Rare Book Monthly

Articles - September - 2012 Issue

Book Paintings on a Huge Scale

Bookartmontez

A book larger than life.

“One day I and a very good friend of mine talked about old book stores and old books, and jokingly I said: 'if only there were a way to keep them alive, show people the value and beauty, and at the same time show that all we call important in the present has not changed when it comes to human values, and the search of deeper meaning in our lives.” So begins a remarkable journey to that place where books and art intersect. We have seen this before in the book arts – books of great beauty and design, fine bindings, private press works. They are works of art more than text. Artist Paul Montez has also reached this intersection of two worlds, but from a different starting point.

Mr. Montez is a painter. He is a painter who appreciates the role books play in our lives as much as a bookman. It was that connection that led him to immortalize books in works of art, rather than works of art in the form of a book. He paints books. These are not mere portraits of some books on a shelf. Mr. Montez will paint a cover, a title page, an illustration, from a specific book. Some paintings may include several such pages.

His paintings are not life size. These are, quite literally, larger than life. A page may be over 7 feet high. A painting displaying three pages can be 18 feet long. You will not need your reading glasses to appreciate these books. They are more like murals in a frame than a typical painting. For those not ready to invest in a painting of this scale, Mr. Montez also offers his book paintings as prints.

Art on a large scale is nothing new for Paul Montez. He has been creating large scale works of art all his life. Among his most notable works are huge coil sculptures, far taller than a person. Think of a massive, somewhat twisted slinky. These abstract works are totally riveting.

Motivated by a “love of books” and showing how they impact us in a new way, Mr. Montez began painting these images that would put even a double elephant folio to shame. He explains, “it is a great joy, keeping alive the actual physical worlds of books, and the choices and interests and thoughts writers and authors published in the past.” The works have similarly touched his clients. He is able to quote one, who explained, “they have universal meaning, they are provocative and make me, and others stop for a moment, ponder the place this book had in past lives and our lives now. They are modern art, there is so much going on with these paintings.”

Mr. Montez describes his painting techniques as presenting “a contemporary quality, tiny drips, looser brush strokes, in keeping with contemporary artists like Jasper Johns. They are not 'photographic' reproductions, but artistic reflections and finely detailed accurate approximations of book pages. In this way they further reflect their source materials and contemporary reality in our present day lives as unique large scale art works.” He adds, “As for the prints, the same or similar reactions and thought provoking interactions take place with those who have purchased them.”

The paintings are 7 feet 6 inches tall. Prices start at $7,000 for one of a single page. The price for one of three pages, which runs 7 feet 6 inches tall by 18 feet long, is $26,000. The added cost beyond the size multiple reflects that the wood framing stretcher bars need to be custom made. Paintings employing gold inlays or leafing are somewhat more expensive. Smaller paintings may be commissioned, but the minimum height is 5 feet. The artist does not work on a small scale. Prints are somewhat smaller. They are 3 feet 9 inches tall with lengths up to 7 feet 6 inches when three pages are displayed. Prints start at $2,200.

Mr. Montez notes that the paintings fit any décor, classic or contemporary, “for the book lover, or those desiring a meaningful work of art which addresses the question of who are we and what we think.” They are suitable not only for individuals (preferably ones with rooms having a large wall), but for institutions, offices, and corporations. He points to a comment by an interior designer: “they straddle the past and now, in a meaningful way, and they are also original art works for those who have everything, including a love of books.”

Paul Montez' paintings and prints can be viewed at the following website: www.bookartnew.com.

His spectacular sculptures can be seen here: www.sculpturenew.com.

For questions concerning the paintings and prints, pricing, commissioning a painting, or other interests, the artist can be contacted at his email address: lvbigart@earthlink.net

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Francis Scott Key, <i>Star Spangled Banner,</i> first printing, c. 1814-16. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> William Sydney Porter, a.k.a. “O. Henry,” archive of drawings made to illustrate a lost mining memoir, c. 1883-84. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> [Bay Psalm Book], printed for Hezekiah Usher of Boston, Cambridge, c. 1648-65. $50,000 to $75,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Noticia estraordinario,</i> probable first announcement in Mexico City of the fall of the Alamo, 1836. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Patrick Gass, first edition of earliest first-hand account of the Lewis and Clarke expedition, Pittsburgh, 1807. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Diploma from the Princeton Class of 1783, commencement attended by Washington & Continental Congress. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Sprague Light Cavalry!</i> color-printed broadside, NY, 1863. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>The Lincoln & Johnson Union Campaign Songster,</i> Philadelphia, 1864. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Lucy Parsons, labor organizer, albumen cabinet card, New York, 1886. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Daniel L.F. Swift, journal as third mate on a Pacific Whaling voyage, 1848-1850. $3,000 to $4,0000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Two photos of Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon, silver prints, 1901. $1,500 to $2,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Helvelius. Two Autograph Letters Signed to Francis Aston, Royal Society Secretary, noting his feud with Robert Hooke, 5 pp total, 1685. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> IMPEACHMENT. Original engrossed copy of the first Andrew Johnson impeachment resolution vote. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Taupin, Bernie. Autograph Manuscript, the original draft of lyrics for Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," 2 pp, 1973. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. <i>De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Padua: 1643. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> CESALPINO, ANDREA. <i>Peripateticarum Quaestionum Libri Quinque.</i> Venice: 1571. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Leon TOLSTOÏ. <i>Anna Karenina.</i> Moscou, 1878. First and full edition of the Russian novel, in the author’s language.<br>Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Mark TWAIN. <i>Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's comrade).</i> New York, 1885. First American edition.<br>Est. 5 000 / 6 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Walt WHITMAN. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn, New York, 1856. Second edition gathering 32 poems. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Karen BLIXEN. <i>Out of Africa.</i> Londres, 1937. First edition in the UK, before Danish translation and American release.<br>Est. 1 500 / 2 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Ernest HEMINGWAY. <i>A Farewell to Arms.</i> New York, 1929. First edition with $2.50 on the dust and A on the copyright page.<br>Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Ulysses.</i> Paris, Shakespeare and Company, 1922. First edition published by Sylvia Beach. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Dubliners.</i> Londres, 1914. First edition. Nice copy in publisher’s cardboard. Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Franz KAFKA. 8 novels in German first edition, published in München, Leipzig and Berlin 1916-1931. Est. from 300 / 400 to 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> David Herbert LAWRENCE. <i>Lady Chatterley's Lover.</i> Florence, 1928. Privately printed first edition. Est. 4 000 / 5 000 €
    John STEINBECK. <i>The Grapes of Wrath.</i> New York, 1939. First edition. Nice copy with $2.75 on the cover. Est. 1 000 / 1 200 €

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