Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2008 Issue

European Posters From Burkhard Sülzen

Katalog12

Rare posters from Burkhard Sülzen.


By Michael Stillman

This month we have received our first catalogue from Burkhard Sülzen of Berlin. The title of this 12th catalogue is Schöne & Seltene Plakate, which translates to Fine & Rare Posters. As you might have guessed, this catalogue is in German, so some familiarity with the language is certainly helpful. However, even with a language barrier this is a fascinating catalogue. It is filled with posters from 1890-1973, including many of advertising, politics, film and sports. They are filled with dramatic images to convey their messages, which in turn tell us about their times. This is a riveting catalogue even if you haven't mastered the language. Here are some of these fabulous, sometimes frightening, always intriguing posters.

Item 21 is a poster for a Soviet film celebrating the early days of the Russian Revolution. Its date of 1926, when the effects of that revolution were not yet fully appreciated in Europe, explains why such a film would be shown in Austria. The heading is Der blutige Sommtag, or The bloody Sunday. This event occurred in St. Petersburg in 1905. Thousands of workers protesting labor conditions in the country peacefully marched on the Tsar's home, hoping he would support reforms for workers. Instead, guards fired on the crowd, gunning down hundreds, maybe thousands. Anger from the event led to the unsuccessful Revolution of 1905, which in turn set the stage for the Bolshevik Revolution twelve years later. This poster depicts a guard, with the face of a skeleton, sword in hand, riding a speedy horse. Priced at €480 (approximately $751 in U.S. dollars).

Item 24 is an Austrian poster for the noted Soviet propaganda film Panzerkreuzer Potemkin (Battleship Potemkin). This 1924 film, from noted Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein, received critical acclaim even in the West. It tells of another revolt in 1905, this time by the crew of the Potemkin over their conditions, which was also forcefully put down. Eisenstein portrayed the incident in a way designed to elicit the greatest sympathy for the sailors, and contempt for the Tsarist regime. This poster is seen on the cover of the catalogue (click the thumbnail image above to see). €9,500 (US $14,864).

Items 50-57 are another group of pro-Communist posters, but not from the Soviet Union. These are from the German election of 1928, a good year for the Communists who captured over 10% of the vote, several times what the Nazis managed that year. However, in the next two elections, they were only able to add a few points to their vote total while the Nazis became the leading party, with consequences too well known. These posters generally depict Communists as strong, powerful men, while members of other parties are unattractive, bureaucratic-looking individuals.

While the political world was on the cusp of disaster in 1928, there was still relief in the theaters. Item 76 is an Austrian movie poster from 1928 with a seductive image of Greta Garbo for the film The Divine Woman. It is a good thing that this poster can be found, as for the movie itself, all but one nine-minute reel has been lost. It is the only lost Garbo film, and is considered to be one of the most important of the lost silent movies. €2,200 (US $3,442).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Doyle: Hunting Books from the Collection of Arnold "Jake” Johnson. Online only auction Aug 3-14</b>
    <b>Doyle, Online only auction Aug 3-14:</b> <i>The Sportsman's Portfolio of American Field Sports.</i> 1855. Est: $600 to $900
    <b>Doyle, Online only auction Aug 3-14:</b> <i>Bishop's Birds. Etchings of Water-Fowl and Upland Game Birds.</i> 1936. Est: $200 to $300
    <b>Doyle, Online only auction Aug 3-14:</b> <i>Hunting Big Game in Far Northwest British Columbia</i>. 1904. Est: $500 to $800
    <b>Doyle, Online only auction Aug 3-14:</b> <i>Mananaland. Adventuring with Camera and Rifle Through California in Mexico.</i> 1929. Est: $400 to $600
    <b>Doyle: Hunting Books from the Collection of Arnold "Jake” Johnson. Online only auction Aug 3-14</b>
    <b>Doyle, Online only auction Aug 3-14:</b> <i>Grand Canyon Trails.</i> 1924. Est: $300 to $500
    <b>Doyle, Online only auction Aug 3-14:</b> <i>A Sporting Trip through Abyssinia. A Narrative of a nine months’ journey..</i> 1902. Est: $200 to $300
    <b>Doyle, Online only auction Aug 3-14:</b> <i>Hunting in Tanzania [...in Zimbabwe; ...the Sudan; ...in Botswana; ...in Ethiopia; ...in Zambia; ...in South Africa; ...in Kenya]</i>. 1991-2000. Est: $800 to $1200
    <b>Doyle, Online only auction Aug 3-14:</b> <i>Hounds and Hunting through the Ages ... with an Introduction by the Earl of Lonsdale</i>. 1928. Est: $600 to $900
  • <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:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk,</i> Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Man Ray, <i>[London Transport] – Keeps London Going,</i> 1938. Sold for $149,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. Sold for $225,000
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of <i>Winnie-the-Pooh</i> books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. Sold for $5,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. Sold for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. Sold for $20,000

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