Among Sotheby's upcoming sales in November, Sotheby's Paris is holding one that should appeal to many of AE’s monthly readers and subscribers. Taking place November 6th in Paris, Bibliothèque Carlo de Poortere is the collection of the late Belgian bibliophile Carlo de Poortere. Featuring 315 lots, the sale offers a particularly strong assemblage of 18th century engravings and also includes early material from the 15th and 16th centuries. Bidding is done in person, online, or over the phone. Please register on Sotheby’s website here for online bidding.
The oldest material of the sale is featured first, and Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, known in English as Poliphilo’s Strife of Love in a Dream, is perhaps the most famous item. A well known romance and example of early printing, this first edition dating to 1499 includes 172 woodcuts including 11 full-page drawings by various artists. Available as lot 4, the item is estimated 50,000 - 80,000 EUR. Under lot 8, Ptolemy’s atlas Opus Geographie Noviter Castigatum from 1522 is another significant item, containing 51 maps including the first Ptolemaic map featuring the name “America.” It is estimated 20,000 - 30,000 EUR. I’d also like to bring to your attention one of the older guides of Italy. Blaeu’s THEATRUM civitatum AND ADMIRANDORUM italiae takes the reader (in latin) throughout Italy and its cities with illustrations of many of its most famous monuments and architecture. Available as lot 16, it is estimated 30,000 - 50,000 EUR.
Moving on to younger material, the pièce de résistance of the sale is found at lot 245. Described by Sotheby’s as an “exceptional copy of Watteau bound in red morocco by Padeloup and acquired by Tsar Alexander I of Russia bearing the stamps of the Hermitage,” the “collection Giulia” is considered the most exceptional collection of 18th century engravings ever assembled. The item is extraordinarily rare as most of the hundred copies that were made have been broken up by print dealers, and this particular copy’s provenance makes it one of a kind. The four volume set is estimated 200,000 - 300,000 EUR.
Lastly, three collections of Goya engravings are being sold under the 19th century section of the sale. These items are Los Caprichos (lot 287, est. 100,000 - 150,000 EUR), La Tauromaquia (lot 288, est. 120,000 - 160,000 EUR), and Los Desastres de la Guerra (lot 289, est. 60,000 - 80,000). Each are famous in their own right, each a first edition. Of the three, La Tauromaquia, a set of 33 plates depicting bullfighting scenes, is considered the rarest.
As the sale will take place in Paris, the printed catalogue as well the online variant are in French. If you are not a francophone, Google Translate or an equivalent does a serviceable job. The online catalogue can be found here on Sotheby’s website, and as stated before, if you would like to bid online please register beforehand! The sale begins on November 6 at 10:30 AM local time.