May5_01_pics.jpgIthaca, NY—National Book Auctions, located just outside Ithaca, NY, announces the launch of their next auction catalog.  

This catalog features rare, antique and decorative books as well as select additions of ephemera. Featured are prized first printings of titles such as "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and "To Kill a Mockingbird." A selection of fine bindings will be offered, including antique fancy leather bindings and rare selections from the Folio Society.               

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guardian of the Proustian temple

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

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

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

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

A literary adventure

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

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

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

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

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

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

Between love and friendship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Livres et Manuscrits

Auction: 24 May 2018 

Preview: 18, 21, 22 & 23 May

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information on the prize, including previous winners, visit loc.gov/about/awards-and-honors/fiction-prize/.

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

THE EXHIBITION

Introduction

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

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

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

Art

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

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

History

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

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

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

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

Literature

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

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

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

Science and Philosophy

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

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

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

Music and Performing Arts

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

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

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

Publication

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

Public Programs

DISCUSSION

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

Thursday, May 31, 6:30 pm*

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

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

GALLERY TALKS 

The Magic of Handwriting: The Pedro Corrêa do Lago Collection

Christine Nelson, Drue Heinz Curator of Literary and Historical Manuscripts

Friday, June 8, 6 pm

Friday, July 6, 1 pm

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

Auction Guide