Richard Lan, 74, a respected dealer in early printed books and maps, passed away on November 4, 2021 in New York City, from complications from Leukemia. Forty years ago, he and his wife, Seyla Martayan, established Martayan-Lan Rare Books and Maps in Manhattan and subsequently partnered with Robert Augustin to develop their map business. It was an exceptional partnership that brought them success. In their refined bookshop/gallery on East 57th street and East 55th street, they catered to the top tier of collectors and collecting institutions.
Richard and Seyla chose a complex area of scholarship and bookselling. Fluent in several European languages, they specialized in early printed books in history of science, travel and discoveries, but also in art and architecture. They are revered as authorities in these fields.
In time they became members of the ABAA and the Grolier Club. Richard was also a member of the John Carter Brown Library and the Association Internationale de Bibliophilie.
Richard and Seyla had two sons together, Andreas and Stefan, whom Richard invariably spoke about with pride and delight. His sense of family was deep and enduring.
Richard was also a committed athlete, who received a lacrosse and football scholarship from Rutgers, his alma mater. After college, he took up cycling and swimming, and as in everything he undertook, he put his best into it. He was still passing people half his age in the bike lane or swimming pool not long ago. He was a jazz aficionado and had a true appreciation for well-composed and executed music, which gave him a lot of joy and solace in his last days.
He lived a rich and complex life.
He will be missed. May he be present in our memory and our heart.