Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2013 Issue

Prints, Rare Books, and Drawings from August Laube

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August Laube's latest catalogue with Durer's Michael and the dragon on the cover.

This month we received a catalogue from August Laube of Zurich, Switzerland. It is their Spezialkatalog 2013. The firm specializes in “Buch und Kunstantiquariat,” or Books and Visual Arts. They have been in business in Zurich since 1922. This catalogue is divided into categories, with the subjects being Old Master Prints, Modern Prints, Rare Books, Drawings, and Helvetica. For those who know Helvetica only as a typeface (and one designed in Switzerland), it also refers to Swiss prints. As can be seen by the topics, the items offered here are notable for their artistic qualities, as most are more suitable for hanging on the wall rather than placing in a bookshelf. However, they all fit within the category of “works on paper,” a broader field now followed by many who in an earlier generation may have collected only within a single sphere.

 

The Swiss generally speak a multitude of languages, and this catalogue comes in two of them – German and English. Descriptions are provided for all items in both languages. That said, the items are focused on visual arts, so textual descriptions are of limited use, other than to explain the background of the particular work. Fortunately, images are provided for all items. We will provide a little background for a few of the items, but this is a catalogue that must be seen to be understood. If this is material you collect, we recommend contacting Laube for a copy.

 

Item 15 is Das Bapstum mit seinen Gliedern gemalet und beschrieben. This is a 1557 edition of a book first published in 1526, with verses provided by an unknown author. The feature is the woodcuts by Lucas Cranach, picturing various officials of the Catholic Church, including the pope, a cardinal, bishop and various clergy. However, don't expect anything too complimentary to the Catholic Church about this book. The preamble and postscript were provided by Martin Luther, and he was hardly a great fan of the Church. Priced at CHF 7,000 (Swiss francs or approximately $7,650 in U.S. dollars).

 

There could hardly be a topic more appropriate for France than that of this 1801 (second edition) book from Paris: Traité théorique et pratique sur la culture de la vigne, avec L'art de faire le vin... This is a book about wine making, and no one is quite as good at this as the French. They have been doing it for a long time. This is considered a great work on wine making, written by chemistry professor J. A. Chaptal. M. Chaptal lives on through the word “chaptalisation” (a word with which I will admit I was not previously familiar). Chaptalisation is the process whereby sugar is added to fermenting wine to increase the alcohol content. Item 17. CHF 1,800 (US $1,970).

 

Here is a notably artistic book, dating all the way back to 1543: Ursprung und Herkum[m]en der zwolff ersten alten Konig und Fursaten Deutscher Nation. It contains 12 woodcuts of German emperors executed by Hans Guldenmund of Nuremberg. It is doubtful that Guldenmund himself cut the blocks, but he published woodcuts of others in his role as a printer. The images have been colored in a contemporary hand, and while Guldenmund was an illuminator early in his career, he was likely too busy for the task by this time. This book is today extremely rare. Item 16. Price on request.

 

Item 2 is a print of an engraving by Martin Schongauer, which dates from 1480-1490. If Wikipedia is to be believed, “he was the most important printmaker before Albrecht Durer.” His works certainly have earned the honor. Item 2 depicts St. Michael slaying the dragon. Michael is depicted as a young angel with beautiful wings. He holds a spear, stuck into the hideous, crab-clawed dragon's mouth. There is no question who is the good guy and who is the bad, with the biblical story being one of the triumph of good over evil, or Michael over Satan, whom the dragon represents. CHF38,000 (US $41,580).

 

Speaking of Durer, Michael and the dragon, item 4 is Albrecht Durer's interpretation of the same event. Michael may not be quite so young and handsome here, but the dragon is certainly comparably repulsive. This impression from Durer's engraving was made in 1511. CHF 16,000 (US $17,508).

 

August Laube may be reached at +41 (0) 44 256 88 99 or augustlaube@augustlaube.ch. Their website is www.augustlaube.ch.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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.

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