• <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>Macbeth: A Tragedy.</i> London, 1673. FIRST SEPARATE AND FIRST QUARTO EDITION. THE CHARLTON HESTON COPY. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> HEMINGWAY, ERNEST. <i>In Our Time.</i> Paris, 1924. FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> HAWTHORNE, NATHANIEL. <i>Fanshawe, A Tale.</i> Boston, 1828. FIRST EDITION OF AUTHOR'S FIRST BOOK. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> THOREAU, HENRY DAVID. <i>Walden; Or, Life in the Woods.</i> Boston, 1854. FINE COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies.</i> London, 1685. THE FOURTH FOLIO, Brewster/Bentley issue. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> STEIG, WILLIAM. Original maquette and 58 finished drawings for <i>The Agony in the Kindergarten,</i> one of Steig's most important books. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> VERNE, JULES. <i>A Journey to the Centre of the Earth.</i> New York & London, 1872. FIRST EDITION, RARE AMERICAN ISSUE, with Scribner & Welford cancel title. $5,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 5:</b> KING, STEPHEN. <i>Carrie.</i> New York, 1974. INSCRIBED FIRST EDITION, OF AUTHOR'S FIRST BOOK. $1,200 to $1,800.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 4:</b> APPLE MACINTOSH PROTOTYPE. 1983. The earliest known Macintosh with "Twiggy" drive, one of only two known working machines. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 4:</b> PLATO. <i>Timaeus</i> [AND] <i>Critias</i> [from Ficini's 1484 Opera]. A LANDMARK OF SCIENTIFIC THOUGHT. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 4:</b> LOVELACE, AUGUSTA ADA. Sketch of the Analytical Engine Invented by Charles Babbage Esq. London, 1843. FIRST EDITION, JOURNAL ISSUE, MOST IMPORTANT PAPER IN EARLY DIGITAL COMPUTING. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 4:</b> APPLE-1 COMPUTER. Signed by Steve Wozniak, used in development of Apple II. $200,000 to $300,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Dec. 4:</b> DARWIN, CHARLES. 1809-1882. <i>On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection.</i> London, 1859. FIRST EDITION. $80,000 to $120,000.
  • <b>Sotheby’s, Dec. 17:</b> [EINSTEIN, ALBERT]; JOHN GRAUDENZ [PHOTOGRAPHER]. Photographic portrait of Albert Einstein by John Graudenz, taken circa 1928. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Dec. 17:</b> ENIGMA M4. A fully operational four-rotor ("M4") Kriegsmarine Enigma Cipher Machine. Berlin-Wilmersdorf, Germany, Heimsoeth und Rinke, 1942. $300,000 to $500,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Dec. 17:</b> FEYNMAN, RICHARD P. <i>“Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman”. Adventures of a Curious Character.</i> New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1985. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Dec. 17:</b> An intact egg of the Aepyornis Maximus, or Elephant Bird. Pre-17th century, Madagascar. $35,000 to $45,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Dec. 17:</b> Palm frond with fish. Green River Formation, Wyoming, United States. <i>Sabalites sp.,</i> and <i>Diplomystus dentatus</i> Cenozoic, Eocene (53-33 million years ago). $60,000 to $70,000.
  • <b>Sotheby’s, Dec. 18:</b> <i>The Birds of America; from Original Drawings by John James Audubon</i> $6,000,000 to $8,000,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Dec. 18:</b> <i>The Birds of America; from Original Drawings by John James Audubon</i> $6,000,000 to $8,000,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Dec. 18:</b> <i>The Birds of America; from Original Drawings by John James Audubon</i> $6,000,000 to $8,000,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Dec. 18:</b> <i>The Birds of America; from Original Drawings by John James Audubon</i> $6,000,000 to $8,000,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Dec. 18:</b> <i>The Birds of America; from Original Drawings by John James Audubon</i> $6,000,000 to $8,000,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Currier & Ives, <i>The Mississippi in Time of Peace,</i> hand-colored lithograph, 1865. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Hartmann Schedel, <i>Liber Cronicarum...,</i> Nuremberg, 1493. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Claudius Ptolemaeus, <i>Geographicae Enarrationis Libri Octo,</i> Lyons, 1535. $20,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Thomas Jefferys, <i>The American Atlas,</i> London, 1776-77. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> John Speed, <i>A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World,</i> 20 miniature maps, London, 1665. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> <i>Biblia Das ist: Die Gantze Heilige Schrifft Durch D. Martin Luther Verteutscht,</i> illustrated cartographic Bible, Basel, 1665. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Early Hawaiian-language school geography, Lahainaluna Seminary, 1840. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Cornelis de Jode, <i>Africae Vera Forma, et Situs,</i> Antwerp, 1593. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Maria Vincenzo Coronelli, <i>America Settentrionale Colle Nuove Scoperte Sin All Anno,</i> Venice, 1688. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Johann Christoph Volkamer, <i>Nürnbergische Hesperides,</i> Nuremberg, 1708-1714. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Johann Bayer, <i>Uranometria, Omnium Asterismorum Continens Schemata...,</i> 51 celestial charts, c. 1603. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Dec 17:</b> Manuscript map of Commodore Perry’s Black Ship squadron at Edo Bay, with manuscript sketchbook, ink & watercolor, Japan, c. 1853. $2,500 to $3,500.

Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2019 Issue

Modern and Contemporary Illustrated Books from Ursus Rare Books

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Modern and contemporary illustrations.

Ursus Rare Books has issued a catalogue of Modern & Contemporary Illustrated Books. Perhaps that needs a little more specificity. These are not regular books that happen to be illustrated. It is the illustrations that are their feature. In reality, these are more art books, works of art printed on the pages of a book. Some also have a significant amount of text, others not very much. Some are older classic works, but these editions are unique based on the accompanying modern artwork.

 

The description “modern & contemporary” art should be something of a caution. This won't be for everyone. You won't confuse these illustrations for Rembrandt or Michelangelo. Classic it is not. Some illustrations can be quite abstract, though others provide a greater degree of clarity. You may say “What the...?” when it comes to some drawings. Then again, you will almost certainly find some of it riveting, the sort that will make you want to see what else this artist created. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You will find yourself beholden to some, not others.

 

This is as hard a group of books to describe as I have ever faced. Realistic art is somewhat describable. Abstract art virtually is not. It must be seen to be appreciated or depreciated (not quite the right word). Here are brief descriptions of a few samples.

 

James Lee Byars has been described as a “minimalist” by some and I can see why. Item 12 is Gold Dust is My Ex Libris, [The White Cube], published in 1983. Fortunately, the cube isn't quite white or it wouldn't show up at all on the page. You couldn't tell if it were a white cube, circle or something else. The drawing of the cube is placed in the center of the book, with blank pages (or perfectly white cubes) on the pages before and after. The extra pages add depth to the concept. I will admit this one doesn't particularly grab me, but it comes from an edition of 500 copies so lots of people obviously had a different impression. Priced at $3,500.

 

Next we have Die Nibelungen... (a medieval German clan) illustrated by Carl Otto Czeschka. This is a children's book, published in 1909. Czeschka was of the Vienna workshop school of that day. The illustration from this book provided by Ursus is a two-page spread, packed together charging horses and knights, lances and flags raised, arrows flying. The illustration of jammed together knights, horses, and weapons acutely displays the cacophony of war. Clearly, many people aren't coming home from this. It's enough to make you wonder, all these centuries later, why are we still doing this? Czeschka couldn't have known it in 1909, but the world was about to enter its greatest such conflagration ever a few years hence. Item 15b. $3,500.

 

Here is another that jumps out at me. I find myself just staring at it. It is one Ursus selected to display from Die Traumenden Knaben by Oaskar (Oskar) Kokoschka, published in 1908. Maybe I just like artists whose names end in “schka.” This picture has a black background, with color scenes in the foreground. They range from very deep blue water to bright red and yellow of a woman's dress, and orange of fish in the water. If the cube above looks like something I can kind of imagine myself drawing (with the help of a ruler), there is no way I'm touching this. It is one of 10 lithographs in this first and only edition of a fable that translates to “the dreaming youths.” The illustrations fit well with the dreamy theme. Item 39. $35,000.

 

Olafur Eliasson is a contemporary Danish-Icelandic artist noted for large sculptures and artworks and melding art and science. He creates the unexpected, which describes this book. It contains 908 pages, but not a lot of writing. The title is Your House, but actually, it's Eliasson's house. Published in 2006 as part of the Museum of Modern Art's Contemporary Editions series, Ursus describes it as “one of the more exciting new achievements in book making in the 21st century.” What Eliasson has done is use computer assisted laser die-cuts to create a vertical cross section of his house. It is printed on an 85-1 scale, with each leaf representing 2.2 centimeters (7/8ths inch) farther in. Eliasson says, “It is like walking through a house, following the layout of the rooms with your body and mind...” I know what this is – an MRI. It's an MRI of a house. This is one of 225 copies and is signed by Eliasson. Item 23. $18,500.

 

Next we have the Poésies de Stéphane Mallarmé (Poems of Stéphane Mallarmé). Mallarmé was a 19th century French poet noted as one of the founders of symbolism. It transformed literature and poetry from being literally descriptive to more of an art, the sounds of words giving them multiple meanings, and descriptions meant more to elicit responses than providing one-of-a-kind photographic meanings. This is not a first edition of Mallarmé's poetry by any means. It was first published in 1887, while this edition was released in 1932. Nevertheless, it is extremely valuable. The reason, as you might expect from this catalogue, is the illustrations. There are 29 etchings created by Henri Matisse. These are a minimalist sort of drawings, employing filament-like lines to create the images. This was not a collaborative effort, Mallarmé having died several decades before Matisse provided his drawings. Therefore, it naturally is signed only by the artist. It is one of 145 copies. Item 48. $75,000.

 

Ursus Books may be reached at 212-772-8787 or pkraus@ursusbooks.com. Their website is www.ursusbooks.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Seeking Consignments.</b> Churchill (Winston) & Others. 1944 Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference, 27 April 1944. £8,000 to £12,000.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Seeking Consignments.</b> Joyce (James). <i>Ulysses.</i> First English edition, 1922. £800 to £1,200.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Seeking Consignments.</b> Belzoni (Giovanni Battista). <i>Plates Illustrated of the Researches and Operations...in Egypt and Nubia,</i> FIRST EDITION, 1821-1822. £14,375 inc Buyers Premium.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Seeking Consignments.</b> Astor (John Jacob). A collection of rare letters, 9 January 1812- 4 September 1837. £26,000 inc Buyers Premium.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Seeking Consignments.</b> Rowling (J.K.) <i>Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,</i> FIRST EDITION, first issue, 1997. £27,500 inc Buyers Premium.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Seeking Consignments.</b> Royal Family. Photograph of Queen Elizabeth, George VI, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, signed, 1946. £3,640 inc Buyers Premium.
    <b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Seeking Consignments.</b> Collodi (Carlo). <i>Le avventure di Pinocchio. Storia di un burattino,</i> FIRST EDITION, 1883. £8,401 inc Buyers Premium.
  • <b>Sotheby’s, Dec. 18:</b> CLEMENS, SAMUEL L. <i>The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain.</i> Hartford: The American Publishing Company, 1876. $14,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Dec. 18:</b> BATEMAN, JAMES. <i>The Orchidaceae of Mexico and Guatemala.</i> London: J. Ridgway & Sons for the author, [1837]-1843. $60,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Dec. 18:</b> WHITMAN, WALT. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn: [For the author by Andrew and James Rome,] 1855. $150,000 to $200,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Dec. 18:</b> LEE, HARPER. Three “Seckatary Hawkins”-related books inscribed and signed by Harper Lee. $60,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Dec. 18:</b> POE, EDGAR ALLAN. <i>The Raven.</i> New York: Wiley and Putnam, 1845. $120,000 to $180,000.

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