20th Century Artists Dominate December Art Books Auction
Works by and about twentieth century artists dominated the scene at Swann Galleries’ biannual sale of Art, Press & Illustrated Books on Thursday, December 1. Of the top 20 lots in the sale, only two were published before 1900. The sale also broke several auction records. The highlight of the sale was a rare limited edition of Das Werk von Gustav Klimt, 1918, the only monograph published in the artist’s lifetime. The retrospective work, with richly printed collotype plates, ten in color with gold and silver highlights, sold to a collector for $60,000. …more
On Thursday, December 8th, PBA Galleries will conduct part II of the Rico Onuma Memorial Auction of Miniature Books from the Lilliput Oval Saloon, Tokyo which offers nearly 5,000 volumes in more than 450 lots of fine antiquarian and modern miniature books. Also included is a selection of miniature book bibliographies and references, as well as several fine hand- crafted leather bookcases specifically designed for miniature books, and an assortment of other cases and accessories for the miniature library. …more
On Thursday, December 8, Swann Galleries will hold an auction of Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books featuring early navigational charts, descriptions of newly discovered plants and animals, celestial maps and scarce impressions of important nineteenth-century views. …more
On Thursday, December 1, Swann Galleries’ Books & Manuscripts department will offer Art, Press & Illustrated Books, with highlights in every category. The sale is led by a set of the exceedingly rare Stridentist journal, Horizonte (1926-1927), edited by Leopoldo Méndez and illustrated by Ramón Alva del Canal and Diego Rivera, among others. It is the most complete run ever to be offered at auction, with nine of the ten issues present, and six highly uncommon supplements. The set is expected to sell between $20,000 and $30,000. …more
Laugh about it, shout about it When you've got to choose Every way you look at this you lose...
I think our presidential elections have become perpetual reality television for many reasons – for one thing it gives steady employment to political reporters and a lot of advertising revenue for people in the television news business. We might hope it will be over and done with come November 8th, but I suspect this is the nightmare that won't go away. My pretty safe prediction is that barely six months into 2017 some television 'news reporters' with nothing better to do will be stirring up speculation about likely candidates for 2020 and start the cycle all over again. I placed 'news reporters' in single quotes because by now it must be fairly obvious that journalists have all but given up their traditional role of being disinterested professionals and have become enthusiastic and unashamed curators …more
On Thursday, November 17, Swann Galleries will hold an auction of Printed & Manuscript Americana, featuring historical documents relating to Mormons, conquistadors, and more. Early selections include the 1535 first Italian edition of Libro Primo de la conquista del Peru & provincial del Cuzco, a contemporary narrative of Peruvian conquest under Francisco Pizarro, written at his request by his secretary, Francisco Xerez ($12,000 to $18,000). …more
(The Battle of Chatillon - Rare History of 2nd Corps Aero School) Wurzburg, Lt. Donald B. The Battle of Chatillon. Grand Rapids, Michigan, Dean-Hicks Publ., 1919. First edition, 8x11", 136pp, heavily photo illus., roster of pilot graduates to include sqdn of follow-on assignment. Condition as-new. Interesting story: in about 1975-80 I saw an ad for this book from Don's Book Store in my hometown of Grand Rapids. I ordered a copy and it came wrapped in manila paper as from the publisher. I called Don and he said he discovered a case of these books in a warehouse. He had 10 copies left and I bought them all. This one came back to me from a collection I purchased. Very, very rare. $225.00(more on this and other books available from Early Aeronautica)
Roosevelt, Theodore.A Book-Lover's Holidays In The Open. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1916. First Edition. Hardcover. Octavo; pp. x,(vi), 373, (ii), appendices, ad leaf for Life Histories; Illustrated; color frontispiece by Ted Pitman, and two additional black and white illustrations; blue cloth, gilt device, top edge gilt. A collection of varied pieces from hunting cougars to Hopi... $125.00 (more on this and other books available from Theodore Roosevelt Books)
Burns, Robert. Works of Robert Burns. London;: James Cochrane and Co. 1834. The works in eight volumes with a biographical sketch by Allan Cunningham and the preface to the first Kilmanock (1786) in the first volume; and second Edinburgh (1787) edition reprinted in the second volume. First of this edition. Bound in full leather; red spine with raised bands; and green boards. Six spine compartments with gilt designs. Gilt border lines with circles at each corner. Marbled endpapers and top edge gilt. Contains his poetry, prose and letters. Each volume has an engraved frontispiece – the first is of Burns – and pictorial title-pages, as well as the regular printed title page. All volumes have 1834 in gilt at bottom of spines. Tasteful bookplate of John Randolph Harrison on front pastedowns. Very attractive set. $1,000.00 (more on this and other books available from Quill & Brush)
De Bury, Richard. Philobiblon: A Treatise on the Love of Books.;The English translation thereof made by John Bellingham Inglis, with introduction by Charles Orr, Librarian of Case Library, Cleveland. New York: Meyer Brothers, 1899. Limited Edition. Original Boards. pp: xxxvi, 143. Bound in brown boards, paper spine label; top edges gilt, others rough-trimmed; clear tape applied over spine. Collector's book ticket and pencilled name and address on endpapers. 9" x 6.25" Limited to 500 copies, of which this is #437. $45.00(more on this and other books available from R & A Petrilla)
Solis [y Ribadeneyra], Antonio de. The History of the Conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards. Translated from the Original Spanish of Don Antonio de Solis [y Ribadeneyra], Secretary and Historiographer to His Catholick Majesty, by Thomas Townsend, Esq; The whole Translation Revised and Corrected by Nathanael [sic] Hooke, Esq;… The Third Edition. London: Printed for H. Lintot; J. Whiston and B. White, at Mr. Boyle’s Head, and L. Davis, at Lord Bacon’s Head, both in Fleet-street; and D. Wilson, at Plato’s Head, in the Strand, MDCCLIII . 12mo., xvi, 384, folding frontispiece, 2 folding maps, 4 folding plates; x, 386pp., 2 folding plates. Bound in contemporary full calf, double-ruled gilt borders, raised bands, red leather labels intact. SABIN 86491. According to Sabin copies held by the Library of Congress, Library Company of Philadelphia, New York Public Library et al. have only two plates in volume 2. External hinges of volume 1 tender and beginning to crack, o/w a very nice set with plates in brilliant condition. $750.00 (more on this and other books available from John C. Huckans Books)
The day after the California primary the television news organizations lost little time analyzing the results. My personal bias, shared by many others, is of someone who being unable to support either major party candidate, will be going the third party route for the fourth consecutive election cycle. My respect for Bernie Sanders, even though I disagreed with him on several issues, is now moot. So it might well be 1856 all over again, but more on that later.
Honest television news coverage is hard to come by, but I find the PBS News Hour the least objectionable of the lot – no pharmaceutical ads or breathless celebration of pop culture personalities is a pretty good competitive advantage. Having said that, I was quite surprised (well, not really) by the list of guest analysts Judy Woodruff had on the News Hour the day after the primary. The three she invited to analyze Mrs. Clinton's big win in California and consequent locking up of the Democrat nomination, took turns gushing, giggling and swooning over the prospect of a …more
Five hundred years ago a monk in a backwater town at the edge of Germany took on the most powerful men in Europe—the Holy Roman Emperor and the Pope—and he won. Martin Luther’s Reformation ranks among the most successful religious movements in history, altering western society and culture forever, and was a testament to his creative use of communications, notably rapidly evolving print technology, to promote his views. …more
Charlotte Brontë: An Independent Will, an important upcoming exhibition, opens at the Morgan Library & Museum (New York) on September 9, 2016, and will remain on view through January 2, 2017. From the time Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre was first published in 1847, readers have been drawn to the orphan protagonist who declared herself “a free human being with an independent will.” Like her famous fictional creation, Brontë herself took bold steps throughout her life to pursue personal and professional fulfillment. …more
The 50th California International Antiquarian Book Fair, recognized as one of the world's largest and most prestigious exhibitions of antiquarian books, returns to Northern California to celebrate its 50th Anniversary, Friday, February 10 through Sunday, February 12, 2017 at the Oakland Marriott City Center.
Sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA) and the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers (ILAB) and featuring the collections and treasures of nearly 200 booksellers from over 20 countries around the world, the three-day Fair gives visitors the opportunity to see, learn about and purchase the finest in rare and valuable books, manuscripts, maps, autographs, graphics, photographs, fine bindings; children's and illustrated books, and ephemera from many centuries and countries.
This year’s Book Fair will include a special exhibit from The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, which has a long history of collecting literary fiction of California. In more recent years, that scope has expanded to include mystery and detective, fantasy and science, and western fiction. This special exhibit will highlight California authors’ notable contributions in genre fiction and will emphasize …more
Events of late have made me wonder if Darwin got it only half right. I don't quarrel with the theory, as proposed in On the Origin of Species (1859) and The Descent of Man (1871), that modern man evolved from earlier primates and the earlier primates from mammals, that in all probability, evolved from even more primitive life forms. Even though I don't pretend to be anything close to a biologist, it all just seems to make a lot of sense. Some of us agree with Darwin's theories, some not. Some people argue the subject heatedly, while others simply agree to disagree. That is what civilized people do. What uncivilized people do is kill others who do not believe as they do. …more
A friend in Germany has been a bit dazed and confused by the American presidential campaign and wondered if I, as an American, might be able to explain the Trump phenomenon. I can't, but here goes anyway...
The front-runners of the two major political parties would head my short list for a Who's Who of weird participants in the 2016 Flying Political Circus. Mr. Trump has no trouble coming up with endlessly reported soundbites that make a lot of people cringe, seems hell-bent on establishing himself as the Andrew Dice Clay of American politics, and then compounds the felony by having a lousy interior decorator. …more
Not too long ago I caught a PBS broadcast of a production of one of the grandest of French operas, Hector Berlioz's “Les Troyens”. Berlioz himself wrote the libretto based on the Aeneid, a sort of Roman-centered epic poem that Virgil concocted from various sources, including a rip-roaring tale by a blind poet named Homer who may or may not have been blind or who may or may not have even existed. Either way it doesn't much matter because the story is a good one.
The first two acts of the opera center around Cassandra, the daughter of Priam who had received the gift of prophecy and then, according to which story you believe, was cursed by Apollo when she refused his attentions which turned out to be more than Platonic. The curse ran something like this – she could predict, prophesy, rant and otherwise warn about all sorts of bad things to come until she was blue in the face, but no matter what she might say no one would believe her. But that was only the half of it – for her troubles she would be insulted, branded as a liar, a mad woman or all three.
In one of her delusions she thought there was something fishy and not quite right about the gigantic wooden horse that the Greeks had wheeled up in front of the gates of the city. Right off she smelled a rat (or maybe it was the fish) and set out with an axe and a torch to destroy the thing along with any cargo that might be in the hold. …more