX - An important piece of American history will be offered when a rare copy of The Federalist: A Collection of Essays, Written in Favour of the New Constitution still in its original publisher’s boards crosses the block in Heritage Auctions’ Rare Books Auction March 6 in New York.

“The Federalist Papers were written as part of an effort to get the New York delegation to ratify the Constitution - it made the case for Federalism and sought to convince the citizens of the states,” Heritage Auctions Rare Books Director James Gannon said. “Probably around 500 copies were printed, and this example is particularly rare because it’s still in the publisher’s boards. You just don’t find them like this.”

The board bindings were meant to be temporary, and purchasers of books in the 18th century would have their binders trim the edges and then rebind the book in calf, so a copy in this configuration is an undeniable rarity.

The books, with a pre-auction estimate of $75,000+, originally were published in New York newspapers under the pseudonym, “Publius,” and without the authors’ names in this first collected edition. But the real names of the authors - Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay - are hand-written on the title page.

The lot is in two volumes, published two months apart: March 22 and May 28, 1788. According to Printing and the Mind of Man, “The eighty-five essays, under the pseudonym 'Publius,' were designed as political propaganda, not as a treatise of political philosophy. In spite of this The Federalist survives as one of the new nation's most important contributions to the theory of government.”

rejlander23_low.jpgLos Angeles - Oscar G. Rejlander (British, born Sweden, 1813-1875) was one of the 19th century’s greatest innovators in the medium of photography, counting Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Charles Darwin, Lewis Carroll and Julia Margaret Cameron among his devotees. Nevertheless, the extent of Rejlander’s work and career has often been overlooked. Oscar Rejlander: Artist Photographer, on view March 12-June 9, 2019 at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center, Los Angeles, is the first exhibition to explore the prolific career of the artist who became known as “the father of art photography,” and whose bold experimentation with photographic techniques early in the medium’s development and keen understanding of human emotion were ahead of their time.

The exhibition features 150 photographs that demonstrate Rejlander’s remarkable range, from landscapes and portraits to allegories and witty commentaries on contemporary society, alongside a selection of his early paintings, drawings, and prints.

“Rejlander tells us in his writings that ‘It is the mind of the artist, and not the nature of his materials, which makes his production a work of art,’” says Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “While technologies have dramatically changed, some of the fundamental issues that Rejlander grappled with in his photographs still resonate with photographic practice today. His photographs, though made a century and a half ago, are both meticulously of their time and timeless, foreshadowing many later achievements of the medium through to the digital age.”

Oscar G. Rejlander was born in Sweden and moved to England in 1839, working first as a painter before turning to photography in 1852. He made a living as a portrait photographer while experimenting with photographic techniques, most notably combination printing, in which parts of multiple negatives were exposed separately and then printed to form a single picture. Rejlander moved to London in 1862, where his business continued to grow and where his wife, Mary Bull, worked alongside him in his photography studios.

Portraits and Images of Everyday Life

Portraiture, particularly of members of the higher ranks of London society, was Rejlander’s main professional activity and supported his livelihood. Art critics and clients alike admired his skill with lighting as well as the natural and seemingly spontaneous expressions he was able to capture. Rejlander photographed some of the most important figures of the day, including the English scientist Charles Darwin, known for his theory of evolution, and poets Alfred Lord Tennyson and Henry Taylor. He also guided the first photographic efforts of the writer and mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (known as Lewis Carroll), the creator of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as well as photographer Julia Margaret Cameron.

From the beginning of his career as a photographer, Rejlander was keenly interested in depicting the activities of ordinary people, particularly the middle and lower classes of society. It was through his staged domestic images that he illustrated familial relationships with tenderness and humor, often using models and props to re-create in his studio the scenes he had witnessed in the streets, from young boys who swept up dirt and debris in exchange for tips, to street vendors such as “flower girls” who offered bouquets for sale to passersby. Like a modern street photographer, Rejlander chose his compositions and subjects based on what he saw and heard, realizing the final images in the studio.

In 1863 Rejlander constructed a unique iron, wood, and glass “tunnel studio,” where the sitter, positioned in the open, light-filled part of the studio, would look into the darker part of the room where the camera and operator were situated, nearly invisible. The pupils of the sitters’ eyes expanded, allowing for “more depth and expression,” as a writer observed in Photographic News. In addition to this technique, Rejlander often exploited his own unique ability to enact exaggerated emotions to assist his subjects. Charles Darwin illustrated many of Rejlander’s expressive photographs in The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, published in 1872.

Combination Printing and Two Ways of Life

Rejlander holds an important place in the history of photography primarily because of the groundbreaking way he applied the technique of combination printing. On view in the exhibition is the most ambitious example of the artist’s pioneering experimentation, the epic photograph, or Hope in Repentance (1857). It attracted immediate attention upon its exhibition both for its large size and the ambition of its production, which included the combination printing of over 30 separate wet collodion on glass negatives, a process that took more than three days.

The work represents an intricate allegory of two opposing philosophies of life: Vice and Virtue. In the center of the picture, a wise man guides a younger man to the right, toward a life of virtue—work, study, and religion. To the left, a second young man is tempted by the call of desire, gambling, idleness, and vice. Prince Albert may have worked with Rejlander on the overall conception of the picture, and he and Queen Victoria purchased three versions for their art collection.

Despite this support from the Royal Family, Two Ways of Life divided the photographic community, with professional photographers considering it a technical tour de force, and amateurs seeing it as not only artificial in production but also immoral in its subject. However, it remains one of finest examples of combination printing to come from this period.

Art and Photography

Today, the debate about photography’s status as an art may be obsolete, but the arts community in 19th-century Britain was passionately divided over Rejlander’s chosen medium. Rejlander strongly advocated the view that photography was an independent art, while he was also convinced that a photograph could help artists by providing an effective substitute for working from live models. He was possibly the first to provide artists with visual references for their work in photographs, creating figure studies in a range of poses and costumes, including close-ups of hands, feet, drapery, and even fleeting facial expressions. Although many painters were reluctant to disclose their reliance on photography, several collected Rejlander’s photographs, including George Frederic Watts (English, 1817-1904) and Henri Fantin-Latour (French, 1836-1904).

Paintings also strongly influenced Rejlander’s choice of subjects, leading him not only to imitate the styles of artists but also to re-create the figures found in their compositions. He frequently photographed actors or models posing as a “Madonna,” a “Devotee,” a “Disciple,” or specific Christian figures such as John the Baptist. He may have intended these studies, as well as others showing figures in classical robes, for artists to consult as well.

 “What we hope comes through in the exhibition is Rejlander’s humanity and humor, as well as his humble nature, particularly evident in the fact that he often sent his work to exhibitions under the name ‘amateur,’” says Karen Hellman, assistant curator of photographs at the Getty Museum. “His explanation: ‘When I compare what I have done with what I think I ought to do, and some day hope I shall do, I think of myself as only an amateur, after all—that is to say, a beginner.’”

Oscar Rejlander: Artist Photographer, is on view March 12-June 9, 2019 at J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center. The exhibition is curated by Lori Pauli, curator of photographs at the National Gallery of Canada, and Karen Hellman, assistant curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Image: Untitled Album of Forty Photographs by Rejlander, about 1865. Object credit: Sir Nicholas Mander

Frazetta Famous FUnnies.jpgDallas, TX - One of just eight Famous Funnies covers by the legendary Frank Frazetta and an unrestored Superman rarity are expected to headline Heritage Auctions’ Comics & Comic Art auction Feb. 21-23 in Dallas, Texas.

“Heritage has enjoyed a streak of several exceptionally successful comics auctions in recent years, and we anticipate that collectors will find similarly irresistible materials in this auction, as well,” Heritage Auctions Vice President Lon Allen said. “This sale features extraordinary lots at the top of the auction - the Frank Frazetta Famous Funnies cover is the first we have offered in 15 years - and includes highly intriguing options for collectors at all levels.”

Frank Frazetta Famous Funnies #209 Cover Original Art (Eastern Color, 1953) is one of just eight covers for the title by the hugely popular artist. With a pre-auction estimate of $300,000+, this is one of the most coveted Frazetta covers for any comic. The image is a prime example of why the artist is revered for his ability to draw women, and of the 1950s-esque “retro” style that is so popular among many collectors. An image like this is extraordinarily rare - the last time Heritage offered a Frazetta Famous Funnies cover was 15 years ago - which understandably fuels the demand among collectors.

Superman #1 (DC, 1939) CGC VG+ 4.5 Cream to off-white pages (estimate: $300,000+) is an exceptionally popular issue, the first in one of the most popular titles in comic history. Considering the issue is nearly 80 years old, nearly all known copies are restored, but the allure to collectors for this copy is due in part to the fact that this one is not. Superman #1 hit the newsstands after his debut in Action Comics #1, boosting the Man of Steel’s popularity to new levels. This issue marked the first time a character created for comic books was given his own title. Roughly a million copies were printed in 1939, but very few are known to have survived at this grade or higher, making it a must-have issue among serious collectors. The issue is ranked No. 3 on Overstreet’s “Top 100 Golden Age Comics” list.

The Incredible Hulk #1 (Marvel, 1962) CGC VF/NM 9.0 Off-white to white pages (estimate: $200,000+) is an exceptional copy of the second-most valuable Silver Age issue. Copies with such a high grade are nearly impossible to find, and this issue with the origin and first appearance of the Hulk is inarguably a highlight in the auction. The issue also features the first appearances of supporting characters Rick Jones, Betty Ross and Thunderbolt Ross, and features art and cover by Jack Kirby.

One of the most dramatic images in the auction is Dave Gibbons Watchmen #1 Cover Original Art (DC, 1986) (estimate: $200,000+). Among the most influential and iconic comic series of the 1980s, Watchmen by Gibbons and Alan Moore had a lasting impact on the industry. The cover of the first issue remains one of the most recognizable images in the series, with the drip of blood on the smiley face button reminiscent of the hands of a clock striking 12 as “time running out” was a recurring theme throughout the series.

Another bold, dramatic image is found on the cover of Journey Into Mystery #83 (Marvel, 1962) CGC NM 9.4 Off-white to white pages (estimate: $200,000+), featuring the origin and first appearance of Thor, who is billed on the cover as “The Most Exciting Super-Hero of All Time!!” This copy carries one of the highest grades known to exist, and is the highest-graded issue offered by Heritage in three years. No. 6 on Overstreet’s “Top 50 Silver Age Comics” list, this issue is considered one of the four most legendary “origin” issues of the early Marvel Age. The cover is by Jack Kirby, who collaborated with Steve Ditko on the issue’s art.

Other top lots include, but are not limited to:

·         Amazing Fantasy #15 (Marvel, 1962) CGC VF- 7.5 Off-white pages: $140,000-up

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Dr. Seuss Letters Sell for $8,529

Los Angeles - Three letters and two pages of illustrations by Dr. Seuss sold tonight for $8,529 at Nate D. Sanders Auctions. The letters and illustrations were directed to fellow author and long-time friend Mike McClintock.

The letters were written in 1957, which was a blockbuster year for Seuss (Theodor Geisel) as both The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas were published that year. Dr. Seuss enthusiastically wrote about the success of his new books and addressed the marketing potential of toys and games based on his characters. The lot comes from the estate of McClintock, who wrote the 1958 children’s book, A Fly Went By.

The first letter in the lot is dated May 19, 1957 and is written on Seuss’ personal stationery. It reads in part, “...you picked me off Madison Ave. with a manuscript that I was about to burn in my incinerator, because nobody would buy it. And you not only told me how to put Mulberry Street together properly...(as you did later with the 500 Hats)...I definitely am going into the by-product field this year. Because the CAT will reach 100,000 very shortly, and the print order on HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS will in the first edition be over 50,000. And the Sat. Eve. Post will talk about this shortly in a profile that I wish to hell that you had written, / ANYHOW, if you want to talk toys and games, I'd rather talk to you than anyone I know…”

In the second letter, Seuss analyzes McClintock’s manuscript for A Fly Went By and also wrote “Cat Reading Game is a swell idea!'' 

Seuss’ last letter was written on December 5, 1957, in which he elaborates on game opportunities for The Cat in the Hat. It reads in part, “…The Hat Cat is doing a thousand a day. Latest printing brings print up to 200,000 in nine months...Which brings me to our toy-making-policy-planning... I believe that by fall...when my 'HAT-CAT COMES BACK' comes out, we'll have the biggest character that has ever come out of childrens' trade books...So, I think we're idiots if we don't think non-educationally, and start off on an opportunistic line......with a Cat-in-the-Hat Doll, Toy, put-together plastic, rag, fuzzy or whatever. But fast! / I'm riding a wave right now that may never again roll so high. So I think we oughta and gotta start in a different way than we planned. And get a Cat Character out as soon as we can. And THEN follow up with the game and the blocks and all the other things we want to do that make sense…”

The lot also includes two pages of several illustrations by Seuss.

Bidding for the lot begins at $3,500.

Additional information on the letter can be found at 
https://natedsanders.com/Fantastic_Dr__Seuss_Lot_of_3_Letters_Signed___Illu-LOT51334.aspx

 

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