Rare Book Monthly

Articles - October - 2013 Issue

Booksellers Going to the Hong Kong Art Fair

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Fine Art Asia 2013.

Several Western booksellers will be setting up booths at the Fine Art Asia 2013 fair in Hong Kong this month. Art fairs have become a regular part of the mix for several antiquarian book sellers. Some are now making recurring trips to international art fairs in far off corners of the globe.

 

From October 4-7, Fine Art Asia will be making its 9th annual appearance in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has long been a place where East meets West, and that is more or less what this fair is about. It is filled with items from China and Asia, but then again, it is also filled with items from the West. Collectors, however, will mostly be from China. It is no great surprise that incomes are growing in China, and while the average income is still not enough to buy the level of art offered at this fair, there is a sizable segment of the population that long ago traded in their Mao suits for European fashions. Some will be from Hong Kong itself, but many visitors from the rest of China are also expected to attend.

 

Books have been merging with art for quite a long time now, though not on the level that they became features at an art fair until more recently. Books as art is nothing new, but their presentation to an audience beyond this particular niche of book collector is a more recent development. It is a logical move for forward-thinking booksellers who recognize the need to expand their audience when sales are not as easy to make to traditional markets as once they were.

 

We are also seeing more blending of history with art, something that fits well with booksellers who feature antiquarian works. Some of the artwork offered at this fair is more noted for its historic significance. Chinese bronzes may be beautiful objects of art, but they also will be highly collectible because their antiquity, and the history they represent, melds with their artistic qualities to make them very desirable. The same can be said for books. Their age and significance become a part of what makes them appealing as works of art.

 

For example, Shapero Rare Books will be displaying Novus Atlas Sinensis a Martino Martinio, a 1655 atlas based on the cartographic work of the Jesuit Martino Martini. Martini entered China in 1643 and traveled widely through the country. This is the first European atlas of China, and it was published by the great Amsterdam mapmakers the Blaeu family. Their atlases were both works of artistic beauty as well as a source of the latest information about the outside world for Europeans living in those distant times.

 

Another book Shapero will have on display is Description géographique, historique, chronologique, politique, et physique de l’empire de la Chine, by Jean Baptiste du Halde. Du Halde was another Jesuit, a Parisian who collected the published and unpublished letters of Jesuits from China, including the aforementioned Martini, and published them in 1735. It provided Europeans with much insight into China. Shapero notes, “Historically the work is regarded as monumental from a textual point of view because of the vast amount and variety of interesting details on Chinese political institutions, education, language, medicine, science, customs, and artifacts.” This is another example of a book that is both beautiful and important for its textual content.

 

Other booksellers going to Fine Art Asia include the London bookseller Maggs Bros., a firm as old as many of the books they sell. Maggs has been one of England and the world's most important antiquarian booksellers for a century and a half. Also coming from London is the much newer dealer Daniel Crouch Rare Books. Crouch specializes in one of the most artistic areas in the works on paper field – maps, atlases, sea charts and voyages. With a shorter trip to Hong Kong is the fine Australian bookseller Hordern House. Many of the voyages that came to Asia also visited Australia. Hordern House is noted for offering material related to many early voyages, those of James Cook and others.

 

Last year, almost 25,000 people attended Fine Art Asia with sales of over US $50 million. This year's event has been timed to coincide with a series of art auctions being conducted by Sotheby's in Hong Kong.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750

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