Rare Book Monthly

Articles - July - 2009 Issue

W. Graham Arader: "Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated"

W.graham

W. Graham Arader III


By Bruce McKinney

On June 19th the most recent and certainly not final chapter of the Graham Arader story was written in the auction rooms at Sotheby's, as they conducted a 202 lot sale of selected inventory from the storied archives of W. Graham Arader of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and Madison Avenue in New York. The sale realized $3.26 million. No doubt, many dealers wished for the sale to fail and were deeply disappointed that it made a passable grade even as the economic downturn has taken hold. Whether it was an act of bravery or necessity is subject to interpretation and both admirers and detractors have their different views. That it was an exceptional outcome given the difficult environment is beyond dispute.

Mr. Arader commands the attention of the press. He has been the subject, for almost thirty years, of newspaper and magazine articles, the bickering of competitors and the admiration of clients. He is the subject of a Wikipedia page that includes articles about and references to him.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham_Arader

Indicative of his larger than life personality and position in New York society the New York Observer, in March, writing about him and his New York City home had this to say:

"The legendary art dealer W. Graham Arader III, an eccentric maestro in the world of rare prints and antique maps, has cut the price of his seven-story, 10-bedroom, 22-room, 12,000-square-foot mansion at 1016 Madison Avenue from $75 million to $65 million. He now has only the second most expensive listing in New York: Aby Rosen's townhouse on East 71st Street is still asking $75 million."

His approach to the recent auction was vintage Graham Arader. He pledged 20% of the auction proceeds to charities of the buyer's choice. For institutions, this amounted to a discount of 20%, for well-healed successful bidders the chance to acquire appealing material and earn the appreciation of institutions and charities they designate.

In the run up to the sale the New York Times on June 18th addressed a rumor -

"Despite reports that he was closing his business, Graham Arader, a New York dealer in rare books, atlases, botanical prints and natural history watercolors, is just selling off inventory in Sotheby's sale on Friday of 200 of his holdings. A third of the lots will be sold without reserve, and Mr. Arader has pledged to donate 20 percent of each lot's hammer price to any recognized charity designated by the buyer."

Following the sale Mr. Arader released the following statement:

"With auction proceeds, sales after the auction and special sales in all of my galleries for the next month it appears that I am going to gross about $5,000,000 and hopefully give away $1,000,000 on top of that. Those funds will be distributed to the participating charities on July 23 at 1016 Madison Avenue at 4 pm to be followed by a dinner party at 6:30 for all institutions that participated (about 50) and for all people who acquired artwork at the sale and afterward. A list of the lots that sold with the charities to be benefited will be distributed at this event. Any charity that supported this new idea will be given a minimum of $1000 even if any buyers did not designate them. I hope that this will cover some of their costs of promotion for this new idea and encourage them to participate next year. It is very important that full disclosure be available for all parties to insure the continuation of this concept.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Charles Loupot, <i>Les Cigarettes Mekka,</i> 1919. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Plinio Codognato, <i>Cicli Fiat,</i> circa 1910. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> L.N. Britton, <i>Warning! Consider the Possible Consequences,</i> c. 1917. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Leonardo Bistolfi, <i>Première Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs Modernes,</i> 1902. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Paquet Pernot / Biscuits Pernot,</i> 1910. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Francesco Nonni, <i>Font Meo / Acqua Minerale Naturale,</i> 1924. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Frederick Winthrop Ramsdell, <i>American Crescent Cycles,</i> 1899. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> <i>Be a Tight Wad! Own Something!</i> designer unknown, 1925. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> Candido Aragonese de Faria, <i>Chamonix–Mont–Blanc,</i> c. 1910. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 5:</b> W.E.J., <i>Irishmen Avenge the Lusitania,</i> c. 1915. $2,000 to $3,000.
  • <center><b>Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books<br>Fine Art<br>Antique Engravings & Lithographs<br>Works on Paper<br>Accepting bids until August 7</b>
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Maitres Affiches by MUCHA - Papier a cigarettes Job. 202. $5,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> De Bry - Map of the West Indies (including Florida, Cuba, Jamaica, Bahamas, Parts of Central & South America, Sea Monsters, Ships). $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Gould - Short-billed Toucan (Ramphastos Brevicarinatus). $5,000 to $8,000.
    <center><b>Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books<br>Fine Art<br>Antique Engravings & Lithographs<br>Works on Paper<br>Accepting bids until August 7</b>
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Redoute, Folio - Pale Iris - Iris flavescens. 375. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Gillray - Light Expelling Darkness or The Sun of the Constitution. $200 to $500.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Gerard - Wild Hemp or Weed, Cannabis. 708. $150 to $450.
    <b>Trillium, Aug. 7:</b> Shaw & Nodder - Head of The Dodo. 165. $100 to $300.
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Your Own Sylvia:<br>Sylvia Plath’s letters to Ted Hughes and other items,<br>Property of Frieda Hughes<br>9 to 21 July 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath. Family photograph album ("The Hughes family Album"), 1957-1962. £30,000 to £50,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath. Typed letter signed, to Ted Hughes, on "my own private doctrine", with a poem, 5 October 1956. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath. Pen and ink portrait of Ted Hughes, [1956]. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Your Own Sylvia:<br>Sylvia Plath’s letters to Ted Hughes and other items,<br>Property of Frieda Hughes<br>9 to 21 July 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. Joint autograph letter signed, to William and Edith Hughes, March 1960. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. Photographic portrait by David Bailey, inscribed by Plath, 1961, and another press photo. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Tarot de Marseille. Deck of cards owned by Sylvia Plath. £4,000 to £6,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, 9 – 21 July:</b> Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. Pair of gold wedding rings. £6,000 to £8,000.

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