Book and print media collectors of every sort will satisfy their collecting interests at the 47th annual Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair, Saturday, October 19th. The 2019 event is again hosted at the historic Rochester, N.Y. Main Street Armory. Three dozen dealers from more than a half dozen states, from Minnesota to the Carolinas, will offer a trove of biblio-treasures including rare, collectible and scholarly books as well as prints, maps, photographica and collectible ephemera embracing a broad range of subjects and categories.
The annual Book Fair is an event that helps define Rochester as a vibrant community and as a destination for those enamored of the print medium and the subject matter it contains. Hard-to-find, out-of-print, beautifully printed, and books in artistic, finely executed bindings will all be on display and available for purchase.
The fair has an interesting history. Begun in the early 1970s and held for several years in the reserve reading rooms of the Rush Rhees Library at the University of Rochester, the Rochester Antiquarian Book Fair is the oldest regional Antiquarian Book Fair in the nation. The Fair is …more
Some of the highlights from Catalogue 85 (Autograph Musical Manuscripts & Letters of Composers, First & Early Editions of Printed Music, Rare Books on Music Iconography) include: Beethoven. First edition of the full score of the 9th Symphony, with a presentation inscription from Charles Munch to Alfred Cortot (item 4); Brahms. First edition of the full score of the 2nd Symphony (item 14); Dufay, Grenon, & Binchois. Important early 15th century secular polyphonic manuscript (item 40); Grieg. Autograph cadenza of an unrecorded work (item 48); Hummel. Autograph of possibly the composer’s last work (item 55); Liszt. Rare private printing of Liszt’s Prefaces (item 65); Millico & Burney. Late 18th century manuscript Ariettes by Millico bound with an early manuscript of Burney’s setting of God Save the King (item 78); Moscheles. Autograph manuscript of an unrecorded work for solo piano (item 79); Petri. Archive of correspondence between Egon Petri and …more
Swann Galleries will open its fall 2019 season on Thursday, September 19 with a sale of 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings. Replete with exceptional pieces by European and American visionaries, the auction features work from nineteenth-century harbingers of modernism through the major modern art movements of the twentieth century.
Marc Chagall, who held an avid interest in the circus throughout his career, leads the sale with one of his most widely-appreciated livres d’artiste, Cirque—a 1967 portfolio with complete text, 38 lithographs. The lively work is expected to bring $120,000 to $180,000. Additional portfolios by Chagall include Les Sept Péchés Capitaux, a 1926 bound volume with complete text and 17 etchings, two signed in pencil ($8,000-12,000); and Regards sur Paris, 1963, with complete text and three color lithographs by the artist, as well as an additional 30 prints by others, such as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque ($10,000-15,000).
Additional modern highlights include a complete set of 22 drypoints by Elie Nadelman from 1951 ($20,000-30,000); FemmeNue Pêchant des Truites à la Main, color linoleum print, 1962, by Picasso ($20,000-30,000); and Odalisque au Coffret Rouge, color aquatint, circa 1952, by Henri Matisse ($20,000-30,000).
From the turn of the nineteenth century come several important drypoints by Mary Cassatt including The Crocheting Lesson, circa 1902 ($15,000-20,000), Margot Leaning Against Her Mother, circa 1902 ($12,000-18,000), …more
One of the oldest and most respected antiquarian book events in the country, the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair will be held November 15-17, 2019 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. On exhibit and for sale will be selected offerings from the collections of more than 130 booksellers from the United States and other countries. The event will give visitors the opportunity to see, learn about, and acquire the finest in rare and valuable books, illuminated manuscripts, autographs, political and historical documents, maps, atlases, photographs, fine and decorative prints, and more.
In recent years, younger collectors have been increasingly interested in selected offerings at more affordable prices. For attendees wanting to start a collection, there will be dealers offering “Discovery” items priced at $100 or less, including children’s books and decorative cloth bindings. The Fair will provide an opportunity for people to learn how to start a collection and speak to dealers who are experts in their fields.
Tickets are $25 for the Friday night’s opening night preview, an opportunity for the public to get a first look and a chance to purchase items that will be for sale at the Fair. Admission is free on Saturday and Sunday. Special events at the 2019 fair, including a roster of speakers, the Ticknor Society Roundtable, and opportunities for free appraisals, will be announced in …more
Covering five centuries and the entire Western hemisphere, Swann Galleries’ September 26th sale of Printed & Manuscript Americana includes archives documenting slavery and abolition, printings of the Declaration of Independence, Civil War diaries, good quality Utah and Mormon material, and Latin Americana.
An extensive and detailed record of the Underground Railroad includes an archive that once belonged to the Shugart family. Zachariah Taylor Shugart was a known agent of the Underground Railroad circa 1840-51. The documents include his account book listing 107 passengers Shugart helped from 1841-43. Early entries in the log give complete names, such as Samuel Strawther, while others are incomplete or more evocative, including “Ellen Something” and “North Star.” Additional material includes letters from Shugart’s son during the Civil War and a pocket diary kept by Shugart. The archive, contains 63 items and is estimated at $30,000 to $40,000.
Substantial business records from the Dickinson & Shewsbury salt works in West Virginia are also featured in the sale. The archive contains more than 2,000 items, documenting numerous enslaved people who aided in the salt production. Most notably are records of family members of Booker T. Washington, who lived in the area after abolition. The historic lot is expected to bring $80,000 to $120,000, a testament of its potential for scholarship.
An impressive run of 12 different printings of the Declaration of Independence is featured in the sale. Highlights include an 1833 copy of the Force printing by William J. Stone—the first accurate facsimile printing of the Declaration of Independence and the basis for what we now know as …more
The literati have a fascination for the supposedly arcane world of old bookselling, on which Richard capitalised wonderfully. But it’s just a business like any other. In the '70s, ‘Doctor Nothman’ (a suitable pseudonym) had a first edition shop in Covent Garden. The Guardian one day effused that it was open all night, instead of in the day, the first ever, how wonderful. Two days later the Telegraph joyfully reported that he had fled to Switzerland, leaving the residue and the debts behind. Surprising that bailiffs read the Guardian.
I first met Richard when he came in his pomp to my Leeds shop, on a buying trip to the North. He’d flown up while his driver brought the Roller, and an accompanying van with two men to take the books back to Hay. He only wanted …more
The Morgan Library & Museum has announced their public programming schedule for Fall 2019. Exploring and celebrating the intersection of art, literature, and music, the diverse line-up of programs includes lectures and conversations, gallery talks, film screenings, workshops, family programs, performances, and more. Highlights include film screenings with Duane Michals on the occasion of Illusions of the Photographer: Duane Michals at the Morgan, special American Ballet Theatre performances inspired by Verdi: Otello and Falstaff—Highlights from the Ricordi Archive, and a chance to ‘Strike a Pose’ with John Singer Sargent: Portraits in Charcoal. Tickets are now on sale for all Fall 2019 programs. For more information, please visit www.themorgan.org.
Lectures & Conversations:
Hogarth: Cruelty and Crime
In this lecture, Meredith Gamer, Assistant Professor of Art History at Columbia University, explores the origins, evolution, and multilayered meanings of William Hogarth’s The Four Stages of Cruelty (1751). A tale of neglect and abuse, murder and punishment, the series was—by eighteenth-century standards—one of Hogarth’s “lowest” works. Paradoxically, however, it is also one of his most ambitious, for it aims to combat …more
Swann Galleries’ summer sale of Vintage Posters on Wednesday, August 7 was a lively event with active bidding across all platforms. “Many of the auction's niche collecting categories saw heated competition for trophy pieces, including sections on propaganda, sports and auto racing, as well as beach and summer resort posters,” noted Nicholas D. Lowry, Vintage Posters Director and house President. The sale saw six record prices and brought a number of posters to market for the first time.
The house’s most extensive selection of automobile posters to date saw competitive bidding from car aficionados. Highlights included a 1970 ad for Porsche prominently featuring actor Steve McQueen, which earned a record $7,000 over a high estimate of $1,200; and Ludwig Hohlwein’s 1914 Mercedes poster in German, which brought $10,000.
Sergio Trujillo Magnenat’s advertisements for the first Bolivarian Games in 1938 proved to be successful in his market debut, with all of the four works on offer finding buyers. His designs promoting track-and-field events—javelin, and discus—earned $4,160 apiece, while the designs for tennis and polo were won for $4,000 and $2,470, respectively.
War and political propaganda included William Sanger’s 1936 campaign poster for Roosevelt and Lehman, a first at auction for the image and a record for the artist at $7,250. James Montgomery Flagg was present with his iconic 1917 image featuring Uncle Sam, I Want You for U.S. Army, and his circa 1918 call to join the marines featuring a soldier riding a leopard ($4,940 and $5,500, respectively). Howard Chandler Christy’s Aviation / Fly with the U.S. Marines, 1920, rounded out the selection at $6,750.
The sale was led by Alphonse Mucha’s The Seasons, four decorative panels on silk, 1900, at $14,300. Also by Mucha was Lance Parfum Rodo, 1896, an early work by …more
(originally published in the Sept/Oct 2003 issue of Book Source Magazine)
The Victorian period, especially in England, was a hotbed for architectural follies. In an article on Victorian follies in the July 2003 issue of The Antiquer, Adele Kenny notes several definitions, including the Oxford English Dictionary’s kindly and understated — “a popular name for any costly structure considered to have shown folly in the builder.” Chambers goes a bit further with “a great useless structure, or one left unfinished, having begun without a reckoning of the cost” and the Oxford Companion to Gardens, in case we still don’t get it, says architectural follies are “characterized by a certain excess in terms of eccentricity, cost or conspicuous inutility.” I think the two words “conspicuous inutility” sum it up best, but say what you will a lot of us love them all the same.
Architectural follies began to appear in England during the 18th century but it wasn’t until the early industrial period of the 19th century that wealthy new owners of landed estates were able to indulge their fantasies on a grand scale. The construction of great stone towers of various shapes and sizes, faux Greek Parthenons, private churches or chapels, obelisks and other monuments to impracticality (often left unfinished so as to suggest ruins from a distant past) in many ways represented a subconscious rebellion against the utilitarianism of the factory age — and were often built by the industrialists themselves.
Swann Galleries is poised to offer a rare look at Herman Melville’s personal library in a timely sale announced on the eve of the author’s bicentennial (August 1st). Two volumes of Greek & Roman classics owned—and heavily annotated—by Melville are set to come across the block in Fine Books & Manuscripts on October 10.
In March of 1849, a year prior to Moby Dick’s publication, Melville purchased a 37-volume set of classics from the publishing company Harper and Brothers. Here, making their market debut, are Euripides, Juvenal and Persius, in the only two known surviving volumes from the set once owned by the author. Melville’s autograph can be found in the volume containing Juvenal and Persius, and all are marked with numerous annotations illuminating which passages were of interest to the author. Also featured throughout are brief observations, most notably his annotation to Samuel Johnson’s The Vanity of Human Wishes, an imitation of the Tenth Satire in Juvenal, which reads: "Prose is uncertain, verse still more so. But the meaning here would seem to be—Virtue, tired with contempt, gives it up, and latches herself for self-support to Pride & Prudence; but fails here; i.e., perishes, probably, on the gallows—of slander, most likely."
Possibly the most interesting revelation from the volumes is that the author brought them shipboard on an 1860 New York to San Francisco trip aboard the Meteor. The names of places often appear in the books Melville traveled with. The present classics are annotated with the initials C.H and C. Horn., marking his time as he rounded Chile’s Cape Horn. From his letters we know that Melville occupied his time during the long trip with the study of poetry, the marginalia found within the volumes provides a more complete understanding of the author and the poetic literature that became the focus of his later works. Expected to bring $40,000 to $60,000, the discovery is the first works from Melville’s library to come to auction in more than a decade.
The full catalogue, which in addition to Autographs will feature 19th & 20th Century Literature and Art, Fine Press & Illustrated Books, will be available in …more
The summer book fairs are in full swing and unless my perception is skewed, it appears that more fairs have been scheduled for the current summer travel season than has been the case in recent years. The Rose City Book Fair (Portland, OR) took place in mid-June, but so far we've had no report on participation or attendance other than the event was a success.
The Cooperstown Antiquarian Book Fair on June 29th was the most well attended in years and there was a significant increase in the number of booksellers participating. Hotel accommodations in Cooperstown can be expensive at almost any time of the year, but in summer it is especially so. To alleviate this ongoing problem, book fair organizers Willis Monie and Mary Brodzinsky arranged with fellow members of the Cooperstown Foundation for Excellence in Education (CFEE) to host visiting booksellers in return for a tax deductible contribution to the foundation, whose purpose is to fund educational enrichment programs not ordinarily provided for by the school budget. The experiment, which turned out to be …more
J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians have just issued their “New Acquisitions July 2019” list. It contains 20 unique items dating from the 16th through 20th centuries, including a 17th century manuscript collection of sacred and secular music by 16th and 17th century composers for multiple voices, one of eight part books formerly in the important ducal collection of Georg Rudolf of Liegnitz in Silesia. Only three other books from the set are known to have survived following the dispersal of the collection during the Second World War, all in European institutional collections. Other items of interest include a fine engraved portrait of Beethoven considered to be one of the most authentic likenesses of the composer; a copy of a rare 1626 Spanish organ treatise by Correa De Arauxo, Libro de tientos, containing one of the most important collections of contemporary organ music printed in tablature; and an attractively-bound copy of …more
“There was strong bidding across the board and it’s hard not to be pleased with the general outcome of the sale,” said Maps & Atlases Specialist, Caleb Kiffer of Swann Galleries June 6 sale of Maps & Atlases, Natural Science & Color Plate Books which saw an 84% sell-through rate. Highlights included rare cartographic publications by Lewis Evans and Petrus Plancius, as well as color plate books by John Fisk Allen and Willian Sharp.
The star of the auction was the May 2, 1755 draft of A General Map of the Middle British Colonies in America by Lewis Evans. The early proof of the historic map that which documented the Colonies into Ohio for the first time sold for $125,000. “Having the opportunity to bring the Lewis Evans 1755 pre-production proof copy to auction has been a highlight of my many years in this business. It jump-started my heart the moment the consignor presented it to me and continued beating at a fast pace up until the moment it hammered. I'm calling the map an artifact, which it truly is, and having it double the estimate demonstrates its historical significance. I'm very pleased with the outcome and honored to have brought it out into the public realm here at Swann Galleries,” Kiffer said of the offering.
A 1792 Plan of the Town of Baltimore and its Environs by Antoinne Pierre Folie ($21,250) and John Montresor’s large 1775 map of the Hudson River Valley ($8,125) concluded a overall spectacular offering of American cartography.
Decorative cartography of note included Petrus Plancius’ 1592-94 map of Southern Africa, which featured fanciful beasts, sea monsters and a scene of giant lobsters devouring a ship ($87,500). Two works by Pieter Verbiest found success: a double-hemispheric world map from 1636 reached $25,000, as well as a 1639 representation of Spain and Portugal sold for $8,450.
John Fisk Allen and William Sharp’s Victoria Regia, 1854, which consisted of six chromolithographed plates of the life phases of the Great Water Lily of America, lead the selection of natural history and color plate books at …more
On June 9, Freeman’s held its ever popular, semi-annual American Art & Pennsylvania Impressionists auction, a strong sale that boasted an impressive array of works by many well-known artists. The auction was well attended, with a full house (despite very tempting beach weather) and many national and international phone bidders, including prominent private collectors and several institutions. The sale totaled $2.47 million (BP inclusive) with 81% of the lots sold.
Most notably, a stunning, early portrait by artist Cecilia Beaux (1855-1942) depicting her life-long friend dressed as the mythological water nymph, Undine (Lot 19) soared above its initial estimate of $60,000-80,000, eventually selling to a New England institution for a record-breaking $454,000. After spirited bidding between numerous phone bidders, private collectors and institutions around the country, Ethel Page as Undine established a new world auction record for the artist. This impressive result reflects the current strong market interest in female artists, and for Beaux herself, who has been hitherto underappreciated. The successful sale of this portrait also reaffirms Freeman’s as the preeminent auction house for handling works made in Philadelphia. The painting was originally executed on Chestnut Street in 1885, and it seems only natural that …more
J & J Lubrano Music Antiquarians have just issued their “New Acquisitions” list. It contains an interesting and diverse assortment of 27 music- and dance-related items spanning the 16th through 20th centuries. Things that caught our attention include the first edition, first issue of Handel’s famous opera Il Radamisto published in London in 1720 and first produced at The Haymarket Theatre on April 27, 1720 with King George I and his entourage in attendance; La Tonotechnie ou l’Art de Noter les Cylindres by Marie Engramelle, published in Paris in 1775, a treatise discussing how to play the musical cylinders, a mechanical musical instrument for which both Mozart and Haydn had composed; an unusually early (1839) unpublished letter written by Richard Wagner to the conductor Heinrich Dorn, his successor at the State Theater in Riga, protesting the manner in which he had been usurped by …more
Michael Rechtenwald is an academic who after setting sail on an academic career as professor of liberal studies at a well-known eastern university, gradually learned he had signed up to crew on what some people might call a ship of fools. Springtime for Snowflakes: Social Justice and Its Postmodern Parentage [London & Nashville: New English Review Press, 2018] is an unusual blend of a memoir of his formative years growing up in a working class home in Pittsburgh; the undergraduate gap-period interlude at the Naropa Institute where he served as an apprentice and teaching assistant to Allen Ginsburg who ran Naropa and the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in a store-front location on Pearl St. in Boulder, Colorado during the 1970s; his post-graduate studies at Case Western Reserve and Carnegie Mellon universities; unusual experiences as a professor at NYU; and an appendix comprised of a mix of initially anonymous social media postings that got him into hot water with many of his colleagues.
Rechtenwald's father was an independent contractor who ran his remodeling business from the family home on Waldorf Street on Pittsburgh's north side. When it came time for high school his father tried to enroll Michael in the exclusive Shadyside Academy, considered the city's best prep school at the time, and the headmaster's discouraging response “... although I believe your son would do well here academically, I'm afraid that he wouldn't fit in... socially...” probably influenced his later decision to pursue Marxist critical theory. At any rate he …more
Swann Galleries’ Printed & Manuscript Americana sale on Thursday, April 16 was the house’s third straight sale in the category to finish over $1,000,000, achieving several significant records. Institutions made up the bulk of the buyers. Specialist Rick Stattler commented: “The market remains vigorous for scarce and important material, with five-figure highlights in all of our main subject areas: early American imprints, the American Revolution, Civil War, Mormons, the West, and Latin Americana.”
Mexican imprints proved to be popular with six earning top prices in the sale. Highlights included a first edition 1674 pamphlet by famed Mexican poetess Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, consisting of Christmas carols to be sung in honor of the thirteenth-century St. Pedro Nolasco. It set a record for the author at $45,000. Juan Navarro’s 1604 Liber in quo quatuor passions Christi Domini continentur, the first music by a New World composer printed in the Americas, earned $32,500, and a first edition of Alonso de Molina’s 1565 full-length confessional manual with instructions on the administration of the sacraments, written in Nahuatl and Spanish, brought $21,250. Mexican manuscripts featured an extensive illustrated file detailing a land dispute between a ranch owner and his Nahua neighbors, with 350 manuscript pages ($30,000).
“The successful sale of the Holzer Lincolniana collection last fall brought in a strong group of related material for this auction, including our top lot, a beautiful portrait of Lincoln by Matthew Henry Wilson,” said Stattler–the artist’s copy of the last portrait rendered from life set a record for Wilson at $55,000. Other Lincoln and Civil War material of note included a newspaper extra from Detroit announcing Lincoln’s assassination, which topped its high estimate at $15,000, a likely record for any newspaper with that news, and Benson Lossing’s Pictorial History of the Civil War of the United States of America, 1866-68, ($15,000).
Texas material was led by the manuscript diary of William Farrar Smith documenting the 1849 Whiting-Smith Expedition to form a trail from San Antonio to El Paso ($47,500) and a first edition of Batholomé Garcia’s Manual para Administrar los Santos Sacramentos, 1760, the only early work published in the Pakawan language at …more
Garry R. Austin, 71 of Wilmington, VT died peacefully after a long battle with MDS and AML, at the Centers for Living and rehabilitation in Bennington, VT on April 14, 2019. He was the son of Arlene H. Austin of Syracuse, NY. In 1982 he was married to the former Karen Flanders, also of Syracuse, on a lawn overlooking the ocean in Wells, ME. Garry's early education was in the Catholic school system in Syracuse, NY. After sampling several colleges, he finished his Bachelor's at SUNY Oswego in 1975.
Garry's athletic ability in lacrosse led him to play in school and with the NALA. His interest in General Custer led him to the University of Montana to pursue graduate work in American History, but the urge to travel soon set in. After a number of jobs including a short professional Box Lacrosse career in Canada, Garry and Karen settled in Wells in 1980, and opened Snug Harbor Books, a used and rare bookshop. They went on to open a second shop, Austin's Antiquarian Books in 1985, in an 1840s house with an attached barn. By 1987, the couple was running three shops, the last being a seasonal store in York Beach.
They sold their business in Maine and went to Watertown, NY for two years to be closer to family, but soon decided the business required more traffic than the upstate New York town could provide. They returned to Maine until 1994 when they discovered the wonderful resort town of Wilmington, VT. Austin's Antiquarian Books operated there until Garry's health began to fail in 2018. Garry held several offices in the Vermont Antiquarian Booksellers' Association, and was a member of the Planning Commission in Wilmington. Garry and Karen ran book fairs as well, including but not limited to, the Vermont Summer Fair for the VABA and the Albany Book and Paper Fair. He was also an avid fly fisherman and lover of the outdoors.
After meeting and becoming friends with Theodore Roosevelt expert Peter Scanlon, Garry fell in love with Roosevelt, and went on, after his specialist friend and mentor died, to take up the mantle of Theodore Roosevelt Specialist. He is a former member of the Theodore Roosevelt Association. The website TheodoreRooseveltBooks.com will continue to be run by Garry's wife Karen. So wonderful is the community of booksellers that …more
Many of you know about or have seen the short film entitled The Last Bookshop which can be viewed on YouTube. (click on the still photo) A little more than 20 minutes long, it features two actors – an elderly bookseller and a young boy whose family's electronic media system has broken down and who discovers a bookshop from the past while aimlessly wandering the streets of a post modern Amazonian utopia in which shops have disappeared from the streets of towns and villages of a society that has finally gotten what it wished for. The filming was done at various bookshop locations, including Halls Bookshop in Royal Tunbridge Wells (for the exterior shots) and at Baggins Books in Rochester (Kent). Most of the interior scenes, showing endless ranges of shelving stretching from floor to ceiling, were made at Baggins, one of the largest bookshops in England and one of two bookshops (the other being Piccadilly Rare Books in Ticehurst) owned by Paul Minet, who contributed his column, Letter from England, to this magazine for many years. When Paul died in 2012 Baggins was given to the members of staff – which sounds very much like Paul and Sheila.
Speaking of Paul Minet, some of you may remember his column in Book Source Magazine but never had a chance to visit Baggins. It was easy to get lost in the place, as you might guess by watching the film. The actor playing the bookseller in no way resembled Paul, who was a towering figure and eminently capable of any physical task involving having to deal with massive quantities of books (or anything else, I would have guessed). Paul was also a journalist, writing for and editing The New Daily, a Liberal newspaper published in the 1960s, founder and editor of Antiquarian Book Monthly Review (ABMR), editor of both The British Diarist and Royalty Digest, and a long-time columnist for Book Source Magazine. His philanthropic activities mainly involved his family's support and efforts on behalf of Chetham's Library in Manchester, founded in 1653 and the oldest public library in the …more
The Morgan Library & Museum announces a new exhibition of satirical drawings and prints by renowned artist William Hogarth (1697–1764) which will run from May 24 to September 22, 2019. Best known for his humorous political commentary, Hogarth’s work engaged a broad audience and agitated for legislative and social change. His intricate drawings and richly anecdotal scenes depict the ills and injustices of eighteenth-century urban life, exploring the connections between violence, crime, alcohol abuse, and cruelty to animals. He hoped his graphic work would amuse, shock, and ultimately edify his audience.
Opening on May 24, Hogarth: Cruelty and Humor tells the story of Hogarth’s iconic images and the social realities of life in Georgian London that inspired him to advocate for reform through popular works of art. It is the first show at the Morgan devoted to this artist, whose style was so influential in British art that the word “Hogarthian” remains a recognizable way of describing works of satire.
Featuring over twenty works, the show investigates Hogarth’s creative process and examines his embrace of humor, highlighting the Morgan’s exceptional cache of preparatory drawings for his two most acclaimed print series from 1751: Beer Street and Gin Lane, and The Stages of Cruelty. Hogarth’s prints documenting the dangerous impact of the gin craze, Beer Street and Gin Lane, generated popular support for the 1751 Gin Act and other reform efforts, while the Stages of Cruelty reflects the growing anxiety about episodes of human brutality in London. Included in the show are the only other two known studies related to the Stages of Cruelty; these works reveal the complex generative process of the series. Also on view are drawings from The Royal Collection Trust that represent Hogarth’s first and last forays into satire.
Fiercely independent, Hogarth was driven to innovate in order to elevate the status of British art, creating new genres and modes of expression in his painting, printmaking, and drawing. His compositions are rich with narrative detail. It was his adoption of such “low” subjects, no less than his use of humor, that led him to struggle to be taken seriously throughout his career. “William Hogarth’s works should be enjoyed for their artistry, humor, and activism, and as such hold a special place in our drawings and prints collection,” said Colin B. Bailey, director of the museum. “The artist was a keen observer of his city, and his visual anecdotes were a brilliant means of communicating to a wider public.”
William Hogarth (1697–1764) achieved substantial artistic and commercial success in his lifetime, both as a printmaker and as a painter. Despite his enduring fame, Hogarth’s drawings are today little known and …more
Printed & Manuscript African Americana at Swann Galleries on Thursday, March 28 saw a sell-through rate of 90%, a record for the category. Enthusiastic bidding was seen across all sections of the sale, resulting in seven records, with significant interest from institutions.
A 1958 edition of The Negro Travelers’ Green Book by Victor H. Green broke a record for any edition of the publication at $27,500. The travel guide for African-American families was indispensable during a time when long-distance travel would be a cause for apprehension about finding lodging, gasoline, or even a restroom. Also of note was a rare survival of the Jim Crow era, a circa late 1950s letterpress sign by the Tennessee Public Service Commission proclaiming Notice: This Part of the Car for Colored People, which sold for $10,400, and a first edition of Martin Luther King’s Why We Can’t Wait, 1964, signed by the civil rights leader, which brought $8,750.
The sale was led by volume one, number one of The Mirror of Liberty, July 1838, the first black periodical published in the United States, edited by David Ruggles–one of New York’s leading abolitionists. The radical abolitionist publication fetched $37,500. Records were set for An Oration on the Abolition of the Slave Trade, Delivered in the African Church, 1808, by Peter Williams, at $15,000, and Life of Isaac Mason as a Slave, 1893, by Isaac Mason, at $1,500.
Additional material relating to slavery and abolition included a substantial archive of correspondence to John Augustine Washington III relating to Mount Vernon, other family estates, the heirs of America’s Founding Father, often discussing the enslaved people on whom their fortune was built. The archive brought $32,000. A signed document from Newport, R.I. recording the illegal act of an American captain agreeing to bring slaves from Africa to Havana in 1806, garnered $11,250; and a circa-1850 letterpress broadside proclaiming Union with Freemen–No Union with Slaveholders. Anti-Slavery Meetings!, issued by the Western Anti-Slavery Society, was won for …more
Autographs on March 21, 2019 at Swann Galleries saw significant interest in Americana, scientists and popular figures. Of the sale Marco Tomaschett, the house’s autographs Specialist, noted – “Highest prices were mostly for historical autographs, demonstrating that the broad interest in history continues.”
A 1776 autograph letter signed by Joseph Brant, Thayeadanegea–the leader of the Mohawk people and military, and British Loyalist–writing with news after he had been in England meeting with King George III, recounting events related to the American rebels, brought $35,000, a record for a letter by Brant.
Founding Fathers were also popular, with a 1793 ALS by Alexander Hamilton, as Secretary of the Treasury, to the President and Directors of the Bank of the U.S. expressing that they will receive an appropriation for giving advances to the Mint ($12,500); George Washington’s signed ticket for the Mountain Road Lottery from 1768 fetched $8,450; two autograph documents signed from 1764 and 1765 concerning payment for services rendered in various lawsuits by John Adams brought $3,900; and a 1792 printed document signed by Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State, sold for $5,000.
An 1875 photograph signed and dated by Ulysses S. Grant led an assortment of signatures from U.S. Presidents, earning $10,000. A partly-printed document signed by Abraham Lincoln, appointing John T. Hogeboom as Appraiser of Merchandise in April of 1864, brought $5,500, and a group of five typed letters, signed by Theodore Roosevelt from 1902-05 to his sister Corrine Roosevelt Robinson, was won for $3,380.
Of British interest was a group of six ALS from 1989-92 by Diana, Princess of Wales, to her friend Elizabeth Tilberis, the editor of British Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, as well as an 1884 ALS by Queen Victoria to Alfred, Lord Tennyson, expressing her sorrows over the death of her son Leopold ($10,400 and $5,750, respectively).
Scientists and inventors were represented with a 1944 ink-and-wash portrait by Charlotte Berend-Corinth of Albert Einstein, signed by the physicist, at $9,100; two offprints signed by Linus Pauling, which featured his articles The Nature of the Chemical Bond, 1931, and Ascorbic Acid and Cancer, 1979, brought $4,500, and Nikola Tesla’s 1935 signed monogrammed correspondence card sold for …more